Rob Grant has been coaching volleyball at Harris County since 1995, starting at the middle school level before moving to the high school and taking over as the Tigers' junior varsity coach.
So, when Gary Johannes resigned his head coaching position to spend more time with his family, it was only logical that Grant would take the next step. Now, he is preparing for his first season as the Tigers' head volleyball coach.
"I've bee coaching at Harris County for a long time," Grant said. "I've coached at every level, starting at the middle school and on up to the high school. Becoming the head coach is just a natural progression."
Grant inherits a Harris County program that went 26-11 last season, finishing second in Area 1-AAAA and advancing to the second round of the state playoffs. The Tigers knocked off Ola in the opening round before falling to Rockdale County in Conyers in the round of 16.
The Tigers have had a strong offseason, finishing second at the Auburn High team camp a few weeks ago. Add in the familiarity that comes with having coached most of the players on the roster, and Grant feels his team is in a good position as it gets ready for this season.
"I've coached this group of seniors since they were in the seventh grade," Grant said. "We won a title as eight-graders, and when they came to the high school, that's when I started coaching at the high school. The girls know what I'm expecting, and I know how they are and what they can do. I don't have to come in and set down any rules or tell them about my coaching style. They know how we're going to play. We're not a tall team. We're a scrappy team. We've never had much height, so we have to scramble and be scrappy."
Grant has a fairly experienced team returning, with seven players back from last year's varsity squad. Six of those seven are seniors, so the Tigers shouldn't be caught off-guard in a big-match environment.
"I think we're going to be strong," Grant said. "This group of seniors has been to the state playoffs every season. They're experienced when it comes to crunch time, and that experience could help us go further. Their experience and their drive will help us to have the same type of success that we've had in the past."
Harris County will be a part of the realigned Area 1-AAAAA with Hardaway, Lee County, Northside and Thomas County Central. One thing that will be different, though, is that only two teams from the area will qualify for the state playoffs instead of four in previous seasons.
"In the last few years, we've been in an area where there's been seven teams and the top four go," Grant said. "In that area, you could stumble a time or two or maybe lose a match early in the area tournament and still go to the state tournament. This year, we're not going to have that luxury to stumble even once. We've got to play our best in all of our area matches."
HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL ROSTERS AND SCHEDULES
BROOKSTONE Roster DS Conner Brooke Dryden; OH/RS Collie Holt; MH Avery Hudson; S Joanna Leger; L Rachel Levy; RS Mary McCormick; OH Caroline Patton; MH Santreece Stephens; MH Mary Ashby Ward; OH Kate Wilson; OH Kristen Young Schedule August 18, Locust Grove/Strong Rock Tournament, 8 a.m.; 21, Carver, 4:30 p.m., Harris County, 6:30 p.m.; 28, Callaway 6 p.m./Harris County 7 p.m.; 30, at LaGrange, 4 p.m., Newnan, 5 p.m. September 4 at Troup County, 6 p.m.; 11, at First Pres. Macon; Central Talbotton, 4:30/Greenville, 5:30 p.m./FPD, 6:30 p.m.; 13 at Callaway, 5:30 p.m.; 15 at Darlington (tournament), 8 a.m.; 17, Hardaway, 4:30 p.m./LaGrange, 6:30 p.m.; 20 at Shaw, 4:30 p.m./Northside, 5:30 p.m.; 22 at Central, Phenix City (tournament), 9 a.m.; 25 Quitman, 4:30 p.m./Randolph, 5:30 p.m. October 2, Carver, 4:30 p.m./Troup, 6:30 p.m.; 3, at Hardaway, 4:30 p.m.; 4, Northside, 6 p.m.
