Entering the 2012 season with high expectations, the Warren County High School volleyball team got some added instruction this week as Tennessee Tech coach John Blair visited Charlie Dalton Gym to teach a three-day camp.
For the eighth straight year, coach Franklin Fisher invited coach Blair to Warren County to work with the high school and middle school volleyball teams.
Blair brings with him over 20 years of coaching experience. Blair spent 15 years coaching at Ole Miss before taking the head coaching job at Tech seven years ago.
During his tenure at Tennessee Tech, Blair led the Golden Eagles to their second OVC championship in school history.
Blair was an All-SEC performer at the University of Tennessee as a player.
Coach Fisher is happy to have Blair’s expertise as his team works toward the beginning of the regular season.
“We are very fortunate to have a coach the caliber of John Blair to come work with our players,” said Fisher. ”He gives the players reinforcement of concepts they’ve already been taught, but it gives me and the players new information and a different perspective of how to handle the offense and defense.”
For the six seniors on the Lady Pioneers, it is the fourth year working with coach Blair during the summer.
Senior Kaitlin Lawrence, a two-time All District 6-AAA performer, thinks the week with coach Blair gives Warren County valuable insight entering the season.
“It’s been fun the last four years getting to learn from coach Blair,” said Lawrence. “It’s something I’ll miss next year. It’s a good bonding experience for our team and a chance to incorporate and learn playing with the new girls.”
Along with working with coach Blair, the Lady Pioneers were joined by Chattanooga Arts and Sciences for the fourth straight summer.
Chattanooga Arts and Sciences began attending the camp held by the Tennessee Tech coach when WCHS alumni Brandon Lowry took over the CSAS volleyball program in 2008.
Although Lowry left the program in the spring, CSAS remained a fixture at this year’s camp.
Working with another team can only serve to help the Lady Pioneers, who enter 2012 looking to end Cookeville’s reign as District 6-AAA champions.
The Lady Cavaliers are undefeated in district play the past three years, but with six seniors back the Lady Pioneers are primed to challenge for the title.
Seniors Lawrence, Blair Fisher, Megan Dishman and Caroline McKinley return to give the Lady Pioneers four All-District 6-AAA performers in the starting lineup. Seniors Karaline Deaton and Emily Newman are hoping to make a splash this season while filling the vacant spots Holly Morgan, Maggie Schaper and Chelsea Cope left after graduating.
Last season, the Lady Pioneers won 32 games, second most in team history, and finished second in both the District 6-AAA regular season and tournament. The team also advanced to the regional tournament for the second straight season.
Camp will wrap up today at Charlie Dalton Gym before scrimmages begin Thursday.
Warren County will play CSAS, Tullahoma and Coffee County at home as the teams prepare for the start of the season.
The Lady Pioneers will open their season with the Chattanooga Choo Choo playday Saturday, August 4.