Louisiana Tech names McCray head volleyball coach

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Panola College’s Head Volleyball Coach, Amber McCray, has been named the new Head Volleyball Coach at Louisiana Tech University.  She will start her new position in January 2019.

“We are excited for Amber and the opportunity that she has been given by Tech.  We definitely have mixed emotions because she has contributed so much to Panola College and our community, however, it is exciting to know that we watched her grow as a coach and person and mature into the person that she is now, and now has this great opportunity,” said Don Clinton, Vice President of Student Services/Athletic Director.

Coach McCray said, “I am thrilled about the opportunity to become the next head coach of Louisiana Tech Volleyball, but it is also a bittersweet moment knowing what I am leaving behind. I am eternally grateful to Dr. Gregory Powell and Coach Don Clinton for always blessing me with the love and support needed to grow in this field as a head coach, as well as the whole Panola College family for being my home in more ways than one.

“The memories I have made and the relationships formed over my time at Panola are incredibly dear to me, and the best part is knowing they won’t end just because my tenure here is done. There are so many things about Panola College that make this a unique and special place, but what I was able to sell to recruits over all these years and absolutely what I will miss most are the people.

“It has been an absolute honor to lead this program for the past eight years, and I can’t wait to follow all the success I know Fillies Volleyball will continue to have in the future.  It was important to me when exploring the possibilities of the Division I level that I could find a place with a family atmosphere similar to the one I have loved being a part of PC, and Louisiana Tech delivered. I am excited to bring my passion to help revitalize a program I believe is fully capable of reaching new heights with another work family I know and trust will do all they can to help us get there.”

Coach McCray posted a record of 169 wins and 45 losses over the six years at Panola College as the head coach.  She led her teams to two back-to-back National Tournaments in 2016 and 2017, earned NJCAA national ranking each year, made six straight NJCAA Regional playoff berths, and one conference championship. She was selected Region XIV District I Coach of the Year in 2017, and Region XIV Coach of the Year in 2014 and 2016. She had two players earn NJCAA All American honors, 28 All Conference selections, and 19 Academic All-Conference selections.  Off the court her teams excelled in the classroom as she had a 100 percent graduation rate for student-athletes enrolled in Panola for the full four semesters and each of her six teams maintained a GPA of 3.10 or higher each year.

Coach McCray felt that community service was also part of her team responsibility in order to have a winning program and they participated in many events over the six seasons, including:  2011-2018 Head Coach and Board Member of East Texas Juniors (local youth volleyball club); 2018- Mentor at Lifecode Mentoring Program; 2013-2018 Annual Dig Pink Fundraiser benefiting the Side-Out organization for breast cancer awareness; 2013- 2018 Partnership with AYEP (Afterschool Youth Enrichment Program) which includes regular visits to the program, monthly in-season and bi-weekly in off-season; 2018 Veterans Day Dinner; 2017 and 2018 “Read Across America” at Libby Elementary; 2016 Designer Purse Bingo; 2015-2018 Junior Fillies Club (weekly clinics with area youth hosted each spring); Carthage’s Annual Trunk or Treat (2015 and 2017); 2015-2018 Spearheaded Annual Champions for Light Volleyball Clinic to raise funds and awareness for Refuge of Light, an anti-domestic minor sex trafficking organization; 2016 Baskets of Hope fundraiser for Mission Carthage; 2013 and 2014 Spirit of Hope 5K; and the 2013 Salt Walk.

“Panola College is proud of Coach McCray, her accomplishments, and the national recognition she brought us,” said Dr. Gregory Powell, Panola College President. “During her tenure at Panola College she was named Coach of the Year three times and took our Volleyball Team twice to the National Tournament.  Always a class act, we will miss Coach McCray but we are excited for her new opportunity at Louisiana Tech.  Coach McCray will be a Filly Forever, regardless of where her professional opportunities take her.”

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