While on the podium earlier this month at the Kansas Volleyball Association's Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Lansing High School coach Julie Slater had numerous people to thank for supporting her career.
Slater said one in particular stood out from the crowd gathered in Topeka to watch the ceremony.
"When I first started coaching, the person I looked up to was (former Lawrence High School volleyball coach) Joan Wells," Slater said. "I was a new coach in my fourth year and her and I were at a coaching clinic.
"The whole four days I was there I was just picking her brain. To this day, several of the things that I did with my program came right from Joan Wells. So, I thanked her for being such an inspiration."
Slater was one of three coaches inducted in the 2014 class, and the only active coach.
After 29 years of coaching, and with retirement on the table, Slater said she couldn't the leave the game and the program she loves.
"I could've retired this year," Slater said. "I decided I wasn't ready yet. I'm still loving it and I still have the passion for it. So, I'm going to keep going."
As a coach, Slater is third on Kansas' all-time wins list with a record of 794-276.
Ahead of her is Wells, her mentor, who finished her 26-year career with an 866-89 record and 15 state titles.
While she doesn't have 15, Slater said in her 29 years of coaching, the memory of Lansing volleyball's 2002 state title run is her most cherished.
She said she never expected anything like a Hall of Fame induction to be the culmination of her career.
"It's just been a great journey," Slater said. "And, one that I certainly didn't expect or think about when I first started coaching.
"I just got into it for the love of the game and the kids. It evolved to this with the help of a great assistant coaching staff."
Lansing High School Athletics Director Gary Mattingly said Slater has been a steadying presence in the athletics department at the school because of her accolades and coaching ability.
"Julie has provided a lot of stability for the volleyball program over the years," Mattingly said. "(Her induction is) not a surprise because of her longevity in the game and her willingness to adjust her coaching style as the game has evolved."