350+ wins, a state title in 1997 with Corning West, and 30 years at the helm of the Corning volleyball program.

Already inducted in to the prestigious Corning-Painted Post Sports Hall of Fame, coach Furness has accomplished everything that a coach could hope to achieve when he or she starts.

I’d like to congratulate Irene on an amazing career, and for always being so nice to me as the lone person in The Leader sports department.

Volleyball was one of the sports when I got into sportswriting that I wasn’t really sure how to approach and/or cover. Coach Furness helped me throughout the process and was instrumental in helping me create some of my best work.

Covering her sectional and state Final Four run in 2016 was one of the fondest memories I've had at The Leader. I was so new, so nervous about if what I was writing was any good and Irene always seemed to appreciate my efforts.

That season the volleyball team started 0-2, and you told me you changed something tactically that propelled you to win 12 straight games. I was so amped and so proud of myself that I asked the question and that I was able to write that in my sectional preview.

While it wasn’t the ending her or her 2018 team wanted after an amazing regular season run, [losing in the sectional finals 3-2 after a 2-0 lead] her team should be proud of all they accomplished.

While I wish Irene would come back, as she has always reported her stats to me and gives me the lowdown on everything I need to know about Section IV volleyball, I wish her the best in whatever she decides to do down the line.

It takes a special coach to get through to high school students and to get them to feel as if you are a part of their family, and throughout my three years of covering teams coached by Irene I saw that.

I asked a player this season about playing for Irene in her last season, and the player said we just “want to make her proud.”

In my opinion, that says a lot about how a team feels about a coach.

So if you do call it a career, good luck. Also, if I was a betting man, I’d bet she’ll at least be in the stands next year cheering on the volleyball team.