By Denis House
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
When the South Laurel Lady Cardinals volleyball team takes to the court this season, they will do so under a new head coach as Mitzi Jones has been hired to take over for Fawn Greer, who resigned last month.
Jones is no stranger to volleyball. Her parents, Kaye and Larry Smith, were the first volleyball coaches at South Laurel. She has also been assistant volleyball coach at South for the past three years.
“I applied for the head coaching job because of my love of the sport and I want to continue to build upon a wonderful program that has been established here at South,” Jones said. “I am very excited to be given this opportunity.”
When Jones was a student in high school volleyball wasn’t an option. It wasn’t offered at South Laurel until 2000. But she said watching her parents coach all those years has taught her several things.
“I have learned many things from watching them coach that I hope to use as a head coach,” Jones said. “They taught me that it takes hard work and dedication to build a program. They also instilled in me at a young age that nothing in life is given to you and that you have to work for it.”
During her parents coaching tenure at South Laurel, the Lady Cards went 302-68 with five trips to the state tournament, two Elite 8 appearances, seven district titles and five region titles. During Greer’s three years as head coach, South went 64-35 with one district and one region title. Jones said she isn’t intimidated by the volleyball tradition at South Laurel.
“I don’t find South’s strong tradition in volleyball intimidating,” Jones said. “I find it a challenge. I am thrilled with such a tradition and I want to continue that tradition. My parents helped build a solid foundation and I want to continue building on that.”
Besides being assistant volleyball coach for the past three years, Jones has also been the head middle school softball coach for four years.
“My goals as coach are to prepare the girls for life, not just to help them be better volleyball players,” Jones said. “Many life lessons can be learned on the court, such as responsibility, teamwork, patience, how to handle adversity, and hard word, just to name a few. The long term goals I have for this program are to win district and region and advance to state consistently. This year, my goals are the same. This season is going to be a rebuilding season as all six starters last year were seniors. So in order to reach those goals, we are going to have to be fundamentally sound and work hard as a team.”