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Volleyball: Reunited at last – Oberle’s daughter joins him on bench as assistant

By Reece Waddell | Published Saturday, September 1, 2018
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When longtime Decatur volleyball assistant Brandy Mayfield resigned to take the Alvord head coaching job in June, Clark Oberle immediately knew who he wanted to replace her.

ALL IN THE FAMILY – Decatur assistant coach Alyssa White (left), and her father, head coach Clark Oberle, teamed up to work side-by-side on the bench this season. White played for her father from 2002-2006 when he was the head coach at Argyle. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

It had been over a decade since he shared the court with his daughter, Alyssa White, but Oberle wanted her to join him on the bench for the 2018 season.

“My first thought was Alyssa,” Oberle recalled. “So, I texted her and said, ‘Do you want to be my assistant and get a ring?'”

At first, the plan seemed like nothing more than a pipe dream.

White was already coaching in Aledo and had moved to the area a few weeks earlier. While she wanted to be reunited with her father, White did not want to uproot her family again in such a short amount of time.

“We moved six weeks before he messaged me,” White said. “For me, it was a ‘haha’ moment. I just laughed it off.”

As June turned into July, White started giving the proposition more thought. One Sunday when she went over to Oberle’s house, she started talking to her mother about the idea of coaching with her dad.

Driving home with her family later that night, White texted Oberle and began asking questions about the job.

“It just kind of fell into place after that,” Oberle said.

White resigned from her post at Aledo Middle School two weeks before two-a-day practices began in August. Even though it meant moving for the second time in less than a year, White could not pass up on the opportunity to coach alongside her father.

“Looking back on it, I didn’t want moving to be the reason I didn’t [work with him],” White said. “Dad keeps talking about retirement, so we don’t know how much longer he’ll be working. I thought if I didn’t at least try to come here, I would regret it.”

After years of trying to join forces, Oberle and White were finally able to team up.

“We had kind of talked about [coaching together], and it has been a possibility in years past, but the teaching field wasn’t right,” Oberle said. “But Coach Mayfield was special education, and [White] is special education.”

White graduated from Texas A&M-Commerce in 2010 and started coaching in Prosper. She coached in Abilene for two seasons before moving back to the Metroplex in November 2016.

Playing at A&M Commerce, White recorded 287 kills in 2008. In high school, she was an all-state selection at Argyle, playing for her father.

“As a player, she was fierce,” Oberle said. “She absolutely hated to lose. She knows my philosophy and style of play.”

Oberle started the volleyball program at Argyle in 1999 and won the 4A championship in 2015. He won more than 500 games at Argyle, but never made it to the state tournament with his daughter.

“It was a dream and a goal of ours to go to state,” White said. “The last year I played for him, we got beat in the region final, so we were one game away. We’re still kind of pursuing that goal.”

Through the first month of the season, the Lady Eagles appear to be on track to meet that goal.

Decatur is 18-8 in August and won the West Texas Spikefest last weekend. Prior to winning that tournament, the Lady Eagles knocked off three-time defending 6A champion Hebron at the Northwest ISD Volleyball Classic. They are ranked third in the latest Texas Girls Coaches Association 4A poll.

Despite their hot start, Oberle and White know better than to get excited at this point in the season.

“He told the girls Tuesday when we beat Boswell, when I was playing for him every year we were ranked No. 2, 3 and 4, and we didn’t make it,” White said. “We really aren’t putting a lot of thought into that.”

The father-daughter tandem may have come up short of reaching the state tournament when White was in high school, but they are hoping their years of working together at Argyle will finally pay off.

Oberle already has one state championship ring, and he is ready to add to his collection with his daughter by his side.

“It would be very cool,” Oberle said. “That’s one of those things in 20 years we can look back on and be like ‘Do you remember that year?’ A deep playoff run would be cool. A state tournament would be a dream. That’s something we’ve talked about since she was 12.”

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