Heather Volek Brownholtz, John Volek’s Daughter, Now Head Coach at Local High School

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SACRAMENTO -- Local sports fans will remember the name John Volek.

He’s a former Sacramento State football coach, as well as the athletic director at Sierra College.

What you may not know though, is his daughter, Heather, is now the first-year varsity head coach of the girls’ basketball team at St. Francis High School.

Athletics has formed a strong bond in the Volek family.

At first glance, most would probably say it is only fitting that Heather Volek Brownholtz is a head coach.

Her father rode that same wave for 7 years at Sac State from 1995 ‘til 2002.

But Brownholtz admits there is much more behind it.

“It's all been, in my family, self-generated. So, if somebody had a dream or a goal it was ‘go do it, put in the work’ and they were supportive,” she said.

There were five of them growing up.

John and his wife Vikki, Heather is the middle child between oldest brother Joe and Billy, who went on to play 12 seasons in the NFL as a quarterback for the Chargers and Titans.

“We were always around it; the coaching, the style, the influence of the game. Conversation improving because in my dad's profession if you didn't win, you got fired. You either go up, or you go out,” said Brownholtz.

Volek added, “they also saw how I treated my players, and I think there was a family connection.”

“He was a player’s coach and inspirational, so I thread that into all my pre-game speeches I threat that daily into our practices,” said Brownholtz.

But what he wasn't, which may be hard to grasp, is a coach to his kids.

“I think my dad is smart enough to know he's not a basketball coach. He didn't coach my brothers in football either. So, we each, all 3 singularly chased our dreams. Now, around the table we'd all talk about it, but we were all doing our own things including my dad,” Brownholtz expressed.

“She's her own person. She was a leader. When the boys would go out on a date, they'd check in with Heather to see if they looked OK,” Volek added.

And now Heather is the leader in a different light. One with similarities to what her father built in this community but has all of her own personal markings.

“Now she gets to find her way and test herself with her blueprint, and it will be her blueprint and it will be her stamp on it,” Volek said.

“It's my own journey. 100 percent,” Brownholtz stated.

But with all the love and support a family especially between father and daughter can give.

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