In a career that spans over four decades, Sandy Doski credits the sport of volleyball for providing a great community to raise her children Abbey and Jeremy. Her passion for volleyball created lifelong friends and it was during a grass volleyball tournament that she would meet her future husband Gary of thirty-four years. In the Fall of her freshman year at New Milford High School, Sandy found herself trying out for the girls’ volleyball team in part because it did not require a lot of running! Head coach Bill Kraft selected Sandy to the team and together they embraced their pursuit of knowledge and passion for the sport of volleyball.
While attending the Total #1 Volleyball Camp run by future Connecticut Women’s Volleyball Hall of Fame member, Class of 1998 Debbie Chin, Sandy would share her experiences with her high school team. A true coach in the making. In 1980, during Sandy’s senior year,
Northeastern University began the recruiting process and would eventually offer Sandy a scholarship to play volleyball. The opportunity to play at Northeastern University would have a lasting impression upon Sandy. She would over the years commit herself to give back to the volleyball community that changed her life for the better. In 1987, while working in her hometown of New Milford, Sandy was offered the junior varsity coaching position at New Milford High School. She would find herself back on the sidelines with her former high school coach Bill Kraft. A few years later, John MacMillan persuaded her to join him in coaching the junior varsity at New Fairfield High School.
In 1994, the lure of grass volleyball tournaments proved too strong to resist. Sandy and her husband Gary took over running the tournaments where they had originally met. With an infant and a toddler in tow, she would continue to coach at New Fairfield High School. Sandy remarks fondly, “my kids are the true definition of gym rats”. After thirteen years of coaching at New Fairfield High School, Sandy began coaching at Newtown High School where her daughter Abbey attended. Coaching the junior varsity and being an assistant varsity coach to Tom Czaplinski, Sandy would coach her daughter Abbey for four years all the way to a CIAC Class LL State Championship her senior year in 2012. In her attempt to support her son Jeremy, Sandy would retire from coaching and become a volleyball referee. That was in 2012 and eleven years later, she is still climbing those stands with a whistle and her red and yellow cards in her back pocket.
Next on tap for this volleyball enthusiasts would be creating the boys’ volleyball program at Newtown High School in 2015. With thirty athletes trying out, the stage was set. The first season saw the Night Hawks go 3-13, but this would soon change. In the next few years under the coaching of Sandy, the boys’ volleyball team would win two Southwest Conference Championships. Sandy would again team up with her son running the outdoor grass tournaments and coaching at the local club. Partnering with the outdoor grass program she joined her son in raising money for the Nectar Fund, an organization that awards volleyball scholarships.
With gratitude Sandy remarks, “volleyball has been the source of many great things in my life, and I could not have done it without the support of so many people over the years. Staying involved in the sport as I got older was a way for me to stay connected to the world that gave me so much joy. I love volleyball and feel blessed to be able to pay it forward”.