E.A. Sports Today

Living the dream

New Donoho volleyball coach Clendenin mindful of the Lady Falcons’ legacy as he embarks on his dream job

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Jamie Clendenin’s idea of a dream job was always being a varsity volleyball head coach, but he thought he was still some time away from realizing it.

He’s not waiting any more. Clendenin, most recently Weaver’s head soccer coach and assistant volleyball coach, has been given the keys to the Donoho volleyball program. He replaces Destinee Briskey, who left for a coaching position at Oxford.

“I’ve wanted to be a varsity coach for some time,” Clendenin, 31, said Monday as he conducted tryouts for his first Donoho volleyball team. “I’ve been coaching for 10 years, so it’s really awesome. I didn’t think this was going to be a reality for a good five or six more years.”

The former Jacksonville soccer player has been a head coach before. He started Weaver’s soccer program two years ago after being released as Oxford’s head coach and also was the Lady Bearcats’ junior high/B team volleyball coach. His volleyball team went 25-7 and finished second in the County Junior High Tournament two years ago.

He also has experience developing players as a club volleyball coach the last three years.

“I’ve been a head soccer coach, so doing that wasn’t anything new for me,” he said. “My drive and my passion has been volleyball for a long time. Coming over here I pretty much said I was giving up soccer just so I could pursue what I wanted to do.”

In getting the Donoho job, Clendenin becomes the coach one coach removed from the legacy of former coach Janice Slay. It’s an old coaching adage that goes you don’t want to be the coach who follows the Coach, but the coach who follows the coach who follows the Coach.

Clendenin certainly fits that bill and won’t have the pressure of immediately following a legend, but he’s also aware of the long-standing legacy he’s charged with preserving. The Lady Falcons missed the state tournament for the first time in 33 years this past season.

“I’ve done my fair share of research, for sure,” he said. “It’s actually pretty exciting to know that this program is … only one state championship behind tying for fourth place. Moving into something like that is exciting.

“I always like people to doubt me. Going to a place like this there are going to be people who think I can’t do it, I can’t follow suit, but that’s where I come in and I try to do my best. It won’t be about me. It’s always going to be about the kids. If they listen and follow suit and do the best they can they’ll be fine.”

Briskey also was the Lady Falcons’ basketball coach. The school expects to have that replacement on board as soon as Tuesday.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login