There are several different titles Ashley Henry wears with pride.
The cheerful, always-on-the-go Page County graduate now serves as the Director of Operations at Horizons Edge, in addition to being the varsity volleyball head coach at her alma mater, where she was a standout multi-sport athlete in high school.
At The Edge, where Henry has worked since November 2019, Henry started as an events and tournament organizer before moving into an operational role. As the Director of Operations, she oversees contract negotiations and equipment procurement, benchmarks trends in the industry, manages SOPs, oversees facility maintenance, analyzes event performance, and prepares metrics to evaluate events’ performances.
And at PCHS, she’s coaching a program that has struggled in recent years since COVID-19 but is slowly building interest in the program she once grew up in.
“I love teaching young women the sport that I fell in love with,” Henry said.
Henry’s lifestyle certainly brings some chaos to her day-to-day schedule, she can admit, but that’s exactly how the Page County Hall of Fame athlete said she prefers it.
And specifically at The Edge, she said that’s why her new role is so fulfilling.
“Every day is a new challenge, a new event that wants to utilize our facility with creative solutions, a new puzzle to solve,” Henry said. “No two days are ever the same. There is always a “new thing,” whether pickleball, grass volleyball, local high school proms/after-prom, or a community event. There is never a finish line, and as someone who doesn’t like being stagnant, the constant changes keep me on my toes.”
Henry’s athletic career started on the court, but not with the volleyball game.
She initially found passion in hoops, playing for the Page Valley Paws in AAU basketball before helping the Panthers reach the state tournament as a freshman on varsity in high school. She also emerged as a big-time all-state performer in track and field for PCHS.
But playing for longtime, well-respected head coach Alan Knight, the sport of volleyball quickly engulfed the multi-sport standout as she made the varsity team as a freshman.
Henry was eventually named the Student-Athlete of the Year at Page County and awarded the Sportsmanship Player of the Year award for the entire athletic department.
After graduation, Henry was named to the PCHS Hall of Fame for all three sports.
Then, after a brief stint at Bridgewater College, Henry transferred to San Diego State, where she received an undergraduate degree in business management and spent hours playing volleyball and beach ball with various intramural teams in her spare time.
When she returned to the Shenandoah Valley, the PCHS graduate had the itch to get involved with the game she had developed such a profound passion for.
That’s when she hit up her former head coach for a favor. And it paid off.
“I reached out to Coach Knight, who gladly accepted the help,” Henry said. “I was his assistant for two years when he handed the reigns over.”
Henry is now entering her third season as the Page County volleyball head coach this fall — her fifth total with the program — and coaches middle-school players in the summer.
“I love my girls,” Henry said. “I am truly blessed with the girls that play for me.”
Since getting involved with coaching and at The Edge, the impact parents have on children is something Henry said doesn’t get noticed enough in young athletes’ lives.
From running to various practices and tournaments to providing support when a confidence boost is needed, Henry said athletics shaped her own personal relationships.
“My parents, to this day, still attend my volleyball games to support my girls and my coaching career,” Henry said. “So, if you have supportive parents, especially as supportive as mine, make sure you say thank you and do not take that for granted.”
During her athletic playing days, Henry stayed busy throughout the entire year.
Now as a coach and Director of Operations at The Edge, that hasn’t changed.
But thanks to the support of her family and a passion for the job, that’s how she likes it.
“I wouldn’t be who I am today without the love and support of my parents,” Henry said. “I know what support looks like because I have been blessed to have it my whole life.”
By, Cody Elliott – Staff Writer