They won’t allow Sean Coffinger to play badminton. It’s only for girls.
But that’s one of the few sports at which the Desert Vista junior hasn’t excelled.
“Yeah,” Coffinger quipped, “they wouldn’t let me play badminton, but volleyball, baseball, football, basketball, I love them all,” Coffinger said. “It’s what I do.”
And he does it well.
He threw for 522 yards and four touchdowns as a quarterback on the Thunder football team while also playing as a hard-hitting 6-foot-2, 200-pound linebacker.
Coffinger also has been a key player on the Desert Vista basketball team for the last three years and has made the Thunder boys volleyball varsity for the past three seasons.
“Isn’t that crazy,” said Desert Vista boys volleyball coach Ryan Tolman. “To start in all three sports and play them all as well as he does, you’d be hard pressed to find another athlete like that in the state this year.”
Coffinger also had the potential to excel as a baseball player until volleyball teammate Andy Gott convinced him to try that sport.
Tolman spotted Coffinger’s potential early.
“He’s been on our radar since the day he walked through the door,” Tolman said. “I had an opportunity to see him during the basketball season and you just knew, even as a freshman, how strong and mature he was.
“You just knew he was going to be a special athlete on campus no matter what he chose to do, and we’re lucky he chose volleyball,” Tolman said.
Coffinger admits football is his favorite.
“Football is the toughest,” he said, “I love to hit, and you can’t beat the energy of football.”
Basketball, he explained, transitions to volleyball.
“Volleyball is more subtle,” said Coffinger, an outside hitter. “You can have one good move in basketball and still succeed. You can’t have one good move on a volleyball court. You’ve got to have several moves.”
And they didn’t come naturally.
“In the past years he just wanted to hit the ball as hard as he could,” Tolman said. “But now he starting to control the ball, and it’s scary because he is figuring out where the ball needs to be.”
It all started with Gott.
“I was playing baseball and that was kind of slow,” Coffinger said. “Andy told me to come over to beach volleyball. So we played beach and from there we went into the gym.”
Gott’s family is all about volleyball.
Andy’s sister, Anna, played at Desert Vista and with Thunder teammate, Betsi Metter, won the 18-and-under Amateur Athletic Association (AAU) Junior Beach Volleyball national championship last summer. Anna went on to play at Northern Arizona University.
“My sister played volleyball, so I knew a little bit about it,” Coffinger said. “But I had always played baseball so it was all new and I had to start over from scratch.”
Coffinger used his training in basketball to get in shape and help his reactions.
“But that volleyball comes at you pretty fast,” he said. “You either get out of the way or get in front of it. I try to get in front of it.”
Tolman is looking forward to this season and next when Coffinger and Gott return for their senior season.
“Put Sean alongside of Andy and it’s a great one-two combo, and they’re only juniors,” Tolman beamed.
Somehow Coffinger is able to balance school and sports.
“This is my life,” he said. “School, friends and sports. It’s a tight schedule.”
And it doesn’t allow time for badminton anyway.