By Alex Byington

Harker Heights Herald

For the last six years, Bree Holz-Gonzales led the resurrection of Salado's volleyball program.

On Monday, Holz-Gonzales was recommended by new Temple athletic director Mike Spradlin to become the next Tem-Cats head volleyball coach during the Temple Independent School District board meeting.

And although she agonized over the decision, the six-year resident of Temple couldn't turn down the opportunity to do the same thing a little closer to home.

"It was pretty overwhelming, just because I'd been there for so long and you get comfortable where you are," Holz-Gonzales said. "It was scary and there was a lot of anxiety, but once that initial feeling wore off, it was, 'What's next?'"

Pending approval from the Temple school board in its next meeting May 9, Holz-Gonzales will replace Susie Hughlett, who was reassigned within the district by Spradlin after a decade leading the Tem-Cats. If approved, Holz-Gonzales will direct a program that hasn't been to the postseason the past three years.

Having made her mark at 2A and 3A leading the Salado Lady Eagles to four straight playoff appearances, Holz-Gonzales was eager to try her hand at the UIL's highest classification. It didn't hurt that she wouldn't have to uproot her budding family, including husband Roger Gonzales - an assistant basketball coach at Harker Heights - and their young daughter.

"With me being able to move up without having to move the family and not have to have him move and try to find a job," Holz-Gonzales said. "So that was a huge plus (toward the decision)."

The only thing left was breaking it to her players, many of whom she's coached since they were in middle school.

"It was pretty rough. I had to go in and tell these kids that I've known since they were sixth graders that I was leaving," she said.

"So it was shocking to them. It was hard, one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. But after the initial shock wore off, they understood where I was coming from."

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