Davis brings experience, familiarity to the program.
Their coach might be leaving, but Cardinal Mooney volleyball players have no worries about staying one of the state's elite programs.
On Friday, the Cougars announced Chad Davis would be the school's next volleyball coach, taking over for Chad Sutton, who stepped down to pursue a volunteer position with Purdue University.
Davis was previously the program's assistant coach the last two seasons, but he is no ordinary internal hire. Before coming to Mooney, Davis was an assistant coach at Quinnipiac University, and coached at P.K. Yonge High in Gainesville. Davis led P.K. Yonge to an 89-5 record in three seasons, including two state championships and a top-five national ranking by MaxPreps and PrepVolleyball in 2015.
"There's a high level of expectations here," Davis said. "The good news is I currently coach a lot of the returnees in club volleyball (with Siesta Key Juniors). I have personal experiences with winning state championships, so that's the goal. That's what the mindset of the program will be."
Davis said it was an interesting experience being a high school assistant after running his own successful program. You're always learning, Davis said, but you also make notes about what you might do differently if you were in charge.
Now that Davis is running things, he said, he plans some tactical changes — though he is mum on the specifics — as well as some changes in how the team conducts practice. In his mind, he said, he's already planning the team's fall schedule.
"We want to hit the ground running," Davis said.
Davis will also oversee the school's beach volleyball program, which will begin in the spring. Davis said one of his goals is to expand the beach program, making it even more of an emphasis than it has been the last few seasons. Davis said he sees it as an advantage the program has over other schools, as participating in beach helps indoor players with their shot making, ball control and defensive skills.
Davis inherits a roster full of talent. The Cougars went 19-9 in 2020 despite losing key players from its Class 3A state championship in 2019. That includes Jordyn Byrd, a sophomore who had 315 kills last season, and Lola Buck-Taylor, a freshman libero who led the team with 386 digs.
"I'm looking forward to building something long-term here," Davis said. "We're going to put together a great staff. The kids come first, and we're going to teach them as a collective. We want to continue the great success we've had and hopefully take it up another notch."