Meet the Lamar grad taking over Port Neches-Groves’ volleyball program

Published 12:46 am Thursday, June 9, 2022

PORT NECHES — Port Neches-Groves volleyball will have a new face leading the charge the next time the team takes the court.

The district hired Bre’Ala Box, who graduated from Lamar University last year, to run the program. School officials say the hire took place last month, and Box ran her first team workout Wednesday.

Box played for the Cardinals volleyball team on an athletic scholarship.

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Out of Lamar, Box coached three sports at Burkeville before taking the job at PNG.

“I originally planned to move back to Dallas, but then I heard about the PNG job and decided to give it a chance,” she said. “I heard really good things about it.”

Some of that recruiting came from former PNG volleyball player Kaitlyn Gil, who was teammates with Box at Lamar.

“She told me about it and people were encouraging me to do it and I am glad I did,” Box said. “I am really excited to be here and work with the girls. Everyone is so friendly. I feel like I will learn a lot, too. I am excited to learn how to run a program; coming from 1A to 5A is a difference.”

Box said she learned the importance of team during her time at Lamar.

“When I was at Lamar, we were always the underdog team,” she said. “I had three different coaches in four years. I feel like I learned about working through adversity. A lot of athletes who get that many head coaches would want to transfer. I settled in because I loved my teammates. Even though we were not winning, we were together.”

Box, who will also teach at the high school, wants to put an emphasis on helping kids cope with mental health issues.

“They are in high school and everyone goes through stuff,” she said. “I want to do stuff that focuses on their mental health. I think that will help them as far as the game goes, too.”

Athletic Director Jeff Joseph said Box is a great fit for the district.

“She is young,” he said. “She brings a ton of knowledge, having played in college. She has great energy and is a positive person. She has a great outlook on life and sports, and she cares about kids and loves coaching. We are excited to have her.”

Box likened her first meeting with the team to the night before a big vacation.

“It was only an hour,” she said. “We had about 40 girls show up. It was just me, by myself. I did some simple drills just to touch the volleyball. I saw some things that were good and some things we have to work on. It made me really excited.”

Box will also receive mentoring from girls athletic director Barbara Comeaux, who is the winningest volleyball coach in the state’s history.

“It is really helpful (to have her),” Box said. “I can learn a lot from her and she will help me when I need it. I am glad she is still here.”

The new coach said she is ready to get a taste of Mid County Madness.

“For the football game, I will likely be in the student section with my face painted,” she said. “I am looking forward to it. I love school spirit.”

Box replaces Brittany Fruge, who was with the program since 2019. Under Fruge, PNG made the playoffs last season before falling 3-0 to Manvel in the first round.