New Volleyball Coach Aims to Enhance the Teams Capabilities

Coach Austin Craddock Shares His Hopes and Plans for the Ongoing Volleyball Season
Coach Craddock leads his team through practice as they prepare for the upcoming games of the season.
Coach Craddock leads his team through practice as they prepare for the upcoming games of the season.
Photo Credit: Blair Williams

As volleyball season begins, the volleyball team is starting this year with a new coach, Austin Craddock.

Craddock played volleyball in high school and college, competing against D1, D2, D3 and several other types of athletes. However, it was not originally his main focus in college.

“My degree was actually in kinesiology with a concentration in exercise science,” Craddock said. “I originally started out as a nursing major, but eventually lost passion for it.”

Instead of nursing, Craddock’s passion is in volleyball, a sport he has been playing for 11 years now.

“I’m a hyper-competitive individual so volleyball really fueled my passion as an athlete,” Craddock said. “However, stepping onto the side of the court and being the one to teach the game was never something I expected to happen.”

Craddock started coaching as soon as he graduated from high school, working with multiple ages of club volleyball and was the student assistant for the women’s volleyball team at the University of Huntsville.

“Teaching young athletes how to compete and have passion for a fantastic sport has created so much joy for me,” Craddock said. “The memories it creates, the people you meet, the love it gives. It’s unmatched by my other experiences as a human.”

His actual coaching career started with the NASA volleyball club, where he coached for one year. The following year, he joined the United Volleyball Club and has been coaching for five years. Last year, he also helped out at Bob Jones, but did not really coach until he arrived at Sparkman.

“This is my first stint as a high school coach, and I’m very happy to be part of the Senators,” Craddock said.

Craddock is replacing former coach Chandler Phillips, who coached at Sparkman for 2 seasons before leaving, which junior Laila Watkins said her leave made her sad. 

“She was a really good coach, and I didn’t know how it would be with another coach,” Watkins said. “When Coach Austin came he reassured us he was here to stay and he was going to do his best to make this a better program.” 

New volleyball sponsor, Jennifer Brace agreed that Craddock’s passion for volleyball continues with his coaching.

“He’s very passionate about the sport and he works very closely with all of our players, giving them individual feedback so that they can improve,” Brace said. 

The number one goal Craddock discussed with his team this year is to place high in the state tournament, but he also discussed what they needed to do as a team to achieve that.

“Having a winning season, winning area and winning regionals are crucial for us to place well in the state tournament,” Craddock said. “I have full belief in the girls that are representing Sparkman High this year. They are more than capable of having an amazing season, and making some marks on the program.”

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