KANSAS, Ill. (WCIA) — Crystal Buckler is a titan in her volleyball team’s eyes.
“She’s always there for us,” Kaylenn Hunt said. “She sees what we don’t see in ourselves and she pushes us until we find that.”
“I walked in freshman year and I knew I’d look up to her my entire career, and I have, even in college,” Titans grad Grace Burnside said.
Buckler is the head coach for the Tri-County Girls Volleyball Team. Students said she serves lessons on and off the court.
Her lessons include:
“The way you play in practice is the way you play in games,” Hunt said. “It’s the same way in life. If you act one way, it’s gonna be that way for the rest of your life.”
“Always work hard,” Burnside said. “Never give up. You keep pushing even though it’s hard, and you will get through it.”
“One of my quotes that I always tell them is if I stop yelling at you, it means I’m done trying,” Buckler said. “In the past six years, I don’t think I’ve done that once with any of these girls.”
Her passion for the team is what led one parent, Kim Dudley, to nominate Buckler as a Remarkable Woman.
Dudley shared part of her nomination letter.
“Her job does not end when the season ends, she maintains her relationships with her players year-round, and checks in with them to make sure they are okay. Coach Buckler is currently completing her Masters, while working a full-time job at TLC Alternative School in Kansas and being a wife and mother. She is a no-nonsense woman, that sets a wonderful example for these young girls of how to conduct themselves professional, and personally. She also ensures every October; the team sponsors a local cancer survivor. This year, she was able to do two, one for a bus driver in our district, and another mother of three from Charleston.”Kim Dudley
Even though the team loves winning and lining shelves with trophies and plaques, Buckler said there’s something else she loves even more about her job.
“Just being able to touch these girls’ lives,” Buckler said. “Being able to inspire them to not only be the best they can be on the court, but also be who they want to be outside and be successful.”