by Clancey Cleveland
Dec 09, 2011
Four years ago, Janet Brannon was hired as Southmoore’s new volleyball coach. In her job interview, the administration asked her how she planned on building a successful volleyball program.
“One of the things I told them when they asked how I would build a program, is that we had to have a youth league going on in this city and we had to have club,” Brannon said. “Because the season is just too short in high school. There is no way for us to go those few months and have them progress.”
That year, Oklahoma Edge - Moore’s own volleyball club – was born.
“So we started a youth league that first year with 56 participants, and we started with one team for Oklahoma Edge which was my (Southmoore) varsity,” Brannon said.
“We went to ten teams that next year, and because of the youth league that fed into it, the next year 12 teams, and this year we’re up to 17 teams.”
Now in it’s fourth season of existence, Oklahoma Edge has grown to include athletes from all over the Oklahoma City metro and as far away Weatherford, Cement and Lawton.
“We’ve grown so very much and in order to get all of our teams in we needed a gym,” Brannon said.
After a long search, Brannon found a building right in the heart of Moore at 605 Messenger Lane.
“We were looking for a place to house our teams that could be ours so we wouldn’t have to worry about schedules and stepping on anybody’s toes,” she said. “This one came available, so we snatched it up and put it all together.”
The building originally housed canvas art. The high ceilings and large square footage were exactly what Janet was looking for.
“When I walked in I knew it was perfect,” Brannon said.
There’s a spacious lobby and room for concessions, a large office space, and there’s an area for a future strength and conditioning area.
“We are actually talking with a certified trainer that’s wanting to come in and train the athletes year round,” Brannon said.
Of course Brannon didn’t merely walk in to the building to watch it suddenly become a gymnasium. Transforming the space into a functional home for a volleyball club took a lot of teamwork from the Oklahoma Edge family.
“We had coaches, players, moms, dads,” Brannon said. “We’ve had people who have come for the utilities, and they’ve seen what it is and they’ve jumped on board.
“We had so many people here at different times of the day, painting, cleaning and sweeping.”
Bank First heard about Oklahoma Edge and donated furniture to the facility. Couches and chairs fill the lobby, while the office is furnished with desks and shelves.
Ashley Blake plays for the Oklahoma Edge 18-year-olds team. As a member of the original Edge team, she knows how important it is for her club to finally have it’s own facility.
“It’s just more home,” Ashley said. “It’s not who can come in at whatever time, trying to schedule around everything. You can come in whenever and know that it’s all the Edge family around here.”
Ashley is just one of many examples of girls who found success in school volleyball because they played club volleyball.
“It’s the complete reason why all three high schools were in the top 15 at some point during the season,” Brannon said. “They’re playing club and basically playing year round it’s made such a difference.”