Coach Perdue has decided to coach at Upson-Lee, but not that Coach Perdue. There have been many changes in the Upson-Lee coaching community over last six months, and one of the new coaches coming into the coaching carousel is the new Upson-Lee volleyball coach Monica Perdue.
Coach Perdue comes to Thomaston after last coaching at Shaw High School in Columbus. She is originally from Pine Mountain, where she graduated from Harris County High School. Perdue attended Columbus State University, where she played softball, basketball, and tennis.
Perdue will take over the Lady Knights volleyball program, which will be entering their third year of competition. In the first season, the Lady Knights played a non-region schedule, and last season with a region schedule, the Lady Knights struggled to compete with some of the better teams.
“We’re pretty much starting at the beginning,” said Perdue. “We are working on the basic skills of volleyball, and we have been improving daily. We have a very good freshman group of young ladies coming in, which should bode well for our program. We are headed in the right direction, and in a couple of years we should be able to compete with anyone.”
The Lady Knights will compete in Region 2 this season, along with Veterans, Perry, Howard, Mary Persons, West Laurens, and Baldwin. Last season Veterans went undefeated in region play and finished with an astonishing 38-3 record. According to MaxPreps, no other team in the region had a winning record. Veterans’ season came to an end in the second round of the State Tournament, with a loss to Sandy Creek.
According to Perdue, location has a huge impact on which the level of basketball is played. One reason why Veterans may be so talented, comes from the fact there is a huge Air Force base in Warner Robins, and many people are not from this area.
“Volleyball is in the same position that soccer was in back in the early and mid-90s”, said Perdue. “There are several volleyball club teams in the bigger cities like Atlanta and Columbus, but it hasn’t filtered down to the more rural and smaller towns.”
In order for the Lady Knights to build a successful program, it has to start from the bottom, says Perdue.
“We need to get these young ladies started with volleyball as kids,” explained Perdue. “I would like to see us develop a program at the middle school, even if it’s just an intramural team. If players are coming into high school as freshmen and deciding to play volleyball for the first time, it’s going to be tough to be successful. We need them to have a idea of the fundamentals of the game before they get to the high school level.”
The Lady Knights are currently working towards their season opener on Aug. 14, when they host Eagles Landing in a non-region contest.