“The road goes on forever…”
The first stop of our journey–West Texas. The area offers tumbleweeds, vast open spaces, a mix of desert and oasis, friendly people, and true survivors. For those living in West Texas neighbors and entertainment can be spread far apart. So, in a little town in West Texas, Seminole, a quiet freshman entered the high school gym and onto the volleyball court.
Few inside the gym understood the impact or destination this journey would travel. “She was a quiet person,” said former coach Kathleen Brasfield. “Her work ethic, her attitude encouraged other team members to play to and above their potential. As a leader, Kirby allowed her actions and accomplishments to set the standard for the team.
Kirby was also a people-person. She socialized with others, she was well liked by the community.”
As a freshman, Jameson’s work ethic and athletic ability helped her teammates at Seminole High School to advance to the UIL State Championship game. The team chewed through a San Antonio area team, New Braunfels, to win the championship 15-11 and 15-3.
Jameson and teammates returned to the state championship game her sophomore year in high school. Beaumont—South Park forced Seminole to work hard in the first set as they team won 16-14 but in the second set, Seminole won the set and defended their title 15-12.
Jameson’s coach left Seminole after her sophomore year; however, they were reunited when Kirby graduated from Seminole and enrolled at San Angelo State University.
As a member of the Rambelles, Kirby continued to play volleyball but play is not the correct descriptor. She brought her leadership, skills, and work ethic to the courts of San Angelo where she and her teammates would develop a reputation for West Texas college volleyball.
During her career as a Rambelle the team posted an overall record of 174-56-1, a .753 winning percentage, and won LSC championships in 1982 and 1983. The Belles earned their first NCAA Division II Championship Tournament berth with Jameson as a starter in 1982, and were ranked as high as sixth in the nation with a record of 47-12. Her senior season, Jameson led ASU to a ranking of 15th in the final national poll with a record of 39-11.
Jameson’s accomplishments at San Angelo extended beyond the court and into the classroom. Jameson graduated Cum Laude with a 3.5 gpa.
The journey continued to San Antonio where Jameson started at Holmes High School as an assistant volleyball coach. In 1984 she assumed the reigns of Clark High School as the head varsity volleyball coach.
Jameson created a dynasty at Clark High School. She reached the regional finals 7 times, her teams reached the State tournament 7 times winning the title twice and runner up 3.
She left the coaching ranks for a position in the Athletic office where she serves presently as an Assistant Athletic Director.
“Kirby believed in helping others,” added Brasfield. “She wanted her players to succeed. She taught her teammates about more than volleyball.”
These principles define her actions as an Athletic Director. As an Assistant Athletic Director, Jameson attends hundreds of athletic contests and serves as a mentor for coaches throughout the district.
“Coach Jameson has been instrumental to many successes in Northside Athletics,” said Athletic Director Stan Laing. “As a coach, her record and volleyball state championships speaks for itself. What is most impressive is the influence as a role model she had on all the young ladies that played for her. There is example after example of former athletes attributing where they are in life due to her influence. As an Assistant Athletic Director for Northside, Coach Jameson has a tremendous influence on our coaches in all sports in high school and middle school. Her passion and commitment to excellence has been impactful on our entire Northside Athletic Department. She exemplifies the true meaning of a Servant Leader committed to helping our coaches help their student-athletes to be better. Most importantly, she is an incredible person that truly cares for the well-being of others.”
Two of Jameson’s former Clark players are coaching Northside teams in the playoffs—Madelyn Williams (Brandeis) and Melissa Miller (Clark). Yamilet Garcia played for Brasfield at San Angelo State University and served as an assistant coach for Jameson for five years.
“I worked with Kirby for 5 years at Clark as the JV volleyball coach,” added Garcia. “I couldn’t have been more blessed with such an amazing mentor in the beginning years of my career. She set down clear expectations with me and held me accountable when I got off track. I come from a family of administrators and coaches, so possessing a good work ethic and discipline were instilled in me. So, coming into the Clark Volleyball program was perfect because it was a competitive respectable program with integrity that Coach Kirby Jameson created. I believe we gelled really well because our beliefs and philosophies were very similar. I understood what she expected and I took pride in having a role in such a great program. I am very thankful for her mentorship and the leadership she still provides to me and to our district. She works her tail off and sticks to her guns regarding what is best “for kids” and relays that message to all consistently. We are so lucky to have her and she is definitely one of the best.”
“Kirby is about the little things that impact the big things, and I strive to be a better coach, a better person because of her,” shared Monica Gonzales- Harlan. “Northside Volleyball would not be as successful of a program without Kirby in the driver’s seat.”
As a coach and mentor, Jameson establishes the standard not only for Northside but many would argue the state. “Playing for Kirby, you knew what to expect, there was no gray area, she set high expectations for everyone in her program and stuck to them,” said Williams. “She was a tough coach, very disciplined, and I LOVED IT! She helped me to strive, not only as a volleyball player, but as a person as well. Kirby coached my 2 sisters as well, so I literally grew up watching Clark play, and wanting nothing more than to play for Kirby. I went from the crazy spirited little sister supporting my older sisters, to the spirited player for Kirby. I played with a lot of energy, passion, and grit. I loved playing for Clark. So many things that she did and expected of us, I expect out of my players.”
A coach striving to fill large shoes, Melissa Miller offered, “Coach Jameson was my high school coach when I played at Clark. As both a player of hers and now as a coach myself, I have the utmost respect for the environment she was able to create at Clark. She expected us to work hard, be honest, good students and always hold ourselves to a high standard… not just because we were Clark Volleyball players, but because that’s how she felt everyone should live. She modeled everything she preached, which I admire now as a coach. She was able to get the most out of every single player that played for her. Coach Jameson was one of the biggest influences of who I was as a high school student, and even more so today as a volleyball coach. Things have changed a lot since she was my coach, but I still find myself saying “How would Coach Jameson have handled this?”. I’m glad I don’t have to go far to find out.”
It is Jameson’s ability to relate with a coach that sets her apart from others. “She is able to relate to us as coaches since she spent many years coaching and leading a very successful program during her time at Clark,” added Jacqueline Barrientes- Warren.
I have had the privilege of covering Northside volleyball for the last eight years. I have sat in Paul Taylor, Northside, Alamo Convocation, and Blossom watching volleyball. Walking stealthily along the edges, Jameson observes players and visits with coaches. It is impossible to predict her next movements, and if you blink Jameson may come up behind you and before you can speak disappear to the sidelines. A guarantee for everyone in the gym—Jameson remains the sport’s biggest fan and one of the biggest contributors. With a nod, a glance, or a look Jameson can encourage even the sports writers to stand straight, regain focus, and work harder to represent volleyball.
“She is one of the few coaches who intimidates me.” I shared this thought with Coach Brasfield. Her laughter floated through the phone line. “Kirby has that effect on lots of people,” remarked Brasfield. “It is what makes her a great administrator.”
Tonight, Jameson will watch the court, check her phone, and continue to monitor the progress of each Northside team in the playoffs. Wednesday morning Jameson will be available to talk “x(s)-o(s)” of the game as the teams prepare for the next round and a hopeful State tournament berth.