By RODRICK ANDERSON
After 24 years, Sulphur High School’s volleyball team be under new management this fall.
Former McNeese State University player Bridget Justis will replace long-time head coach Julie Mancuso, who has stepped down from day-to-day volleyball coaching duties but will remain the head coach of the softball team.
“My former assistant coach was Jeremy White and he coached at Barbe before he came to McNeese,” Justis said. “He was telling me there might some job openings.
“I student taught at Maplewood and would go over and do volleyball with high schoolers during seventh hour. They are excited. They really respect Coach Mancuso and what she has done but they are excited for change too. I get to give them all the knowledge that I have.”
Justis graduated less than month ago with a degree in K-12 physical education but comes to Sulphur with impressive credentials.
She played two seasons for Drury University before transferring to McNeese for her final two seasons. As a senior, she earned All-Southland Conference honors and was named the 2016 Louisiana Libero of the Year after recording 601 digs.
Justis’ twin sister, Breanna, played for Evangel University.
While it is unusual for someone to jump right into a head coaching position right out of college, Justis shouldn’t have much trouble adjusting to life as a head coach. Her mother, Becky Justis, is one of the winningest (396-166-32) high school coaches in Missouri, winning a state championship in 2009, and recently became the head coach at Galena High School.
“You don’t normally see head coaches right of college but my mom has been a head coach my entire life,” Justis said. “I know what it takes to do it.
“There are always going to be surprises like paper work. I had no idea there was so much paper work. It is not a job people normally get but I feel very blessed and excited for this opportunity.”
Justis has big plans to increase local interest in volleyball and will host a camp for elementary and middle school students July 17th through the 20th.
“I am hoping that it is going to really take off in the community,” Justis said. “There is not a lot of volleyball in this area and I am hoping to grow the sport.
“I want to get volleyball into the younger grades and develop them before middle school.”