Kim Culliton thought her question was relatively simple.
In reality, it was. When Culliton met with Beamer volleyball players after accepting the job to become the new varsity head coach on March 31, she asked just one question.
“When do you guys typically start summer league?” she asked the group.
First, Culliton was met with blank stares. Then, she received the answer she feared most.
“Veteran players looked at me and said there hasn’t been a summer program for years,” Culliton said.
Culliton changed that overnight.
The Titans volleyball team got back on the court not only in July but in early August, too.
Finally. Where has this been? Specifically, when it comes to volleyball in this city, where has this drive and attitude gone? Volleyball in the North Puget Sound League — no, strike that — the state of Washington — has been anything but interesting.
Volleyball teams in Federal Way went a combined 12-57 in 2016. The Eagles get the majority of the credit after winning eight matches last season, and coach Donja Walker has done a great deal to build up that program, as well as jump-start community interest in volleyball.
Culliton is special, though.
First, her personality is infectious. Not only is she passionate about a sport that has brought her plenty of individual honors, including being named a three-time Coach of the Year Award recipient when she was the head coach at Bellevue College, she is passionate about Todd Beamer.
Culliton joined the Titans as a volunteer assistant coach in 2015.
That in and of itself is unfathomable given she had risen to the top and become a respected coach with Puget Sound Volleyball.
After just one year with the Titans, Culliton was hooked.
By 2016, she was the head coach of Beamer’s junior varsity program. After the 2015 season, however, Culliton had the option to do whatever she wanted.
If she wanted, she easily could have left the Titans for a head coaching job at another school, or she could have jumped right back into coaching a collegiate volleyball program.
In the end, though, the opportunity to coach at Beamer became far more than she ever thought it could be.