Uintah selects Forrest to lead volleyball team
Caitlin Forrest had the opportunity to see what type of promising Uintah High School volleyball talent last season had when she was the sophomore coach.
When former Uintah head volleyball coach Mara Robinson stepped down after the season was finished, Forrest decided the time was right for her to apply to be at the helm of the program.
Uintah recently hired her to be the new head coach for the 2023 campaign. She teaches social studies at the high school.
“It felt like I needed to step in and take that leadership role,” Forrest said. “I do know that most school districts value having a teacher on campus that is also a coach. I felt that kind of gave me a leg up. I also feel like I have a ton of experience having already been in the program. I already know a lot of the girls. It seems like an easy transition. I wasn’t surprised but excited.”
Forrest said it was huge for the school district to hire her in January to get the ball rolling.
She has a plan in place for summer workouts that will focus on skills development, strength training and team building.
“I’m a big believer in the off-season,” she explained. “I’m very strict with our time. I just want to make sure that everything is set in place.”
Forrest explained this past season was the first year she has coached in Utah.
“Utah is very different from any other place that I have coached in,” Forrest said. “I’m very thankful that I had one season under my belt to learn and adjust. I’m very familiar with coaching, teaching in a rural region and the challenges that it brings.”
Uintah is coming off a 12-15 season where they were eliminated in the first-round of the Class 5A playoffs.
Forrest is excited to see what type of progress the underclassmen will show this upcoming season and if this year’s juniors come back to the team in the fall, she believes the Lady Utes will be right in the mix of things in Class 4A.
“That group as a whole is dynamic, and it will definitely set us up for success with good leadership,” Forrest said. “I think 4A is going to be a great fit for us.”
She has had coaching stops in Arizona, Colorado and Texas at the club and high school levels.
Forrest’s last head coaching experience came at Pagosa Springs High School in Colorado. It was her alma mater.
“I got to learn under my junior varsity coach,” Forrest said. “I felt like it was all very fluid. She set me up for success for sure. It was fun to carry on the tradition.”
She was the assistant coach for eight years and then the head coach for three.
“It was a Class 3A school with a graduating class of 100,” Forrest said. “It’s very rural southwest Colorado school.”
Forrest played college volleyball at Arizona Christian University where she was an All-American. She also played basketball at the school.
“Where I played it was a very small school,” she said. “I was a big fish in a small pond. I really loved that. It was the perfect amount of competition for school and work balance for me. I loved that I got to play two sports in college. Not too many people can say that.”
She worked as an assistant volleyball coach after graduation. She focused on the middle position.
“I realized very quickly at the college level that coaching just meant recruiting. More than anything else that was my role,” Forrest said. “My college coach changed my view on life, and he is the reason why I went with volleyball.