RIO VISTA — Rio Vista Athletic Director Kasey Black recently announced the promotions of two assistant coaches to head up the baseball and volleyball programs.
Michael Vanderhoff is now the Eagles’ head baseball coach while Misty Martin takes the reins of Lady Eagle volleyball.
Black said one of the biggest reasons he opted to promote Vanderhoff and Martin to head coaching positions was because of their familiarity with the student-athletes and to minimize turnover.
“Coach Vanderhoff is well respected in the community,” Black said. “The kids play hard for him. He’s very organized. He’s a self motivator. He’s a guy I can trust to run the program.
“For Coach Martin, it’s kind of the same deal as with Coach Vanderhoff. She’s someone I can trust to run the program but she’s also a familiar face for the kids. The last thing I want right now is a bunch of turnover. I think it’s an easier transition if it’s someone you do trust but also if it’s someone the kids are familiar with and trust.”
Both Vanderhoff and Martin are just starting out in their teaching and coaching careers. Vanderhoff spent one year at Alvarado as an assistant coach and one year at Rio Vista before being named head baseball coach. And after coaching club volleyball for three years, Martin just finished her first year as a teacher and assistant coach at Rio Vista.
Vanderhoff is a 2013 graduate of Alvarado High School where he was a standout football and baseball player for the Indians. He was an All-Johnson County selection for football for three years and baseball for two years.
“I’m blessed to get this opportunity,” Vanderhoff said. “I’m thankful to Coach Black in giving me the opportunity and that he trusts me to do the job with this being my first time as a head baseball coach. I’ve got a lot to learn but with the kids and relationships I’ve built at Rio, I know I can lead these kids in the right direction. There’s a lot of potential in Rio and hopefully we can bring those kids out and put Rio back on the map.”
Rio Vista baseball has had its struggles the last several years, including 2019 where the Eagles won just three games on the season before going winless in district play. Vanderhoff said the No. 1 thing in rebuilding the program is to get more kids to come out for baseball.
“The biggest thing is the numbers aren’t where they need to be,” Vanderhoff said. “We finished with one team this season; we didn’t have enough for a varsity and a junior varsity. So my biggest goal is to get more kids out there. I don’t really care if they can’t throw a ball to start out, but if we can increase our numbers and build on that, then we can move on to fundamentals. From what I know the youth organization is really picking things up. If we can work on fundamentals at the high school level and small ball teams to death, we can start being successful and become a consistent playoff baseball team.”
Vanderhoff said he’s a high-energy person and he wants to instill that into his athletes.
“I’m all about building relationships and I’m also a high energy guy,” he said. “When you see me out on the field or even in the classroom, I’m high energy and I’m a go-getter. I’m all about being positive and staying positive. There’s things, even in life, that brings you down but you have to stay positive and be high energy. I went through a lot in life to get where I am and I let that lead me in the direction I’m going.”
Martin is new to the teaching and coaching world, but it’s a career she’s wanted to pursue for many years after playing for the legendary Leta Andrews at Granbury High School.
“Coaching is something I have always wanted to do, ever since I was in school,” Martin said. “I was coached by Leta Andrews in Granbury and she really inspired me. So I’ve always wanted to coach. I was able to come back and pursue this career, so this is where I’m at now. The door opened up for me.”
Martin, 36, served in the military for three years, including tours in Iraq and Honduras. And now she’s looking forward to leading and making an impact on her student-athletes.
“I’m looking forward to getting in there and not only being able to coach but be that mentor and get these girls some good leadership,” Martin said. “I hope I’m able to be one of the many good leaders we have coming here.
“I’m very honored that they chose me for this position. I heard there were several people out there that really wanted me to do it. I’m really excited to be a part of this group and I look forward to helping them grow. These girls really deserve a lot. I hope to stay around for a while and help them continue to get better.”
Martin was an assistant coach for the Lady Eagles in 2018 when Rio Vista won 28 games and captured a bi-district title, and she hopes to continue that type of success.
“We had a really good group of girls last year,” Martin said. “We lost several key players so there’s going to be some things we have to build on the next few years but we do still have a good core coming back. I really want to work with them on being strong leaders and letting the younger girls know they have to step up now. It’s time for them to step up and get ready to play.”
Martin has lived in Rio Vista for more than eight years with her husband, Clint Martin, who is from Rio Vista.
“Already knowing the girls helps,” Martin said. “I already know how a lot of them work in sports and outside of sports. And knowing the community really helps. There are some really good people here. They’ve told me how excited they are for me. It’s a big confidence boost for me. I’m looking forward to it.”