Tee Pimsarn

Fenwick High School announced the hiring of a new member of its athletic coaching staff and the departure of another recently. The school welcomed Tee Pimsarn as its new girls volleyball coach Dec. 15 while girls cross country coach Kevin Roche will step down after more than a decade at the helm.

Pimsarn, an Oak Park native via Thailand and Hawaii, has more than 15 years of experience coaching at both the high school and club levels. He served as an assistant this fall for Kathleen O’Laughlin, who retired at season’s end after spending 19 years in the program, including the last 12 as head coach.

“Coach Pimsarn has a wealth of experience coaching high school girls volleyball at a very high level,” said Fenwick Athletic Director Scott Thies in a press release. “We are really excited to have Coach Pimsarn leading our program and building off of what Coach O’Laughlin accomplished at Fenwick.”

“To have an opportunity to lead Fenwick’s student-athletes to be strong, confident young women that will go out in the world to be productive members of our community is a great honor,” Pimsarn said in the release. “The program is in good hands, and I will do my best to uphold the tradition and standards of the volleyball program and grow the sport within our community.”

Prior to joining Fenwick, Pimsarn was part of coaching staffs at Montini as a junior varsity volunteer assistant and at Nazareth Academy, Resurrection and Trinity, where he was junior varsity head coach.

At the club level, Pimsarn has been a 17U head coach with 1st Alliance Volleyball Club since 2014. His teams placed in the Top 10 at the American Amateur Union National Volleyball Championships in 2014, 2018, 2019 and 2022.

A graduate of Oak Park and River Forest High School, Pimsarn attended Lewis University and Southern Illinois University, where received a Bachelor of Arts degree in aviation management.

Roche leaving for personal reasons

Kevin Roche

Fenwick girls cross country coach Kevin Roche announced in an Instagram post on Dec. 11 he is stepping down for personal reasons after 12 seasons leading the program.

“I’ve loved working with the kids,” Roche said in a phone interview with Wednesday Journal. “There’s nothing like supportive families that Fenwick has, and it’s been such a joy.”

Under Roche’s guidance, the Friars had four top 20 finishes in the IHSA Class 2A state meet and 12 all-state athletes, the most recent being Bella Daley the last two years.

“People know about those who make all-conference or all-state,” said Roche, who graduated from Fenwick in 2005. “But they don’t know the stories of the doubts the kids had to overcome, or the patience they had to have. It was a joy watching those journeys.”

Roche thanked his assistant coaches for their help in building the program. He also thanked his competitors, such as Trinity High School coach Johann Gonzalez.

“The coaching community in cross country and track is tight-knit,” he said. “Yes, we compete against each other, but we also try to figure out how to bring out the best in each other. When we run well, the other teams get better, and vice versa. There’s great camaraderie and knowledge among us, and each of the other coaches have been welcoming.”

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