Top News

Let’s call it a (high school) career: Dunham coach ready for another volleyball chapter

Explaining her decision to retire as coach at Dunham School, Donna Pixley made one point clear – volleyball will continue to be a focus in her life.

“I still have the same love, passion and fire for volleyball that I always had,” Pixley said. “That won’t change. That gives me more flexibility personally.

“My daughter is going to be acting in college, and when she calls and says, ‘Hey, I think I might get a chance to play,’ I have the freedom to pick up and watch. I will continue to coach club volleyball and look for new ways to serve the volleyball community here in Baton Rouge.”

Pixley led the Tigers to a 35-6 record and the Division III title last fall, and finishes her high school career with more than 600 wins. She spent 21 of her 24 seasons as a high school coach at Dunham and also won an LHSAA title with the Tigers in 2005.

Before coming to Dunham, Pixley spent three seasons at St Michael, two as head coach and one as assistant coach. During her tenure at Dunham she also served as sporting director for several years.

“If we hadn’t won it last fall, it probably would have eaten me up a bit,” notes Pixley. “But in the end it was a very special season for a team with seniors who have been with me for a long time.

“It was the perfect ending. And even if we hadn’t won, it would still have been the right time for me to step down.”

Dunham’s All-Metro MVP Rhaia Davey and Pixley’s daughter Caylin have both signed with Mississippi College. Pixley said she looks forward to following the Choctaws and other local/regional teams once the spring/summer club season concludes.

When asked what their fondest memories are, Pixley noted that both title teams. The 2005 roster won after Hurricane Katrina with a mix of local players and players from the New Orleans area who were forced to relocate in the fall.

Then Mt. Carmel trainer Jay Jay Juan was also among the evacuees and was Pixley’s assistant. Juan now trains at the Academy of Sacred Heart in New Orleans.

“That Katrina year was the year the school really got interested in volleyball,” Pixley said. “We were playing in the old gym at the time, and I remember one game when the stands were full. I remember looking around and thinking, ‘We’ve arrived.’

“We had football players with body paint in the stands. It was so loud that you could hardly hear anything. It was an amazing experience. This team has done so much to make the program what it is.”

Pixley is also the second Dunham manager to retire after a recent title win. Her husband Jonathan left coaching after his boys basketball team won the 2021 select Division III title.