Calhoun County Class 3A Volleyball Coach of the Year: Watts brought family atmosphere to White Plains
by Brandon Miller
bmiller@annistonstar.com
Dec 18, 2013 | 1627 views |  0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WHITE PLAINS — When Joi Watts took the White Plains volleyball coaching job in mid-July, one of the first things she told her new team is that they’re a family.

“I talked about sticking together,” Watts said. “I think my approach was totally different. The biggest thing I think I set up for the team was we’re a family. Win or lose, we stay together. I wanted them all to understand that was the first thing I wanted to establish.”

Although White Plains didn’t focus on wins or loses this season, it still finished the season 27-14 and the runner-up in Class 3A, Area 10 in the regular season and in the tournament — six points from an area championship. The Wildcats also went to the North Super Regional in Huntsville.

But it was a long trip for White Plains before it reached the postseason.

Watts, The Anniston Star’s Class 3A All-County Coach of the Year, installed new approaches, such as different forms, that took time for the Wildcats to get accustomed to.

“I remember the first game telling them it was all going to be OK,” Watts said. “They were a little hesitant to trust me and some of the things I was saying because it was so different, but I knew that going in. I kept telling them we’d get better and they started believing me.”

Now with a season under her belt as the White Plains coach, Watts plans on continuing to build from the Wildcats’ accomplishments this season, despite having to replace several key players before next year.

“The biggest thing is my focus this year wasn’t about wins, it was establishing that I was their coach,” Watts said. “If they came in and had 10 or 12 kills, I would love them. If they had one, I would still love them.”

Brandon Miller covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575 or follow him on Twitter @bmiller_star
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