Coach’s Corner: Mr. Carcich

Amanda Vogt, News and Features Editor

Volleyball has always been dominant at Wayne Valley, especially with Mr. Carcich as head coach. Both the girls and boys teams have racked up many titles in recent years–all well deserved. The amount of effort that has been poured into these programs is unquestionable. The Girls Volleyball Team just concluded their 2020-2021 season in April as it was pushed back from the fall because of the multitude of restrictions still hanging over the heads of the indoor fall sports. The boys team is in the midst of their season and looks forward to ending on a high note. 

Coach Carcich has been with the programs for just about twenty-eight years now. He has always had a passion for volleyball (always played recreationally) even though he never had the opportunity to play in high school. It wasn’t until seven years after he graduated that his high school had a boys volleyball team in the works. As for why the high school level best suits his coaching ability, Carcich wholeheartedly explained that he “love[s] taking kids and watching their love for the game grow…[all] at a rapid pace.” 

When creating varsity rosters, Carcich looks for the athleticism in good quality people that are coachable. Volleyball, a true team sport, “has no room for arrogance,” so the players that are selected for either the varsity or JV level must be willing to work well with teammates and buy into the program. 

In a normal (and ideal) year the Girls’ team plays in the fall, and the Boys’ in the spring; however, with COVID-19 related schedule push backs the seasons ended up overlapping. Obviously not the most ideal situation for Coach Carcich but luckily he was able to rely on his “awesome assistant coaches.” Having six teams trying to practice at relatively the same time definitely has its struggles and when looking back at how everything was managed during the overlap Carcich remarks that “we did the best we could.” 

Going into this he had to set priorities with the girl’s team that was currently in the middle of the State Tournament while the boys team was just starting their scrimmages. Having such a strong coaching staff is “what really made it work” for Carcich: “If I didn’t have them, it would have collapsed.”

Volleyball is not a sport that leaves a lot of time for strategizing. There is no limit to the number of games in a week so sometimes practices are limited. Coach Carcich likes to “pinpoint tougher matchups” and spends more time on those games. For instance, when preparing for the 2019 Boys County Final, Carcich remembers that it took “a week of planning.” 

Unsurprisingly, the Girls Volleyball team had another jaw-dropping performance this season. They ended with a record of 11-3 after having numerous COVID shutdowns that canceled games and practices for sometimes weeks on end. Generally, there are normally between twenty-seven and thirty games after county and state tournaments. Within the past few years, the program has not lost more than five games in a single season. This year Wayne Valley only lost to the top one, two, and three state-ranked teams and battled hard each time. They have won every conference title in the last five years, won three out of the four available county titles (there was no county tournament this season), and two state sectionals. 

Coach Carcich reflects that “this group of girls, the seniors that are leaving [I am] very close with, I just wish we had a regular season. I’m so grateful we got anything–I just wish we had more time.” Yet with the season pushed back to the spring, Carcich got to have some different experiences with the girls. Normally on their senior nights college decisions are not yet finalized, but this year at their ceremony Coach Carcich was able to specially announce where each senior would be attending: “When I think about it, I would have said goodbye in November but instead I was with them through March.”

Senior Lauren Antonio claims “Carcich is a great coach because he demands the highest level and quality of play from the team. He expects his players to give more than 100% in games and practices and appreciates the effort they put in on and off the court. He encourages a positive energy and attitude that motivates his players to keep striving to be better and win titles. He has taught discipline, hustle, mental toughness, and grit, allowing us to see that we are capable of reaching goals and accomplishments that seem impossible.” She goes on to say that “[Carcich] is a great person too. He looks out for all his players’ physical and mental health and cares about their personal lives. Although it’s easy to get caught up in the intensity, he does a great job of reminding us that volleyball is just a game, while at the same time showing us that it’s so much more.”

The 2021 Boys Volleyball team, after losing last season and having a bunch of seniors graduate, is quite new and slightly inexperienced–especially at the Varsity level. In 2019 the team took home the Passaic County Title and in previous years a multitude of others. Going into this season, they knew that they would be hit hard with COVID-19 restrictions, schedule limitations, etc. With a lot of young players, the ultimate goal was to get everyone to truly understand the game, develop good habits, buy into the program, and most importantly to Coach Carcich is to “teach them to work as a team.” 

Junior Ryan Kwon confidently asserts that “[Carcich] knows how to maximize each player’s potential and pushes [everyone] to put in the maximum effort they can. Overall, he can turn an inexperienced team into a great one!”

As for the top moments of the season, Coach Carcich fondly recalled beating Old Tappan (a team that has knocked them out of many tournaments in previous years) for the first time in program history in the first round of the state tournament. For the boys, Carcich is “waiting for these guys to surprise me a bit…I think they are going to shock some people.”

As for the continuous success for both programs Coach Carcich does not take all of the credit: “So much goes into winning, I have been blessed with phenomenal athletes, good people…the athletes at Wayne Valley are amazing [they] are coachable … [my] coaching staff [and] Mr. Droz. There are a lot of moving parts, at the end of the day I’m watching the game, it’s the players that do it.” A winning culture has been established in both volleyball programs. Most importantly it is one that is bought into willingly by the players: they know what is expected of them, what other teams expect from them, what they expect out of each other. If the hard work is put in, games will be won. Their games are never gimmies, they are the Wayne Valley Volleyball Team and they will be challenged at every opportunity because of their reputation.