Sports

Mandy Jones takes the helm as South Whidbey volleyball coach

New South Whidbey High School volleyball coach Mandy Jones takes a break with her daughter Grace, 2. - Jeff VanDerford / The Record
New South Whidbey High School volleyball coach Mandy Jones takes a break with her daughter Grace, 2.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford / The Record

She’s been patient and now she has her reward.

Mandy Jones, volleyball coach for the eighth-grade program at Langley Middle School for the past five years, has been named as head coach of the South Whidbey High School Falcon team.

“I’m sad to leave the middle school but this is something I’ve wanted for a long time,” she said.

“The opportunity to build a successful varsity program is a dream come true. I waited until the position opened and I’m ready to go.”

Jones replaces Tim Durbin who resigned to spend more time with his family. Durbin had been commuting to his home in Everett and the ferry hassles were taking a toll.

Last year, Jones’ team had a winning 7-3 record.

“We’re very pleased that Mandy could come on board here at the high school,” said athletic director John Patton.

“She’ll be a great addition to the coaching staff. But we’re going to miss Tim, who did a terrific coaching job the last nine years,” Patton said.

She’s taking over from a position of strength since she knows most of the girls from middle school.

“I know their abilities, their temperaments and what they are capable of doing,” Jones said. “Conversely, they know my coaching style and the level of discipline I insist on.”

She admitted that her approach is to be someone they can talk to, as long as they remember a fine line exists — she’s the coach.

Jones, 31, graduated from South Whidbey in 1994 and attended Green River Community College on a volleyball scholarship.

She took time out to marry and begin raising daughter Grace, now 2. Her goal is to gain her secondary teaching credentials after Grace starts school.

But first, there’s volleyball.

On Saturday, Jones led the team to a volleyball tournament at Coupeville High School against Oak Harbor, Coupeville and Sultan.

Falcon Katie Holt said though the girls won four of five games and placed second, that wasn’t the point.

“The coach wanted to get everyone motivated and working together as a team,” Holt said.

“She loves the game, knows what she’s talking about and all of us are excited to be playing for her in the fall. It’s going to be a good season,” she said.

Jones took lots of notes.

Of paramount importance to Jones is getting up to speed as quickly as possible. To that end, she and junior varsity coach Meggan Lubach are hosting an intense two-day volleyball camp starting at 8:30 a.m. Monday and Tuesday, July 21 and 22 in Erikson Gym.

“Basically, the idea is to get the kids to work at supporting each other while instilling some crucial volleyball skills,” she said. “The high school girls will learn by teaching the younger girls while serving as role models themselves. It’ll be fun mixed in with a lot of hard work.”

Brittany Wood played on that winning middle school team and will be a freshman in September.

“I like her a lot,” she said. “She plays herself so she understands the game and that makes her a good coach.”

In fact, volleyball is one of Jones’ certified passions.

“I’ve loved playing since I was 10 and I’m good at it,” she said.

“And I love working with girls and watching their skill levels grow as they become young women.”

For more information on Jones’ volleyball camp, call 221-8459.

Jeff VanDerford can be reached at 221-5300 or sports@southwhidbeyrecord.com.

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