By Josh Brown, Sports Editor
Union’s search for a new volleyball head coach ended April 18 when the university announced Christy Mooberry will take over the reins of the Lady Bulldogs volleyball team.
Tommy Sadler, Union University director of athletics, said several factors set Mooberry apart from other applicants.
“Coach Mooberry has been successful at every level she has coached,” Sadler said. “She has a great desire to teach the game of volleyball. She also has a great heart for mentoring young women in their spiritual walk and helping student-athletes reach their goal of a university degree. We are excited to have her lead our volleyball program.”
Mooberry comes to Union after coaching the last four seasons at Montreat College (N.C). She led the Cavaliers volleyball team to at least 25 wins in each of her last three seasons at Montreat. In 2011, Montreat’s volleyball team won the Appalachian Athletic Conference Tournament Championship and also made it to the opening round of the NAIA National Tournament under Mooberry.
Mooberry was hired after Union’s former head coach Kelly Elliott announced her resignation in late February. Elliott resigned because she felt the time commitment of being the head coach and teaching placed too many constraints on her role with her family and affected her health.
Sadler said the move to NCAA Division II next season also had an impact on Elliott’s decision because of longer road trips for away games in the Gulf South Conference that would keep her away from her family more often.
“We are very grateful for the work coach Elliott did with our volleyball team and the quality student-athletes she recruited for our program,” Sadler said.
Mooberry takes over the head coaching position at Union after a 2011 season in which the Lady Bulldogs finished with an overall record of 15-21 and a 7-6 conference record. She said she has transitioned into the new head coach role as quickly as possible and is focusing on recruiting for the 2012 season.
Mooberry said the Union community also has been helpful in the transition to moving to Jackson while she searches for a new home.
“Anytime you transition somewhere it is a challenge,” Mooberry said. “I am living in married housing until I can find something here, so that has been a little hectic.”
Mooberry said another challenge of assuming a new coaching role is getting to know the players on her new team. She has only had a handful of practices with the team but said she has already seen the “energy” the players have.
Mooberry said the team has strong players and can tell they have a strong work ethic as well.
Next season, the Lady Bulldogs will play their first season in the Gulf South Conference
of the NCAA Division II. Mooberry said team chemistry will be a major focus going into the 2012 season.
“Team chemistry really plays a role in how hard the (players) work for each other,” Mooberry said. “I really want it to be about each other rather than self.”