VALDOSTA -- For months, Valdosta State volleyball was a team without a coach. Now, it has a coach, but no team.
Sia Poyer, the Blazers new coach, worked his first day on Friday, but with the school on Spring Break, he still had to wait to meet his players. They've exchanged e-mails and phone calls since he accepted the job the first week of March, and the first meeting is scheduled for next week.
"They're just ready to get started," Poyer said. "A new beginning -- which is actually a little saying that they came up with. A new beginning, which is the same for me."
Poyer chose Valdosta after 14 years at Eastern New Mexico, where he earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees. He then worked eight years as a full-time assistant at the school in Portales, N.M., before becoming a head coach for the first time with VSU. His first day on Friday consisted of a lot of paperwork and setting up his new office. However, Poyer doesn't have much time to get settled. The NCAA late signing period begins on April 13, and he wants to add three newcomers to the eight returners on the roster.
One thing that has been taken care of is his coaching staff. Eastern New Mexico setter Margie Goble will join the Blazers as Poyer's graduate assistant in May when she completes her degree. Her expertise will come in handy because setter figures to be a position the Blazers will pursue heavily in recruiting. Poyer already has a couple boxes filled with recruiting tapes in addition to calls and e-mails about interest in the team.
"Back at Eastern New Mexico, even though we had a winning program, I thought it was a harder sell," Poyer said. "It was a very small town of 12,000 and not much to sell as far as recruiting. Over here in Valdosta, it's a beautiful town, beautiful city, beautiful campus. Not to mention, I've lost many kids from the Texas area, New Mexico area, Colorado area to schools here in the Gulf South and Florida."
Recruiting at ENMU did have some advantages on VSU. For one, the Zias went 25-9 and advanced to the NCAA regionals in 2004. In Poyer's eight years as a full-time assistant, the program won almost 70 percent of its matches (187-81). The Blazers haven't won a Gulf South Conference match in two seasons, winning four times in each of the past two seasons under Jon Teetzel. Also, he doesn't have the benefit of a local recruiting base since no schools in South Georgia sponsor volleyball.
"It's tough, but just compared to my situation back at New Mexico, even though we did have high school volleyball in New Mexico, we still did a lot of recruiting outside," Poyer said. "It is tough, but not discouraging by any means."
Spoken like a man on his first day.
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