Lake Dallas assistant coach Phyllis Brahinsky was recently named the recipient of one of the state’s most prestigious awards for her profession, garnering the Class 5A/6A assistant coach of the year for volleyball by the Texas Girls Coaches Association for the 2019-20 school year.
Brahinsky just completed her 14th season as a coach and biology teacher at Lake Dallas – she also coached basketball and softball in addition to her duties as a varsity assistant to Kristinn Holbrooks, who is coming off her first season as Lady Falcons’ head volleyball coach.
“I knew that I had been nominated by Kristinn in May,” Brahinsky said. “I received the (TGCA) newsletter electronically. I wasn’t sure if the award winners (assistant coaches of the year) were in there. I looked at it once and then again and saw the award winners were posted. I kind of started tearing up a little bit, picked it up, went to the other room (in her house) and showed my husband.”
Holbrooks, in her essay to the TGCA to nominate Brahinsky, used the word “plow horse” to describe the energy, enthusiasm and work ethic that Brahinsky demonstrated every day in practice and during game day.
“(Brahinsky) is exactly what an assistant coach should be,” Holbrooks wrote. “Coach B. is loyal. She has worked with a different head coach each year for the last four seasons, and she treats each one the same, if not better than the last. She is the type of varsity assistant that is always two steps ahead, never to one-up you or for recognition but always so you as a head coach can do your job and coach.”
During Holbrooks’ first year of coaching at Lake Dallas, Brahinsky made three binders fully equipped with a checklist that was sectioned off by order of importance, Holbrooks said. The first binder included a summer to-do list, which including kid camps, summer league, a parent meeting, summer workouts, preseason training and alumni game information. Binder No. 2 was a season binder that included tryout sheets, game stats, special events, and hospitality information for a hospitality room that Brahinsky hosts during every home match for workers and visiting coaches. The final binder had information written out for everything that the team needed to have done this past spring. Not once did Holbrooks have to ask or delegate because Brahinsky had those binders completed.
“Coach B. is the epitome of what it means to be a plow horse,” Holbrooks wrote. “She is the first one to arrive at the gym with blinders on until she goes through her printed out checklist and ensures that everything is ready for the coaches and players for practice and matches. She is the first in the gym during her conference period to make sure the white boards are available with practice plans. She stays late after games to wash and hang dry all uniforms to prevent them from getting lost, torn, or faded.”
A graduate of Irving MacArthur High School, Brahinsky’s coaching career has spanned a total of 26 years, eight of which were spent at Irving High, in addition to a four-year stint at Crockett Middle School in Irving, where she also helped out with the school’s track and field team, when needed.
“I grew up playing softball, played softball in college,” Brahinsky said. “That was always kind of my main sport. Then, I just kind of got into volleyball and really liked it. I tried to understand the things the best that I can.”
Brahinsky insists that she has never been one for the spotlight, yet she offered words of thanks to those athletes and coaches that she has either coached or worked with over the past two-plus decades.
“I posted a thing on Facebook the day after I found out that I won the award, because I wanted to give a shout-out to all of the coaches that I had worked with over the years that I had learned from them,” she said. “I thought about the first person that got me into coaching. I learned from coaches in softball, as well as in basketball, and volleyball.
“The award wouldn’t have been available to me if wasn’t for the time spent with so many knowledgeable people. It became so overwhelming. Kids that I had coached 20 years ago were posting things; parents and kids. It became kind of more emotional than I ever thought it would be, because a lot of times, you don’t know the effect that you have on people.”