CALVARY CHRISTIAN Roster MB, Mary McCarty; DS Diana Hitesan; S Leslie Dupree; OH Brittney Bruce; DS Katie Shannon; Lyndi Brown, Kelyn Hammonds, Brittney Bruce, Katie Shannon, Alexis Johnson, Tessa Burns, Emma Evans, Organ Osborne. Schedule August 21, Trinity Christian, 6 p.m.; 23, Ballard Christian, 7 p.m.; 28, The Heritage School, 6 p.m.; 30, at Mount De Sales, 6 p.m. September 4, Oak Mountain, 5:30; 11, at Ballard, 7 p.m. EST); 14-15, August Prep Tournament at Augusta, TBA; 18, at The Heritage School, 6 p.m.; 20, Griffin Christian, 6 p.m.; 25, Stratford Academy, 6 p.m.; 27, at Trinity Christian, 6 p.m. October 4, at Stratford Academy, 5:30 p.m.; 5, at Oak Mountain, 5 p.m.; 16, Mount De Sales, 6 p.m.; 18, at Harvester Christian, 6 p.m.
COLUMBUS Roster RS Shardonee Hayes; OH Chandler Barre; L Mikayla Swinson; S/DS LeighEllen McCormick; DS KiAnna Duncan; DS Nancy Hatcher; MB Brianna Gogins; S/RS Madison Fleming; OH Natalie Twyford; RS Brittany Griner; OH/DS Kennedy Smith; MB Michelle Vatral. Schedule August 10-11, at Sequoyah Tournament; 16, Shaw/Harris County, 5 p.m./7 p.m.; 23, at Wesleyan Play Day, 9 a.m.; 21, at Northdate/Rockdale, 6 p.m./7 p.m.; 23, at Woodward/Starrs Mill, 6 p.m./7 p.m.; 30, at Whitewater/Marist, 6 p.m./7 p.m. September 7-8, at Lovett Tournament; 13, at McIntosh/ELCA, 6 p.m./7 p.m.; 15, at St. Pius X Play Day, 9 a.m.; 18, at Troup/Shaw, 6 p.m./7 p.m.; 21-22, at Hoover, Ala. Tournament; 25, Banneker/Fayette/Lagrante; 5 p.m./6 p.m./7 p.m.; 27, at Starrs Mill/OLM, 6 p.m./7 p.m. October 4, at Sandy Creek, 6 p.m.; 6, at Harrison Play Day, 9 a.m.
GLENWOOD Roster L Whitley Pope; OH Haviland Harden; MH Cailah Niles; S Sarah Kate Smith; OH Elizabeth Perdue; WH Emily Robertson; S Ashley Rice; MH Tamera McClain Schedule August 13, Fort Dale, 5 p.m.; 14, at Lee-Scott, 4:30 p.m.; 16, Hopper, 5 p.m.; 20, at Pike, 4:30 p.m.; 21, Macon-East, 5 p.m.; 23, at Edgewood, 5 p.m. September 4, Pike, 4:30 p.m.; 6, at Hooper, 5 p.m; 11, Eastwood, 5 p.m.; 13, Lee-Scott, 4:30 p.m.; 18, at Evangel, 5 p.m.; 20, Edgewood, 5 p.m.; 25, at Crenshaw, 4:30 p.m.; 27, at Macon-East, 5 p.m. October 2, at Eastwood, 5:30 plm.; 11, at Ashford, 5 p.m.
HARDAWAY Roster Jamila Burgos, Tye-Kerri Tubbs, Courtney Ford, Kayla Futrell, Chakenya Mullins, Brittany Quattlebaum, Zana Raven, Ke Ke Cross, Tierra Dobbins, Haley Harrison, Alexis Kelley, Jada Lisbon, Leeah Mincey, Andrea Pace, Ricki Raven, Claire Costanza, Jazmine Davison, Taylor Harris, Tianna Price. Schedule August 15, Spencer, 5 p.m.; 23, at Russell County, 5 p.m.; 27, at Central, 5 p.m.; 28, at Kendrick, 4:30 p.m. September 4, Lee County, 5 p.m.; 10, Shaw, 4:30 p.m.; 11, Harris County, 4 p.m.; 13, at Northside, 5 p.m.; 17, Kendrick, 4:30 p.m.; 18, at Lee County, 5 p.m.; 20, at Calloway, Upson Lee, 5 p.m.; 22, Central Tournament, TBA; 25, Northside, 5 p.m.; 27, at Harris County, Spencer, 5 p.m. October 2, Central, 5 p.m.; 3, Brookstone, 5 p.m.; 4, Callaway, 5 p.m.
