This is the third of three stories unveiling the 2022 Mainstreet Daily News All Area Volleyball Teams, sponsored by Bosshardt Realty. Click here to read about the Class 1A/2A All Area small school and the Class 3A-7A All Area big school teams.
Following long postseason runs, Santa Fe volleyball coach Eric Marshall and Union County’s Tifani Knox have been named the 2022 Mainstreet Daily News big school and small school coaches of the year, respectively, sponsored by Bosshardt Realty.
Last month, the Raiders (30-2) defeated the Academy of the Holy Names (Tampa) in four sets to win their second straight Class 4A state title under Marshall.
“It’s awesome,” Marshall said. “For anybody to say they don’t like being recognized for their hard work is just not telling the truth. It just isn’t on the forefront of my mind. It isn’t why I coach or put my time and effort in.”
Marshall, who was recognized as the Class 4A Coach of the Year for the second consecutive year, deflected the attention to his team.
“When my girls don’t get recognized, I think something is wrong because they deserve recognition,” Marshall said. “So, that is how I look at it. And I want them to be proud of that, while also understanding they have to get better. I don’t just care about me now. I care about where these girls are going.”
Marshall, who recently had two of his players sign to play college volleyball, won’t have to worry about team recognition this year as five of his players made either first or second team All Area.
One of those players is Jalyn Stout, who was recognized as the Florida Dairy Farmers Miss Volleyball for the second consecutive year.
Nicole Stout, Jalyn’s mom who has worked as an assistant under Marshall for the last five years but has coached with him for 12-13 years, said Marshall goes above and beyond for his team.
“Eric is the definition of sacrifice when it comes to coaching his team” Stout said. “He puts everything into his team. He spends hours of his personal time researching, figuring out what’s best for the team, rotations, what drills to do, but he also finds fun things for the girls to do to keep it fun. He likes to win too, so it’s a good balance between the intensity level that he has for the game but also the love he has and shows for the girls.”
Gainesville coach Chancie Vice, who led the Hurricanes to their first 19-win season in 11 years and a Class 6A postseason berth, and P.K. Yonge coach Enrique Wiseman, who led the Blue Wave to the 3A-District 3 title and a first-round 3A playoff game, were honorable mention selections.
Meanwhile, Tifani Knox was named the small school coach of the year after leading the Tigers (20-8) to the Class 1A state semifinals in her first season.
It was the first state semifinal appearance for Union County since losing to Sneads in the 1A state title game in 2017.
“This recognition is so exciting, and I appreciate it very much,” Knox said. “We had a great year and I really enjoyed coaching these girls. Their belief in our goal, showing up and working hard each day, and giving their all got us to the state semi-final.”
Union County, which looked to defend its district title heading into the season with the first-year coach, did just that by defeating Branford to win the 1A-District 6 title in October.
They earned a No. 2 seed in 1A-Region 3 where they defeated Branford and Aucilla Christian (Monticello), before falling as a No. 3 overall seed at No. 2 Baker in the 1A state semifinals.
“Although we fell short it was a great experience that we hope to build on next year,” Knox said. “This wouldn’t have been possible without all of the support from my family, the parents, our school, and the community.”
Two Union County players – senior outside hitter Jaycee Davis and freshman middle blocker Jailyn Simmons – were named to the small school All Area team.
Perry McDonald of Oak Hall School was an honorable mention selection along with Kevin Tiller of Williston.
McDonald just missed out on his second straight state semifinal appearance with a 5-set loss at home to Christ’s Church Academy (Jacksonville).
Tiller, who was in his first season, guided the Red Devils to their first state semifinal in five years.