VALDOSTA -- The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Robbie Cameron-Spires is still an athletic department administrator for a University System of Georgia school which competes in the Gulf South Conference and NCAA's Division II.

The difference? She's now at Valdosta State, instead of West Georgia. She's no longer coaching. And she's married.

"It's been a whirlwind," said Valdosta State's new senior women's administrator. In a month, she was married, honeymooned, finished work at West Georgia, visited her parents at Christmas, moved and began work at Valdosta State.

And on Day 1 in South Georgia? "I was fielding eight or nine questions," said Cameron-Spires.

Her move to Valdosta State was a long time coming. Athletic director Herb Reinhard was able to create the position when the new budget went into effect July 1.

Previously, a number of coaches had handled Cameron-Spires' duties -- including compliance and academics -- in addition to coaching.

"It's been a position I've wanted here at least for four or five years, someone without the coaching responsibilities," Reinhard said. When volleyball coach Paul Cantrell, who had also monitored academic progress for VSU student-athletes, left last spring, "it pushed me to go ahead and get this online.

"I've known Robbie for a number of years. I've respected the job she's done at West Georgia," said Reinhard. The two spoke at the summer Gulf South Conference meetings, "and it became apparent very quickly it could work out well."

Cameron-Spires was hired on one condition -- that she coach one last volleyball season at West Georgia. That included two matches against her future employer and her former graduate assistant, Jon Teetzel. VSU won both matches.

Then, a week into her VSU employment, she watched as the schools met in basketball.

"Coaching down here this (volleyball) season was more difficult," said Cameron-Spires. When the basketball games were played, "I'd already got my feet wet here. I considered myself part of the Blazer program.

"But I was harassed both ways."

The Moulton, Ala., native had been at West Georgia the past 14 years. At one time she also coached softball.

In her new job, she's no longer on a bench.

"I don't miss it yet, but I'm sure I probably will," she said. "I'll miss the day-to-day teaching, but not the travel."

In her new job she wears many hats, and her duties aren't confined to working with the five women's sports.

She'll work with department's personnel to comply with NCAA and Gulf South Conference rules.

"Coaches don't have time to stop and go through the rule book," she said. "We have such a high-profile program here. I'm here to dot all the I's and cross all the T's."

She'll also head up the department's academic services, tracking student-athletes' progresses, hiring tutors and working as a liaison between coaches and professors.

"I'll be a person who is behind the scenes, making things happen," Cameron-Spires said. "I'll be able to look at things from a broad perspective, from a very optimistic point of view.

"It takes a lot of time and pressure off a coach, time he or she can be recruiting, teaching, working with the student-athletes."

"She understands coaching, the stresses and all that goes along with the job. And she has strong administrative experience," Reinhard said. "I'm genuinely excited about things we can do together."



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