ECHS hires volleyball coach

Published 3:37 am Monday, June 18, 2007

By By Adam Prestridge
When it comes to aces, spikes and digs, Sarah Watkins knows her stuff.
Watkins' knowledge of volleyball and experience on the court were key factors in Escambia County High School athletic director Kyle Davis recommending her to join the school's coaching staff.
Watkins, who coached last year at Baldwin County High School, will take over the role of head volleyball coach this fall after being hired Monday by the Escambia County School Board.
"I wanted a change," Watkins said. "I'm looking forward to building a program here. I think that volleyball could do very well here; we've got athletes coming out of our ears. I want to help expand on the success of girls basketball. I think that volleyball here could be really competitive and do well, definitely locally and later on down the road on a larger scale, statewide. I think 4A is wide open for another team to start making some waves and I think Escambia County could be that school."
Watkins, 31, who is originally from St. Clair Shores, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, played high school volleyball for Lakeview High School, but excelled on the hardcourt. She received a scholarship to play volleyball for Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Mich. and later transferred to Wayne State University in Detroit where she played volleyball on scholarship. Watkins graduated in 1998 from the University of North Alabama where she also attended on a volleyball scholarship.
Watkins' first-hand knowledge of the game is what caught Davis' eye.
"I think she is a wonderful new hire for us," he said. "We haven't really had somebody who specializes in volleyball for a long time and I think Coach Watkins will be somebody that will come in here and get our program running in the right direction."
Not only has Watkins found success playing volleyball, but she has also succeeded as a coach during her eight-year career.
Last season, Watkins led the Baldwin County Tigers to an area title and qualified for regionals. Prior to last year, she led Daphne High School to two area runner-up titles, which also qualified the school for regional appearance. She has also taught at Alma Bryant High School and taught and coached at schools in Virginia and Arizona.
Watkins' coaching successes also appealed to the administration at ECHS.
"She's coached at some places where they have good volleyball," Davis said. "Anytime you've got somebody who has knowledge of the game come in and teach the kids they're going to be better off, rather than just putting someone there to just be putting them there to have a coach."
Watkins will hold her first practices leading up to tryouts from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. this Monday and Wednesday. Practices will be held every Monday and Wednesday leading up to the season.
"I'm going to start with the basic stuff," Watkins said. "Get them in the gym and see what they can do. I'm going to really stress fundamentals. I'm looking forward to the challenge," Watkins said.
Watkins' classroom duties include teaching ninth-grade world history.

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