ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jeanne Fairchild is two-thirds of the way toward a unique trifecta.
She’s already got a championship as a player.
And she has one as an assistant coach.
Now she’s returning home to her alma mater to try for the third leg.
“Me as a coach? It’s something I have a passion for,” Fairchild said. “And do that at my alma mater? I’m thrilled and very honored.”
Fairchild, 26, arguably the best volleyball player St. Pius has ever had, has been hired to take over the Sartans’ program.
She succeeds Diana Strickland, who left for “personal and professional reasons,” St. Pius athletic director Jim Cook said.
Fairchild is a 2005 St. Pius graduate. She was on state championship teams with the Sartans in 2002 and 2003. When she left St. Pius, she attended the University of San Diego, but stayed only one semester.
She came back home and finished her playing days at the University of New Mexico.
The affable Fairchild had been serving as an assistant coach at Bosque School for the past five seasons. The Bobcats won the Class 2A state title in 2012.
Fairchild credited Cook for reaching out to inquire whether she was interested.
“I told him that I absolutely want to do this job. No doubt about it,” said Fairchild, who is one of the most dynamic players the metro area has produced in the past 20 years. She was a fearsome outside hitter for the Sartans, and later for the Lobos.
Fairchild inherits one of New Mexico’s premier programs. The Sartans appeared in five straight Class 4A state championship matches from 2008-12. They lost the first four, but knocked off Piedra Vista in the 2012 final.
Fairchild will be a contract coach for St. Pius. She is employed by Aerotek, a staffing and recruiting firm.
After her eligibility ran out at UNM in 2008, she briefly played professionally in Puerto Rico.
This is her first head coaching opportunity.
“I am incredibly excited about the opportunity,” Fairchild said. “I’ve been very fortunate with my experience with Bosque, and I’m going to take a lot of the things that I’ve learned … and apply it to Pius and their high standards. I know what it takes. They’ve always been a high-level program, and I’m excited to be a part of that.”
She added: “I’m happy to be going into a program with high expectations, because that will continue to challenge me.”
BOATMAN LEAVES CLEVELAND: Meanwhile, Cleveland is looking for a new head girls basketball coach after Felicia Boatman resigned Monday.
On March 10, she gave birth to her third child, Max Samuel; her husband is Menaul boys basketball coach Gary Boatman.
Boatman said she would like to focus on her family.
The Storm is coming off a tough 8-20 season.