Corvallis High School volleyball coach Laurie Jones is the Class A Volleyball Coach of the Year for 2019.
Jones, in first year as the head varsity coach, led her players to the state A championship.
Being Coach of the Year "is a cherry on top of the championship we got as a team,” Jones said. “If I had to pick one, I would put the championship over Coach of the Year because that incorporates all the players, parents and community. Getting this shout-out is nice also.”
Jones graduated from CHS in 2005 after playing volleyball for the Blue Devils, and was all-conference. She served as assistant coach for 11 years, one year under Scott Warren and 10 years under Kasey Arceniega. This was year 12 of coaching volleyball for CHS, where most of the girls on the team had her as assistant coach.
Jones said that looking back on the beginning of the volleyball season, she may have tried to incorporate too many changes. But she stayed open to player feedback, which remained positive.
“They were sponges and after the first month things started to take hold and click,” Jones said. “I was just doing the best I could and pushing them as hard as I could with in realistic boundaries. Being able to look back and say it was all worth it and that it all worked was the reward. I broke down at state and was crying like a baby.”
Jones said she enjoyed the support of her assistant coaches, Jessica Lewis and Kelsey Irwin, whom she coached as Blue Devil volleyball players.
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“It’s cool because it came full circle,” Jones said. “It makes me feel older, but it is cool.”
Jones works at DeVries Real Estate in Hamilton.
“I’m able to do both,” Jones said. “Any job I’ve ever had, I needed to make sure they could let me coach because coaching is a passion of mine. You’ve got to make room for your passions.”
CHS Principal Cammie Knapp said the coaches and team had one goal the entire season and that was to win against Billings Central. “That fruition came to light when they played in the rival match on Friday night. They kept winning point by point and working consistently together as a team,” Knapp said. “They came out to win at the State Class A Tournament and Laurie kept them focused on that goal.”
Montana Coaches Association President Brian Campbell said the recipients of the MCA Coach of the Year awards represent the Montana coaching community as a whole.
“They are hard-working, willing to give time to their student-athletes and overall represent Montana athletics in a positive way,” Campbell said. “They are selected by a vote of their peers.”
The Montana Coaches Association Coach of the Year award winners for the fall of 2019 will be recognized at an awards ceremony held during the annual MCA Coaches' Clinic at 11:30 a.m. on July 30 at CMR High School in Great Falls.
For more information, visit the MCA website www.montanacoaches.com.