by Kate Berube
Following an increase in interest, Fall 2018 saw the introduction of boys’ volleyball to James Wilson Young Middle School. The middle school team met with much success, but for the players moving up there wasn’t a comparable program available at the high school level, causing boys wanting to continue with volleyball past 8th grade to travel to East Islip to compete. Until this year when, under the thoughtful leadership of Athletic Director Timothy Mullins, BBPHS launched their own boys’ volleyball program. Curtis Williams, son of famed BBP girls’ varsity volleyball coach Toni Mulgrave, leads the Phantoms in their inaugural JV season.
“These young men are an absolute joy to coach! They have high energy and a strong belief that we can compete with anybody,” Coach Williams says of his players. “They fought hard for this program and I’m going to be right there fighting alongside them. They’ve gotten better every time we’ve stepped on the court and that’s all I could ever ask for as a coach.”
Williams is a familiar face to the volleyball community, many of whom play club volleyball under him as well. “He always has something to work on with us. Even if you are the best player, he always has ideas that we can work on to make us better,” says sophomore Jesse Renneisen. “He’s an easy person to speak to and we can tell he really cares about us.”
It’s that bond and the general sense that they are creating a legacy for future generations here at BBP that makes this season so special despite its challenges. George Rose, a freshman who played during the first years of the middle school program, recently reflected on the experience: “It’s really exciting being part of a brand-new team. I get to see the development of the program as I go through school and hopefully help to create a foundation that will last for years.”
The boys hold out hope that a varsity team will be established in the near future, allowing the current team to grow with the program they founded. In the meantime, their inaugural season is only half way finished, and they’re here to win.