ALEXANDRIA, IN – The Alexandria School Board confirmed Monday night that Jeff Harmon will be the new Head Volleyball Coach for the Alexandria Lady Tigers affective immediately. Harmon had a lot of success during his first term running the program, and hopes to either duplicate or improve upon that success this time around as the team looks to capture their first ever sectional title. Harmon will replace Ashley Pierce who stepped down following the 2012 campaign for personal reasons. Pierce went 102-41 in four seasons running the program.
Harmon began his career as an assistant with the Alexandria program several years ago, before he became the team’s top inspirational leader and decision maker. Harmon was the head coach for four seasons (2005 – 2008) and now he will attempt to pick back up where he left off. The coach has never been far from the program always offering to do what he could to help the team or the players, and his love for the game cannot be questioned. “People coach for a lot of different reasons,” Harmon said, “but I do it because I love the game. I love watching the kids improve, and seeing the light go off in a player when they finally ‘get’ what it is you have been trying to teach them. There is no better feeling.”
In each of his four previous seasons atop the program, the Lady Tigers won 26+ games and were consistently ranked in the Top 10. Those teams won four consecutive Union-Modoc Invitational Championships, four consecutive Madison County Championships and one Central Indiana Conference Title. The one thing that eluded the coach was a sectional championship, but that is almost understandable when you look at sectional Alexandria played in for over 15 years. “I remember one year we entered the sectional ranked No. 3,” Harmon commented. “Unfortunately, Muncie Burris was in there and ranked No. 1 and Wapahani was also in the same sectional and ranked No. 2.” Those two teams have combined to win the last 17 State Titles for Class 2A Volleyball.
“I am so excited for the opportunity to return to coaching, and to try and lead this team to that next level,” he said. “It is going to take a lot of hard work and dedication from both the players and the coaching staff, but I think we have a very good chance to get it done if we all work together.” Harmon added that he plans to surround himself with several knowledgeable coaches who will always be able to talk with him and share what they see. “Sometimes the others might see something I am missing,” he said. “It is always better to have some extra sets of eyes watching the action.”
“As far as practices go, I am a scrimmage type of coach,” said Harmon. “I like to scrimmage a lot, and also due a lot of scenario type scrimmages. I do not want to get into a game and then have the players dealing with game situations that we have not already gone over in practice.” He also shared that in addition to drills the girls have done in the past that he has found a lot of new practice drills that will be designed to push the girls to go beyond even what they think they might be capable of. “I believe the girls will give me everything they have,” he said, “and I can guarantee they will get everything I have, and I will do anything for them.” Harmon still travels to watch some of his former players play ball at the collegiate level.
Tradition is something that Harmon is proud of, and he believes the Lady Tiger program was built on tradition a long time ago and he just hopes he can continue that winning tradition this time around. The coach shared that believes the powerhouse that is Alexandria Volleyball all began with Coach Stephanie Decker several years ago. “I think they may have won one game in her first season, went .500 in her second, and have been consistently ranked ever since,” he said. “I am going to do my best to try and get her to come back and offer any assistance she can,” he said. “Even if she can only help every now and then, it would be great to have her back and to share her knowledge of the game.”
“Alexandria Volleyball is steeped in tradition,” Harmon said. “I will work extremely hard every day to uphold the tradition of excellence that all of the previous coaches established and that this community expects.”
Over the last 10+ seasons, the Lady Tiger Volleyball Team has been by far the most dominant and winning program in Alexandria. Now the time has come for them to put tradition aside and go out and take what they believe is theirs and that would be the elusive Sectional Crown.
“The future for this team is now. We have some very good returning talent, as well as almost returning the entire starting six,” expressed Harmon. “Our varsity goals will be simple early and that will be to bring home more Union-Modoc, Conference and County Championships. After that, this team is capable capturing the school’s first ever Sectional Title and maybe even more beyond that. I think we have the tools to do that immediately, but it will take a lot of hard work by everyone involved.”