Originally created 08/25/06

Jaguars coach settles into job



Amber Glass knows a thing or two about impeccable timing.

Every college graduate should be so fortunate.

Mere months after receiving her degree, she found her dream job staring her in the face.

"I knew exactly what I wanted," she said. "And it fell in my lap. I'm very thankful, very grateful."

Glass became the Augusta State head volleyball coach last July, nine months after playing her final match for USC Upstate. She replaced Tess Gresham, who resigned last June.

The summer departure meant little time for Augusta State to perform an all-out search. And it gave Glass little time to prepare for the upcoming season.

With a full year on the job, Glass is back to prove she's the person to lead the Lady Jaguars out of mediocrity.

The 2006 season begins today when the Lady Jaguars take on Salem International in the Trojan Invitational in Anderson, S.C.

"We want to take one more notch up the Peach Belt," she said. "We want to make Augusta State a competitive program again."

Glass can back up those words with her list of credentials. Not only was she a solid player at USC Upstate, she's coached a junior Olympic volleyball development team in her hometown of Spartanburg, S.C.

Her rsum, along with the degree in sports administration she received in May, led to an offer as an assistant coach.

Before she took it, she logged onto the NCAA Web site at the last moment and found a better opportunity two hours from home.

Augusta State athletic director Clint Bryant was impressed enough to hire Glass - albeit on an interim basis. Bryant soon awarded her the job full time, despite the 6-27 record.

"I liked the way she handled the team. I liked the way she ran practices," he said. "She proved early on her ability to make contacts."

The fact the team finished with six victories is a credit to Glass. The Lady Jaguars won just two matches the previous season.

Best of all, this season Glass knows her job is secure.

"Last year," she said, "I was just trying to prove myself."

Reach Chris Gay at (706) 823-3645 or chris.gay@augustachronicle.com.

AUGUSTA STATE


Coach: Amber Glass, second year


Last year: Lady Jaguars went 6-27 and finished sixth in the Peach Belt Conference.


Team stars: Setter Jessica Lowes and outside hitter Sarah Lobstein return to lead a young squad with eight of 13 underclassmen.


The big picture: Glass gets more of a chance to put her stamp on the program after coming in late last year. Though the Lady Jaguars are picked to finish last in the preseason conference coaches poll, they should be able to eclipse last year's win total.


Important matches: vs. USC Aiken, Sept. 20; vs. Paine, Oct. 4


PAINE COLLEGE


Coach: Zack Howard (interim), Selina Kohn


Last year: Lady Lions went 35-4 and finished second in the SIAC behind Albany State.


Team stars: Setter Stephanie Reed is an SIAC All-Conference first-team preseason selection. Ala'Toya Cranford and Bianca Starks were named to the second team.


The big picture: The Lady Lions are picked to finish fourth in the five-team East Division. Howard fills in for Kohn, who is out on maternity leave through October.


Important matches: at Albany State, Sept. 15; at Augusta State, Oct. 4; vs. Albany State, Oct. 9


USC Aiken


Coach: Will Condon, seventh season


Last year: Lady Pacers went 16-14 and finished fourth in the Peach Belt.


Team stars: All-Conference middle hitter Mandy Gerolstein returns, along with middle hitter Laura Williams and setter Missy Deardorff.


The big picture: USC Aiken is picked to finish third in the preseason conference coaches poll. The Lady Pacers will most likely finish there if they fail to upset Armstrong Atlantic State or USC Upstate.


Important matches: vs. Armstrong Atlantic State, Sept. 16; at Augusta State, Sept. 20; vs. USC Upstate, Sept. 28