In the late summer of 1995, Bob Kelly dreamed up an idea for a local volleyball tournament at Durango High School. Over the last two decades, the Durango Fall Classic has become anything but unremarkable. Instead, it’s become unquestionably the most prestigious and competitive high school volleyball event anywhere in the country.
“I have a hard time accepting that it’s the top tournament in the country, simply because I never thought it would be in that position,” said Kelly. “I thought it would be a good, solid regional tournament. I’m very proud of how it’s evolved. It lives its own life.”
A California native, Robert (Bob) Kelly began at Clark in 1978 and, with O’Quinn assisting, led the Chargers to the first of their five state titles in 1981. Their 1989 squad featured future Olympian Charlene Johnson Tagaloa, and his final two teams went a combined 56-1. In 1993, Kelly and O’Quinn moved to Durango and continued working together
By 1997, the two had led Durango to a state title. The Trailblazers also won the 1999 boys state crown. Durango’s 2002 and 2003 girls teams lost only one set to a team from Nevada and won back-to-back state crowns.
After 30 years of coaching , Bob retired after delivering a combined nine state titles in boys and girls volleyball at Clark and Durango.
Coach Amy Schlauder has been the varsity women’s volleyball coach at Durango High School since 2013. She was voted Southwest Division Coach of the Year in 2016, Sunset Region Coach of the Year in 2017 and Nevada Preps Coach of the Year in 2017. Coach Schlauder is also a Durango volleyball alum, where her achievements include being named the 2004 Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year, a Top 10 Finalist for the National Player of the Year and a two-time inductee into Durango’s Athletic Hall of Fame. After high school, Amy led her Brigham Young University team to the “Elite 8” in the 2007 NCAA Tournament, being named to the NCAA Regional All-Tournament Team, establishing and still holding the BYU record for highest career assists per game average. She enjoyed competing in the Durango Fall Classic as a player and now loves being on the administrative side and coaching a participating team.
Jonathon Grande has served as the Athletic Administrator at Durango High School for the past three years, and has been an administrator at the school for 10 years overall. Prior to becoming an administrator at Durango High School, Jonathon taught English while coaching volleyball and basketball at Bonanza High School (2004-2006) and was the first head coach of both the boys and girls volleyball teams at Legacy High School (2006-2011) where he also served as Athletic Director. He is an NIAAA Certified Athletic Administrator and serves as the Durango Athletic Hall of Fame director.