TUCSON – Since 2015, Lindsey Spivey has transformed Tucson’s Mountain View boys volleyball from a program that had suffered three straight losing seasons into one of the best boys volleyball teams in the state.
The Mountain Lions, winners of 12 of their last 15 games, are 21-10 and gearing up for yet another playoff run under Spivey, who has led Mountain View to the Arizona state playoffs in each of her seasons at the program’s helm.
In 2019, Mountain View advanced to the AIA 5A state championship. Though it didn’t win, Spivey saw that the respect and discipline she breathed into the program had given her players new life.
“That year we had just been wanting to break that first-round curse and we did,” Spivey said. “Then we just kept winning and were all of a sudden in the state finals.”
Spivey’s road to coaching was a natural extension of her playing career. She participated in club volleyball in middle and high school, was on the club team at the University of Arizona during her first two years and counts volleyball as one of her only hobbies.
“I had always thought about it,” Spivey said. “Becoming a coach after just being a player, it’s funny what you see in your players. I’ve even noticed that I’ve become a better recreational player now that I coach.”
Spivey’s first coaching job was at Marana Middle School. The eagerness of her players fueled her passion for coaching and the team’s success.
When the Mountain View job opened up, Spivey’s success at Marana Middle School made her a top candidate. Her new players trusted Spivey from the get-go, and the program has never looked back.
“We’ve developed a family,” Mountain View senior Jaden Wiest said. “We say that we are a family on and off the court, and that is what it has become under Coach Spivey.”
Sports teams are often described as families because the players and coaches spend more time together nearly every day than they do around their real families. But Spivey promotes a genuine closeness among the members of the Mountain View program.
“I don’t coach by instilling fear,” Spivey said. “We all have a relationship. I’m pretty transparent with my players. I don’t hide anything from them. I teach them what I know and I respond to them in ways that makes them feel like they are equal to me. It’s kind of like a collaboration.”
Star outside hitter Talon Kohler is the senior leader of the Mountain Lions. Kohler, who will play at Springfield College in Massachusetts next year, said “having to hold a certain character to represent Mountain View is really important, and Coach Spivey has instilled that in all of us.”
The culture and program build got recognized around the state. Azcentral.com named her the boy’s volleyball coach of the year in 2019 following Mountain View’s run to the state championship.
“It’s the best feeling in the world just because I don’t see that in myself,” Spivey said. “Everything I do is for them, so getting that award felt amazing. … They were the ones who recognized that I got the award, and they texted me about it, so that made the best feeling even better.”
Mountain View finished 31-8 that season and is on a similar trajectory this year. The best feeling in the world for the Mountain Lions would be to return to the championship game, and this time win it all.