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New volleyball coach Case hopes to continue team's success

By Adam Troxtell
On June 29, 2010

Volleyball coach Craig Case will be returning to Division II when he takes the reins of A&M-Commerce's team starting in the fall. He is succeeding Mark Pryor, who coached the Lions to one of their best seasons in recent years last fall. Case said he wants to continue the success brought by Pryor and his players.

"Things are going in the right direction based on the great work Coach Pryor put in," he said. "My goal is to build on that, not implode it and start from scratch. In order for us to have another successful season and sustain that success year in and year out we need to have a team culture that not only promotes success, but also supports it."

During the announcement of the hire on May 20, Athletic Director Carlton Cooper said he felt Case was the right choice.

"We are very excited to have Craig Case join our Lion athletic family," Cooper said. "He brings a wealth of experience and strong national recruiting ties to our program. We were looking for a volleyball coach to take our program to the next level as a nationally recognized program. We have selected the right person by choosing Craig Case to lead our volleyball program."

Case comes to A&M-Commerce after spending four years coaching at Valley City State University in North Dakota. He said coming to Texas was a factor in his acceptance of the job.

"Being in Texas is great and having access to some of the best players in the nation is tough to match," Case said. "It's been interesting to see the flood of emails I've gotten from players throughout Texas who have gotten offers elsewhere, but want to stay closer to home. There is an incredible amount of talent and passion for the game of volleyball here in Texas and I'm excited to have access to that."

Case also said he was impressed with the attitude of the athletic department.

"When interviewing and visiting with Mr. Cooper and [associate athletic director] Judy Sackfield I felt like they were committed to winning," he said. "The best part about that is I felt like they are even more supportive of a great student-athlete experience. Both things are important to me and it's tough to find schools that are supportive of both of them."

Upon arriving for preseason training, Case will bring a new system and way of playing. He admits getting the players used to this new order will be the first hurdle.

"I think the first obstacle we're going to face is for them to buy into the things that I do differently," he said. "I'm confident the players are able to do this, but we'll see how that ends up going."

After this, Case said he plans to build the team to be "good" all around, not in just how they play.

"I think good teams win matches, good teams win titles," he said. "My philosophy is that ‘who' we are is more important than ‘what' we do. Everyone I've met with on the team is equally committed to winning and being successful."

Case and the Lions start this new season against Southern Arkansas on Sept. 3, and they'll be without top players Lauren Flynn and Perla Faudoa after both graduated. While he said this will be a challenge, he is confident his team has the ability to continue building on a good season.

"I'm looking forward to working with this team," Case said. "We have our work cut out for us, but everyone seems both excited and capable of overcoming any obstacles that we might have in front of us."

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