Mitzi Jones

On Wednesday afternoon, the Southwestern High School volleyball program named Mitzi Jones as their new head coach.

With eight 12th Region titles and 10 regional tourney final appearances in the past in the 13 years, the Lady Warriors volleyball program has been use to success.

And with the hire of Mitzi Jones, the Lady Warriors should continue their volleyball reign over the 12th Region.

"I am really excited to be teaching and coaching here," Jones exclaimed. "Southwestern is known throughout the state for their volleyball culture. It's a winning culture and I hope to be able to continue that and help the girls to be successful on the court on and off the court."

Jones coached volleyball for seven seasons at South Laurel High School – from 2013 to 2019 – with a 13th Region Tournament title, in 2015, to her credit and five 13th Region Tournament championship game appearances. Jones had a combined record of 146-102 while at South Laurel. 

In 2015, Jones' Lady Cardinals not only won the 13th Region title, but won the 50th District title and was undefeated in 13th Region play, and finished with a season record of 30-8. Jones' 2018 Lady Cards posted a 31-7 record.

And on top of her own volleyball coaching success, Mitzi Jones learned from the best. Her parents Kaye Smith and the late Larry Smith started the South Laurel volleyball program and remained there as a coaching duo for nearly a decade, garnering five regional titles, seven district titles and two state tourney Elite Eight finishes. Kaye and Larry Smith finished their volleyball coaching careers with a 302-68 record at South Laurel, and coached the Lady Cardinals' softball team during the same time period.

"My parents were great coaches and had a huge influence on my life," Jones explained. "They coached softball, volleyball, and as long as I can remember they were coaching something. They instilled in me how to be a coach, how to teach the girls to be responsible, and how to help them become strong young ladies for the future." 

Jones was just introduced to her team a few days ago, but hopes to guide the 2021 Lady Warriors team in the right direction with her simple coaching philosophy.

"I just believe in effort and resilience," Jones stated. "If they can put forth the effort, we can learn how to play volleyball and win matches."

Jones follows former Lady Warrior coach Melissa Gaunce, who stepped down after coaching the Lady Warriors for five seasons – highlighted by a 12th Region Volleyball Tournament title in 2018 and an Elite-Eight finish in the 2018 KHSAA State Tournament.

 
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at sports@somerset-kentucky.com. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.

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