State titles the past two seasons and three overall speak volumes about Mike Lingenfelter as a volleyball coach.
But in his mind, that success on the court, masked his inability to further develop the Wapahani program at the youth-age levels.
Monday afternoon, Lingenfelter resigned as the Wapahani varsity coach, saying his time demands as the Munciana Volleyball Club co-director prevent him from fully investing in the Raiders’ program from the youth ages on up to varsity.
“I look at what (baseball coach) Brian Dudley and (boys basketball coach) Matt Luce have done at Wapahani, and those guys have great feeder systems,” Lingenfelter said, “and I feel like I’ve cheated the program in a way because I haven’t been able to dedicate the amount of time necessary to do that.”
Lingenfelter departs with the only three state championships won by Wapahani in any sport to his credit. He won the first of those in 2002 when his Raiders claimed the Class A state crown.
He resigned following the 2003 season to focus on Munciana. He then returned to Wapahani in 2011 to coach his then-freshman daughter, setter Kiley Lingenfelter.
The Raiders won the Class 2A state championship in each of the two seasons in his second tenure.
“I was blessed to have great players and great staff, and we coached extremely hard and played extremely hard, and good things happen when those things occur,” Mike Lingenfelter said.
The 2011 state championship team halted a streak of 14 consecutive 2A state titles won by Burris. The Raiders eliminated the Owls in the sectional each of the last two seasons.
Lingenfelter leaves behind a talented team for his successor. The Raiders return two First-Team All-State selections in his daughter and outside hitter Lindi Thomas.
Wapahani moves up to Class 3A this fall as dictated by the legacy rule implemented last year by the IHSAA. By resigning, Lingenfelter passes on the opportunity to be the first coach in state history to win a title in three separate classes.
Lingenfelter and Indianapolis Cathedral coach Jean Kesterson share the distinction of being the only volleyball coaches to win state titles in two separate classes since the implementation of the multi-class system in 1997.
Lingenfelter wrestled with the decision to stay on at Wapahani or resign for the last six months. He admits the opportunity to win a Class 3A state championship enticed him to stay on throughout the decision-making process.
“To be the first at doing something always has some luster to it,” Lingenfelter said, “but if I have to sacrifice a program, or if I have to sacrifice my relationship with people, I don’t need to be first at anything.”