BAJA Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not for profit business created exclusively to foster national amateur sports competition and primarily to support and develop amateur athletes for that competition. We are completely dedicated to providing its athletes with the technical, tactical and physical training to reach their highest possible potential. We will strive to mentor each and every player toward mindful development and becoming the complete athlete.
For our younger players we want to develop a solid base of fundamental skills as well as a true passion for the sport of volleyball! As players get older and progress we want to provide the path to a level of excellence that allows every player to test their own limitations. Only by constantly testing our limits can we truly find our potential. This is the true measure that separates greatness from mediocrity and determines who will be the champion. Champions are not always the winner of the final match, but their effort and commitment to themselves and their teammates is the ultimate gold medal.
We want our players to understand what the term “Dedicated To Excellence” really stands for. It is not a part time endeavor to be turned on and off depending on the mood or feeling of the day. We also want them to understand what it means to be a part of a team and what the word “teammate” really stands for. A group of people who share a common goal together and the members of that group understand and agree to make the sacrifices necessary to make that goal become reality. These people learn that individual needs are put aside for the good of the team or they won't reach their goal/s. Being a part of a team and making sacrifices and commitments to help that team achieve success is possibly the greatest single lesson to be learned from athletics!
Meet the Coaches
Our coaches are some of the best teachers of the game. Several played in college! With all this knowledge and experience, we think you will agree our coaches are some of the best around!
Founder & Executive Director
Stephen Shepherd is the Varsity Volleyball Coach at Clearwater Central Catholic High School. In his 9 years at CCC, the Marauders have compiled a 187-70 record. He has led them to 4 District Championships, 3 Regional Championships, 3 Final Four appearances and the 3A State Championship (’14) . Stephen is CAP II certified through USAV and is working on his CAP III certification.
Taylor Whaley played at Lakewood High School 05-09 where she was a standout. She played for Pinellas Heat for 7 years where all her teams qualified for JO's, getting 3rd in 18 Open in '09. She then played for Eckerd College 09-13. She coached for St. Pete Volleyball Club for 7 years and recently started last year with Pinellas Heat, where her 11's team was ranked #1 in Florida. She is currently the Varsity Asst. at CCC.
Wendy Hensley was the head freshman coach at Louisville Mercy Academy for 12 years, amassing more than 250 wins. Hensley served as head coach for ages 10U-14U at Union Volleyball Club and as the Director of Volleyball and coach at St. Gabriel the Archangel. She is an IMPACT Certified Coach by USA Volleyball. Coach Hensley played collegiately at Kentucky Wesleyan College.
BAJA's Set HER Up!
Bay Area Juniors "Set HER Up" is a scholarship program designed to give as many young, underprivileged female athletes in the Tampa Bay area the opportunity to grow in the sport of volleyball as possible. It will serve any athlete who cannot financially afford the opportunity themselves to join a club or program provided by an organization.
BAJA's Set HER Up Application