TALLADEGA – Malik Jones is the new head volleyball for the Talladega College Lady Tornadoes volleyball team. Jones, who was hired in July, is the third head coach TC has hired since the program returned in 2008.

“Being a Tornado was an easy decision for me,” Jones said. “I did four years at Savannah State University. One of my former players was a former head coach here, Rebecca Williams. I am real familiar with the school. We would schedule games and she would come down there and we would come down here and play as well. I live in Atlanta now, so I kind of wanted to be in the Georgia area to be coaching because I love it there since I left Savannah State. Being straight down Interstate 20 to Talladega was an easy decision for me.”

Last season, Talladega College went 11-26 and lost to Xavier in the second round of the Gulf Coast Atlantic Athletic Conference. Jones sees potential in the players who are returning this season.

“I looked at the team from last year and they didn’t do bad,” Jones said.  “I know the type of athletes they have here, the type of athletes that’s here in Alabama and recruiting the type of athletes that they have in the Southeast. We still have a young team. We have a team that consists of four juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen. …  We are excited to get it going.”

Jones said that his team is going to play an exciting brand of volleyball this season. He said if his players give the same type of effort in the game as they do in practice, they will have a successful season.

“We are hoping to be in the top half of the conference,” Jones said. “If everybody come out and plays the way that they are playing at practice and competing at practice, I don’t think that will be a problem for us.”

Jones said he has been impressed with the talent and the leadership that he has seen from a pair of returning players.

“Briel Dawson is fighting for the libero spot right now,” he said. “She is giving me everything I need vocally; she is running around the floor. She is actually one of the floor coaches. When we get down and are having a bad day, she is picking everybody up. Even when I am in the office before practice, she is the one person’s voice that I can hear. Carla Novaes, she is an international player. She came here last year, but she didn’t get to play. She is a 6-foot-1 outside hitter and middle hitter. She is real excited about being on the floor, and she is a heck of a player.”

Jones got his first opportunity to coach volleyball at Savannah State. In three seasons as head coach, Jones posted a 25-60 record. In 2009, he led Savannah State to a school-record 11 wins.

“Coach  Jones is a great addition to the coaching staff at Talladega College,” TC Athletic Director Will Ramos said. “He is knowledgeable about the game of volleyball. He is very well recommended from other athletic directors and players. We are very happy to have him.”

Contact LaVonte Young at lyoung@dailyhome.com.