When it comes to volleyball royalty in the region and across the state, there are few tandems that demand as much respect as coaches Buzzie Welch and Linda Sheridan.
So, it only makes sense that the pair are now being honored together with the renaming of this weekend’s 64-team, city-wide event, now called the Crossover Classic in honor of Welch and Sheridan.
Previous editions of the tournament honored Sheridan, who won five state titles in 24 years at Shadle Park before her death in 2013. But tournament organizers wanted to also recognize and remember the achievements of Welch, who had a legendary career at Lewis and Clark and died in 2018.
“Anyone that knew Buzzie from his coaching days would know that he did not care about getting the credit for what he did, so I didn’t push to have his name added in the beginning,” said Larissa Welch, the current Lewis and Clark volleyball coach and Buzzie’s daughter-in-law. “He was the originator of this and the whole reason it started back in 1994.”
Larissa Welch and other event organizers brought up the idea to add Buzzie’s name alongside Sheridan, but it wasn’t until they saw it in writing that the decision was made.
“The people that do our logo design and shirts are the same people that have done it from the start, and they said, ‘Hey I’m just going to change it and I want to put in honor of both Buzzie and Linda,’ ” Larissa Welch said. “We didn’t want to take away from Linda, but instead honor both of them, because they are both hall of fame coaches.”
Buzzie Welch had a 504-185 career record with 10 state trophies – three at Rogers and Ferris, four at LC (which included two state titles) – in 18 appearances at state. He coached the Tigers from 1990 to 2004.
“It’s super important to honor them, especially for the veteran coaches in the area that had the chance to coach with or against Linda and Buzzie,” Shadle Park athletic director Beau Tilleman said. “We actually have a plaque that we found in an old classroom that honors Linda’s status as a volleyball and basketball coach, so we are going to hang that in the gym that already has her name on the court.”
While the name change is an important one for the community, it was just one piece of the logistical puzzle in putting on an event of this magnitude. The 64 teams from across Washington and Idaho will be split into 13 groups for pool play on Friday evening and Saturday morning, before being divided into brackets based on their pool records.
Bracket play will take place Saturday afternoon with the gold bracket being held at Lewis and Clark. Shadle Park, Ferris and North Central high schools will also host pool and bracket play.
“We start on this in early spring, getting invites out and tournament information, seeing which teams want to come back,” Tilleman said. “We also get to introduce some new teams that haven’t been a part of it. This year we have Genesee (Idaho) coming up to play because that’s where I grew up and went to school, so smaller schools like that are really happy with the opportunity to play in something like this.”
Larissa Welch also knows the importance of getting her team into these tournament atmospheres ahead of a possible state push in November.
“This is the big picture, so it’s nice for us to give the team the opportunity to see what they will face later on, the caliber of team they might face. This is what their goal is,” she said.
Tickets for the event are $10 for adults and $5 for students. GSL passes are not accepted for admission. Friday pool play will begin at 7:30 p.m. and continue Saturday at 8 a.m.
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