Getting to know Karen Naymola

Volleyball Coach Naymola shares her coaching journey as well as her personal life details


Provided by K. Naymola

Naymola poses with her husband and her three daughters whom she loves playing sports with.

By Luma Acevedo

Acevedo: How would you describe your upbringing? 

Naymola: I was very fortunate to have two older siblings, a sister named Christine and a brother named David whom I was close with. I had an awesome childhood. My family was close; my dad is hilarious and would always play with us. [He would] pull pranks on us and joke around a lot. I think every one of my high school friends probably remembers a prank he pulled at least once on them. I definitely got his sense of humor and easy-going personality. Now, he is typically doing this to his grandchildren. Both my parents were very involved and worked hard to support us. They were always my number one fan. I played four sports growing up. My poor dad would come home from work and go straight to the backyard to either pepper with me, shoot hoops in our driveway, or be my catcher so I could pitch to him. However, now it’s my payback because my kids are very similar and the minute I get home, they want to play volleyball, pepper with me, or have me hit balls at them. Also, they [might] challenge Mr. Naymola to family room volleyball because they still cannot beat me. My parents still come to games now to watch and support me and Huntley.  

Acevedo: Is there anything you would change about your past? 

Naymola: The only thing I would change was possibly where I went on to play Division 1 volleyball. The recruiting process was very different; since my mom went to nursing school and my dad was drafted to Vietnam right after high school, they were unfamiliar with the recruiting process as well. I would get letters from some big schools but just didn’t realize how big they were. As a coach now, it’s one of my main priorities [to] help athletes who want to play at the next level.

Acevedo: Is your life everything you thought it would be? 

Naymola: It’s the only life I know so I guess so!

Acevedo: What do you think the future has in store for you? 

Naymola: It better have a state appearance with Huntley Volleyball! Mr. Naymola and I are excited to watch our three beautiful daughters grow up here in Huntley and support them in whatever they choose to do. 

Acevedo: What is something that you live by?

Naymola: I have a positive mindset. I genuinely try to keep a positive mindset every day or look for the positive in every situation. I try to stop thinking about what happened in the past or worrying about what might happen in the future and control what I can.

Acevedo: Do you have any regrets?

Naymola: No, not really because there is nothing you can do about things in the past. It only becomes regret if you didn’t at least learn something from it or if it allowed it to shape you or change you in some positive way. 

Acevedo: What is a childhood memory that helped shape who you are? 

Naymola: I had a great childhood and growing up I have so many memories of my family and spending time with them. One devastating memory that really changed my outlook on life was the tragic bus accident my freshman year of high school at Cary Grove. A school bus got hit by a train and seven of my classmates, one was a good friend, died. That day really put in perspective how fast things can change and how you’re only given one life so live it to the fullest. 

Acevedo: What do you like about teaching at HHS? 

Naymola: I really enjoy all the staff here and the students. Our physical education staff is a great group, and I am lucky to work with them on a daily basis. One piece of advice I got that really applies is “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” I love coaching and teaching. 

Acevedo: Did you always know you wanted to coach volleyball?

Naymola: Volleyball has definitely opened a lot of opportunities in my life. I have always had a passion for volleyball. I actually coached other sports for a while, but volleyball was always different. 

Acevedo: What is your favorite coaching memory? 

Naymola: This one is tough because I genuinely have so many fond memories [like] going downstate with Hampshire and winning back-to-back sectional titles at Huntley. The High Ropes course and water obstacle course at Huntley were unlike any other team-building experiences I have ever been a part of.