Emory coach holds camp for WM Volleyballers
Lady Blue Devils get two days of intense instruction from NCAA championship- caliber staff
WM School District The West Memphis volleyball programs got a huge boost this past week when nationally prominent college coach Jenny McDowell and two of her staff members led a twoday camp at Lehr Arena.
McDowell, the head coach at Emory University, has coached her program to two NCAA Division III national championships, the last of which came in 2018 when McDowell was tabbed as the National Coach of the Year.
McDowell said her connection to Blue Devil head coach Erica Lear led her to West Memphis last week.
'Well, we've known each other almost 20 years,' said McDowell. 'While I was (interim) head coach at the University of Georgia, Erica was playing at the University of
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Photo by Billy Woods VOLLEYBALL (cont.)
Tennessee. I've always admired her as a player and a person and then she coached with us at Emory for a couple of years.
When she asked me if we'd be willing to do this I was so excited because I know she's investing her whole heart and passion into this program.'
McDowell brought with her assistant coach Jona Braden and Briana Jones.
The Lady Devils return several stalwarts from last year's team, including setter Presley Crader, libero Samantha Holt, and hitters Delanie Johnson and T'Nya Burnett.
McDowell and her staff, along with Lear and her staff, including junior high head coach Jeannie Crader, led the high school and junior high teams through new drills, all the while stressing fundamentals.
'Erica is one of the best coaches in the country, so we're just here to share our passion for the game,' said McDowell.
'We just want to collaborate with her. We say at Emory iron sharpens iron, so hopefully some of Erica's coaching will rub off on us as well.'
Since 1996, McDowell has led Emory University to 24 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament, where her teams have advanced to the Sweet 16 20 times.
Photos by Billy Woods