WSN volleyball: Blaney replaces HaneyPublished 9:00am Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The W.S. Neal Lady Eagle volleyball team will have their third coach in four years as Jason Blaney has been named the new head coach of the program.
Blaney will take over for Jeff Haney who resigned recently. Haney, who went 16-28 in two years, took over the program in 2011 after Britney Shelly resigned as head volleyball coach at W.S. Neal High School after five seasons.
“It feels great to be the new volleyball head coach,” Blaney said. “I have coached every year during my teaching career, which is seven years of coaching football, wrestling, softball and volleyball. I did some baseball and soccer coaching in New York before I moved down here, but this will be my first head coaching job.”
Blaney said he hopes to keep up the recent success the team has seen under Shelly and Haney.
“Coach Shelly and coach Haney have done amazing things with the volleyball program here at W.S. Neal and I just hope to keep that going,” he said. “I was coach Haney’s assistant volleyball coach last year and am glad that not only are we colleagues but also friends because I will be turning to him a lot during my first year. It also helps that he and I have worked together as I am his assistant for softball also.”
While this will be his first stint as a head coach, Blaney already has some things he wants to accomplish with the team.
“First year we are going to work on hustling and getting into shape,” he said. We need to get into better condition cardio-wise and strength-wise. We have an extremely tough area with Bayside (state champions) and Cottage Hill (state runner-up).T.R. Miller is always a tough match and very athletic. We are not going to lay down for anyone. We are going to fight, and whatever the outcome is, we will leave every match knowing we gave it our all and gave them the fight of their life. I may change up our rotation or alignment but will not know for sure till after we have some practices in the summer. The good thing is the girls all know me. Most of the volleyball players are softball players and the few that are not played last year so they know I mean business. We are going to hustle every point and play as a team.”
Blaney is taking over a team that lost three seniors from the 2012 team.
“We are losing three great seniors in Kaitlin Hadaway, Gracee Dixon and Stephanie Lambert, but I have some girls returning that are going to help out,” Blaney said. “We don’t have dominant height, but I have some height in Jasmine Crook and Jodi Busby. Tiffany Sawyer and Karissa Johnson are great athletes and just need to keep honing on their potential. Tykeria Nolan will be big part of this along with some upcoming JV players like Madison Winchester and Emily Ann Cooper. There are some other JV players from last year that may get a shot. It is all about who wants it the most. There may also be some diamonds in the rough as we just had tryouts Thursday. Of those returning I will have two seniors, so we will be young but we will be athletic and that is great to keep building on. I am very thankful that (athletic director) coach (Doug) Hoehn has given me this opportunity.”
Hoehn said he thought the coaching move was a good move and everyone is happy about it.
“Coach Haney took over when we lost our last coach,” Hoehn said. “He is doing a great job for us in softball and he wants to concentrate on that. Coach Blaney was our assistant and he wanted the opportunity to be the head coach.”
Haney said spending more time with his kids was the main reason in him resigning from volleyball.
“When I stopped coaching football, and started coaching volleyball in 2011, I thought that I would have more free time to spend with my boys,” he said. “Even though the volleyball season is not as long as football, I still found myself in the gym late into the evenings practicing the volleyball team. The free time I thought I was going to have didn’t exist. As much time as I spend away from my children during softball season, I decided that I would resign my position as volleyball coach so that we can enjoy more time together. They will only be young once, and I will have many years in the future to coach various sports.”
Haney said he really enjoyed his two years as volleyball coach.
“It was a great experience and I was blessed with the opportunity to work with some wonderful young ladies,” he said. “I was lucky enough to be a part of a regional playoff appearance in my first season. As a long time football coach, I really didn’t know anything about volleyball when I started. I quickly realized that it is an intense sport that the athletes work extremely hard at. I feel that the volleyball team deserves the same support that all other sports get even though this doesn’t always seem to be the case.”
Haney said he thinks Blaney will step in and do well as head coach.
“I think that coach Blaney will do an outstanding job with the team,” Haney said. “There is no doubt in my mind that they will work hard and he will push to get the best from them. He is beginning his head-coaching career in a very tough area, but I trust that he will do all that he is capable of to be successful. I’m sure that he will have plenty of questions and I will be more than willing to share my knowledge with him. The actual coaching part is the easiest part of being a head coach. I will have some advice for him on the other aspects as he needs it. My biggest piece of advice though is to just do things the way he wants them done, and everything will be fine. When you get too much outside input, things become difficult. I look forward to being able to have some time off in the fall to spend with my sons, and I can’t wait to watch as the next chapter of Eagle volleyball takes shape.”
W.S. Neal’s 2013 volleyball roster will see 10 players on it with two seniors, two juniors, three sophomores and three freshmen.
Jasmine Crook and Tiffany Sawyer will be the two seniors while Jodi Busby and Tykeria Nolan will be the junior players. Karissa Johnson, Emily Ann Cooper and Madison Winchester will be the three sophomores while Haleigh Dubose, Mee Mee Lawson and Dinah Samuel will be the three freshmen.