Lady Braves netters fill coaching void
By Jonathan Bym
Asst. Sports Editor
August 30, 2012
|Photo by Hillary Akers
|Byrd, center left, looks to continue UNCP's success from last year. Throughout preseason practice, the coaching staff has liked what they have seen in the Black and Gold.
Angie Byrd was named the eighth volleyball head coach in the history of the program as a result of the resignation of previous head coach Jeff Billington.
Byrd has had two previous head coaching stops on the Junior College level at Northwest Shoals Community College (Ala.) and Seminole State College (Okla.). While there she totaled a 214-74 record.
As a player at the University of North Alabama, Byrd was a force at the net as she was at the top of the nation in blocks during her senior year.
After a third place finish in the conference last season, Byrd is looking to continue to add on the success as her goal is to finish as one of the top two teams in the conference.
"I like coming into [the season] not feeling pressured, just doing the best that we can and taking the program further and further every year," Byrd said about how she feels entering her first season on the sidelines for the Black and Gold.
Recruiting is where Byrd feels she can greatly help out the program.
"We can bring in some transfer players, so they can bring experience to the program," Byrd said about her large recruiting base on the Junior College level.
An upperclassman-stocked roster will help add experience to the Lady Braves squad.
Junior libero Marissa Baker, senior middle hitter Shay Peterson and senior setter Ashlyn Rebok were players that have already impressed Byrd so far in her short time practicing with the team.
"Marissa [Baker] was our top returning defensive player, but we have actually tried to convert her to a hitter so she's doing a really good job with that," Byrd added.
As a former student-athlete herself, Byrd has tried to give her team helpful tips on balancing life both on and off the court.
"Being a student first, and then hard work, you can achieve anything you set your mind to" is just some of the advice Byrd has given to the team in the last three weeks since coming to Pembroke.
Byrd has also looked to instill a hard working and a lack of laziness attitude in the Black and Gold as she stated "just because you're talented doesn't mean it's gonna be easy."
Entering this season, Byrd and her staff feel blind without any film or scouting reports on their opponents,
with their only knowledge coming from what the players can provide them.
"We are adjusting pretty well," Byrd said. "We've been working pretty hard to get a lot of things caught up only being here a short period of time."
Coming to UNCP has been a "good career move," Byrd said. Closeness to family and career advancement are some of the main reasons for choosing Pembroke.
Alongside Byrd, Amanda Friday will take over the assistant coach position.
Friday had successful careers at Tennessee and Virginia Commonwealth, adding two Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll laurels to her résumé during her time in Knoxville.
Byrd has an optimistic view on the season: " We do have our work cut out for us, but I have a feeling we will rise to the challenge."