Angel Sharman’s coaching philosophy was born out of playing for one of the legends in the middle part of the country.
Sharman was a two-sport star at Mid Plains College (Nebraska) and learned her trade from Sally Thalken, one of the all-time greats in junior college coaching. She was a gritty defender on the floor. So, it is no surprise that she brings that fire and commitment to her teams at Casper College.
“I’ve always been a defensive fanatic,” Sharman admitted. “Everyone needs the big pounders, but I have always believed that defense is the key to success.”
Her teams have shown that grit; year in and year out Casper is one of the outstanding defensive teams in the country. Sharman is the fifth active winningest coach in NJCAA Division I volleyball, having passed some significant milestones in her 25 years of coaching. At Casper College, she has celebrated four regional championships and her 500th career victory along the way.
As the winningest volleyball coach in Casper College program history, Sharman enters her 19th season at Casper and says she still gets a “fire in my belly” in August. Her career mark is 576-488; her record at Casper is 466-327 (.702). Her 2003 team, which captured the college’s first regional championship, still holds the record of 45 match victories in one season.
Sharman has always been player focused. It shows in the success of her Thunderbirds. She has coached six NJCAA All-Americans, 57 All-Region IX performers, and 40 Academic All-Americans with three of her Casper College teams earning NJCAA Academic All-America honors.
Sharman’s teams win primarily because of defense and commitment. She believes in aggressive play at the net, and a tough defense behind the blockers. “I respect play on the court and dedication,” she said.
“It takes heart and discipline to play the defensive end. If a player runs through the wall to get a ball up, the whole team gets the ball up; then it is the whole team that puts the ball away. There is not always glamour in it, but the player who makes the hustle play gets my respect. If we keep getting the ball back up, eventually the other team makes the mistake.”
Sharman places a lot of emphasis on what she calls the “first” priority. “I want my players to graduate,” she said. “I want them prepared for life after volleyball.”
Sharman also serves as the athletic director and instructor at Casper College. She was an outstanding basketball and volleyball player at Mid-Plains Community College (North Platte, Nebraska) and Fort Hays State (Kansas). Before coaching in Casper, she coached for five seasons at Colby College (Kansas), where she led her teams to two Region VI playoff appearances.