LONDON -- A familiar face will be taking over as the new volleyball coach at South Laurel High School.
Jamie Clark will take over a Lady Cardinal squad that posted a 14-23 record this past season while catching fire during postseason play, and finishing as 13th Region runners-up.
Clark said having the opportunity to take over the South Laurel High School volleyball program is a big step for himself, and for his family.
"As with all new phases in life and careers, I am a little nervous, but definitely more excited about the opportunity than anything," he said. "South Laurel is steeped in tradition and success, so I'm just hoping to take my place and continue on with that legacy.
"I have been following the South Laurel High School program since it first started under the guidance of Kaye and Larry Smith and had the opportunity to serve a couple of years as freshman coach under the Smiths nearly 10 years ago," he added. "I actually left the freshman position at the high school to help start up the middle school program. Of the last eight years, I was head coach at South Laurel Middle School for six of them. This program has always been near and dear to my heart, and I've been a huge fan of the team since the beginning of the program. To say this is an awesome opportunity is an understatement, and I hope to live up to the program's expectations."
Clark said despite not having a chance to schedule tryouts yet, his team will have to replace five seniors off last year's squad.
"There are a few juniors returning to join the senior ranks this season, so we will still have quite a bit of experience and game knowledge on the floor," he said. "Having just completed our first official meeting of the season, I was pleasantly surprised at the number of players that attended with interest in the program. I've coached the majority of these girls at some point throughout their careers on the volleyball court either at the middle school or at the Optimist Club. These girls are a young, talented group and are very eager to get started."
Clark's goals are just like any other coach in the state. He wants his team to be successful and compete for the district, region and state crowns, but he also wants more.
"I want these girls to really develop a love for this great game and for each season to be the best season ever," he said. "Everybody wants to win, and I'm no different, but there are so many other benefits to being part of a program like this. I hope they develop lifelong friendships, learn a few life lessons, and use volleyball as an opportunity to move on to the next chapter of their lives.
"I am just very thankful for this opportunity granted by the administrative staff at South Laurel High School," Clark added. "Being able to teach and coach these kids in our county is an absolute blessing. God is good."