HARRIS COUNTY Roster M Lauren Hendrix; O Sarah Howard; S Mollie Burt; DS Lindsey Hurst; S Emily Koutsky; DS Caitlyn Koutsky; M Katie Blanchard. Schedule August 14, at Northside Warner Robbins, 5 p.m./Houston County, 6 p.m.; 16, at Columbus: Shaw, 6 p.m./Columbus, 7 p.m.; 21, at Brookstone, 5:30 p.m./Carver, 6:30 p.m.; 23, Northgate, 5 p.m.; 28, Callaway, 4:30 p.m. September 5, Shaw, 5:30 p.m.; 6, LaGrange, 4:30 p.m.; 11, at Hardaway, 5:30 p.m.; 13, Lee County, 6 p.m.; 14-15, Darlington in Rome, TBA; 18, at Northside, 5:30 p.m.; 21-22, Ampest Spikefest in Rockdale Co.; TBA; 25 at Lee County, 5 p.m.; 27, Hardaway, 4:30 p.m. KENDRICK Roster Francell Murphy; OH Kahlia Lawrence; S Sierra Porter; Donivan Dyson; OH Margarnique McKissic; OH Angela Jones; Orienya Babauta; OH Melida Jones; Brittany Thompson; S Ashunti Jack; OH Taylor Farley; OH Deja Cheatham; S Melia Jones; Ashton Draper. Schedule August 21, at Greenville, 4:30 p.m.; 28, Hardaway, 4:30 p.m.; 30, Shaw, 4:30 p.m. September 4, at Spencer, 4:30 p.m.; 6, Hardaway, 4:30 p.m.; 7, Jordan, 4:30 p.m.; 11, Carver, 4:30 p.m.; 13, Greenville, 4:30 p.m.; at Jordan, 4:30 p.m.; 14, at Jordan, 4:30 p.m.; 18, Spencer, 4:30 p.m.; 21 at Brooks, 4:30 p.m.; 22, Jamboree at Central, 9 a.m.; 25, at Carver, 4:30 p.m.; 28, at Early, 4:30 p.m. October 4, Shaw, 4:30 p.m.
NORTHSIDE Roster S Carly Smart; OH Lindsay Shiran; RS/OH Arielle Owens; L Katelynn Ellis; DS/S Morganne Harper; DS Kayleigh Hinton; MH Michaela Olafson; MH Christian Bonner; OH Daijah Fullwood; RS Ashley French. Schedule August 16, at Callaway, 5 p.m.; 21, at Warner Robins, 5 p.m.; 23, at Central, Phenix City, 5 p.m.; 28, at Northside, 5 p.m./7 p.m.; 30, at Callaway, 5 p.m. September 8, Varsity Playdate at Vetereans, begins 9 a.m.; 11, at Lee County, 5 p.m.; 13, Hardaway, 5 p.m.; 18, Harris County, 5 p.m.; 20, at Shaw, 5 p.m.; 25, at Hardaway; 27, Lee County, 5 p.m. October 4, at Brookstone, 5 p.m.
SHAW Roster OH Nia Minnigan; S Bailey Couty; M Lindsey Thomas; M Ayreon Oliver; RS/M Toni McFarland; L Talie Hammond; DS Angelica Fedrick; DS Victoria Tarver; OH Ebone Cobb; DS Kandace Williams Schedule August 16, at Columbus High, 5 p.m.; 18, at Locust Grove, TBA; 23, Russell Co., 5 p.m.; 27, Smith Station, 4:30 p.m.; 28, at Northside, 5 p.m.; 30, at Kendrick, 4:30 p.m. September 5, at Harris County, 5 p.m.; 6, Carrolton, 5 p.m.; 10; at Hardaway, 4:30 p.m.; 11, Regionals; 13, at Russell County, 5 p.m.; 15, Playdate TBA at Smith Station; 18, Regionals at Sandy Creek; 20, Northside, 4:30 p.m. October 4, at Kendrick, 4:30 p.m. No rosters or schedules available for Carver, Spencer, Jordan, Russell Co. and Smiths Station..