Faith drives coach through tough times

First Byline: 
Michael Young - Sports Editor

Finding peace, remembering your strength and being reminded of your resilience are a few words Williston-Elko High volleyball head coach Eva Strong lives by.
However, those words of faith were put to the test this past season for the 14-year coach.
After more than 120 victories, including three region titles and four region runner ups, Strong was unsure about her desire to coach anymore.
Strong's lack of enthusiasm seemed to stem from recent family hardship which included the death of two sisters in a span of a week four years ago.
Most recently Strong has been caring for her 91-year-old mother who has been battling an illness. That coupled with the stress and strain of supporting two children, including one in college.
Then added to the fact she was going through a rebuilding year with a team that lost five starters, including three all-region players. It seemingly had taken a toll on Strong.
"I had so much on me at the time and I wasn't sure what I wanted to do," Strong said. "I prayed and asked God to show me the way."
The answer Strong was seeking came in the form of a phone call.
In September, Strong was contacted by the South Carolina Coach's Association and told she was selected as a coach for the class A and AA Division All-Stars in the Nov. 17 game at Erskine College.
"I guess that was God's way of letting me know he wanted me to continue my work with the kids," Strong said.
"When you're down and out, it doesn't take much to get you going again. That was the strength I needed to keep going. It was like getting a pat on the back by my colleagues. More importantly, I was appreciated."
Strong's new-found energy was also felt on her team. This was a team that started the season with seven straight losses then went on a late season run winning three of their last four games.
From there, Strong went on to lead the North All-Stars to a 3-1 win over the South All-Stars.
"It was amazing. I was really happy for the way our young volleyball team finished the season and for how my North All Stars played," Strong said.
"Those chain of events just showed me the difference I can still make with players. My mom always told me, ‘God works in mysterious ways'. He's my inspiration and he continues to come through in my life and family."