A new coaching challenge

Published 12:02 am Friday, August 9, 2013

Daniel Rodgers may be no stranger to Straughn, but coaching volleyball is something definitely new to the long-time coach.

About a couple weeks ago, Rodgers was asked by SHS principal John Evers, who is also a coach, to fill the vacant head-coaching position left by former coach Marc Tracy. Tracy is now the head girls volleyball and basketball coach at Fayette County.

“This is my first go at it,” Rodgers, who starts his seventh year at Straughn, said. “I’m nervous, but extremely excited. I’m thankful that coach Evers and (SHS athletic director) coach (Trent) Taylor had the confidence in me to give it a shot.”

Rodgers started his coaching career at Florala, where he stayed on for two years. For the past six years, he’s been coaching baseball at SHS.

With this being a new sport to coach, Rodgers said he’s had a lot of help getting his feet wet.

“I’m learning a lot,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of help from (former volleyball coach) Lori Kinsaul. She started the program at Straughn. She’s been very helpful. Coach Tracy, who left, has been very helpful, too.”

Additionally, the Lady Tigers squad and his assistant coach, Joseph Carter, have been giving some aid as well, Rodgers said.

As far as the season outlook, the Lady Tigers have a lot of experienced talent coming back in 2013.

Rodgers said SHS has a strong group of seniors and juniors who can provide good leadership this year.

“This team has the potential to have a great season,” he said. “I’ve really loved their attitude so far. They’re giving it all they’ve got.

“They’ve been self accountable, which is crucial to have a succesful year,” he said. “It’s still early, though.”

While the team may have goals of its own, Rodgers said on a personal level, that he just wants to get better at coaching this new sport.

“I want to let people know that I’m giving it all I’ve got,” he said. “I want to see this team make a run in the area. I would love to see the team go to regionals and do well, and hopefully, we’ll have a shot at the state tournament.”

More importantly, Rodgers said he hopes to continue the strong tradition that’s been left at SHS.

“I hope to build upon the foundation that (the former coaches have) left,” he said.

When Rodgers isn’t coaching, he’s teaching 12th grade math, which includes pre-calculus and algebraic connections.

Straughn starts its season on Thurs., Aug. 29, at Elba. The junior varsity squad will play first at 4 p.m. followed by the varsity girls.