Volleyball has been a big part of Lyndsey Barker Mullins' life, which is something that Cedar Bluff principal Rusty Thrasher already knew from his days at Pleasant Valley.
When it came time for him to fill the Lady Tigers' head coaching vacancy, he decided to give Mullins a call.
"He just called and asked me if I was interested in coaching, and I said yes, so here we are," said Mullins, who was officially hired at Cedar Bluff on Tuesday evening. "He is Coach Thrasher to me, so it's going to take me a while to get used to that. He coached at my alma mater, which was Pleasant Valley. I played under Sandy Hunter at Pleasant Valley, so I guess he just knew my volleyball background playing under her."
Mullins graduated from Pleasant Valley in 2002, but her background with volleyball doesn't stop there. After earning her degree in education from Jacksonville State University in 2009, Mullins coached on the junior high level and was an assistant on the varsity team for head coach Janice Slay at Donoho before moving on in 2015.
While at Donoho, Mullins helped guide the Falcons to a Calhoun County championship and she was an assistant on two Class 1A state title teams (2011 and 2012).
Thrasher feels fortunate to have hired someone the caliber of Mullins on Cedar Bluff's staff.
"I feel that Cedar Bluff has hired a great coach, one who will continue to build our program into one of the best in (Class) 1A," Thrasher said. "She played high school volleyball for Sandy Hunter at Pleasant Valley and also coached with Janice Slay at Donoho, and they are two of the best coaches to have ever coached in the state of Alabama. I'm very excited to have Coach Mullins join our staff here at Cedar Bluff."
Mullins said she's nervous, but excited to helm her own varsity program.
"I think if I just get started then the nerves will go away," she said. "I'm excited to meet with the girls and build on what has already been developed. We're definitely going to have to hit the ground running. Next week is out (due to All-Star Sports Week), so I've lost another week (practicing). Next week will be more about getting to know them and them getting to know me, what I expect, what our goals are as a team, where we are, where we're going and how we're going to get there."
One of the things Mullins said has helped her throughout her career is her teams being focused on the fundamentals. That's something she plans on continuing with the Lady Tigers, who went 21-23 with an appearance in the North Regional Tournament in Huntsville. Ironically, Cedar Bluff's season ended last year against Donoho in four games.
"I think if we're a fundamental, sound team, then we're going to be a good volleyball team," Mullins said. "That's one thing I'm going to focus on. I haven't seen the girls yet, so I don't know where we are, but I do know they've been pretty competitive. I think they only lost one starter (Kiana Dobbins) from last year. I'm expecting to step in and build on what has already been developed."
Cedar Bluff is scheduled to open the 2017 volleyball season on Aug. 31 with a tri-match against Collinsville and Pepperell of Georgia.
In other Cedar Bluff coaching news, Thrasher confirmed that Mandy Walker will continue on as head coach of the Lady Tigers' varsity softball team. Walker guided Cedar Bluff to an 18-24 record last season, including its third consecutive berth in the North Regional Tournament in Huntsville.