Demorest, GA - Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Jim Peeples has announced the hiring of Jamie McCormack as the new Head Volleyball Coach at Piedmont College. McCormack takes over for long-time Coach Sid Feldman who led the Lady Lions for seven seasons before retiring this past November following 40-plus years on the sidelines in his coaching career overall.
"We are very happy to have Jamie McCormack joining our coaching staff as the new Head Volleyball Coach at Piedmont," said Peeples of the new hire. "She has great Division III experience as both a coach and a student-athlete and is familiar with the collegiate volleyball landscape in our region. I'm confident that she will not only do a good job leading our volleyball team, but that she will also serve as a strong role model for the young women in our program."
McCormack takes over a program that finished the 2015 season with an 18-15 record coming up just shy of an 11th straight 20-win season. The Lady Lions accomplished that feat in 2014 with a win in their final regular season contest to post the 10th straight such campaign.
"I would like to thank President Mellichamp as well as Coach Peeples for the the opportunity to lead this program," said McCormack of the chance to take over the Lady Lions. "I'm very familiar with the history of success associated with this program under Coach Feldman going back to Coach Katie O'Brien as well whom I was fortunate to compete against as a player. I look forward to continuing to build on an already proud tradition, and I'm ready to get started on the court."
McCormack's familiarity with the Green and Gold comes as no surprise as the new Piedmont coach competed against the Lady Lions during her time as a student-athlete at Huntingdon College. During her final three seasons at Huntingdon (04-06), McCormack's Lady Hawks met Piedmont on the court an incredible nine times including the postseason with Huntingdon holding a slim 5-4 edge in those match-ups.
McCormack enjoyed a decorated college playing career both at Huntingdon, where she was a three-time All-Conference selection, and at the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith where she spent her freshman year helping the Lady Lions to a National Tournament appearance finishing 12th in the country. UA-Fort Smith posted a 38-4 record in McCormack's freshman year including a 31-match winning streak on the way to claiming a conference title in 2003.
Though successful in her debut season, it was during her time as a Division III student athlete when then-Huntingdon Athletic Director Buzz Phillips recognized the potential of the now Lady Lion Head Coach: "Piedmont College and the Women's Volleyball program have found a gem in the hiring of Jamie McCormack as Head Volleyball Coach. When we met I knew that I had met a very special student-athlete, but when I watched her practice and compete, I quickly saw a leader and a fierce competitor. I know she will do an excellent job with her team in all areas as well as being a great recruiter and ambassador for Piedmont."
Following her collegiate playing career, Phillips would bring McCormack back as an Assistant Coach for the Huntingdon volleyball program as she helped the Lady Hawks reach the Championship Game of the Great South Athletic Conference Tournament in 2012. During her time as a coach with HC, McCormack mentored four players in the top ten of the league in total kills sharing the same knowledge that helped her place 2nd in the league in kills, kills per set, and hitting percentage during her own senior season.
Prior to entering the coaching ranks, McCormack spent time learning from some of the game's greats including current Division I Alabama A&M Head Coach Rose Magers-Powell, a member of the United States Volleyball team that posted a Silver Medal finish at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. The '84 squad that posted the runner-up showing was the best finish in U.S. Olympic history and another step in the decorated career for Magers-Powell that included a conference title in 2005 during her time at Martin Methodist before taking over at Alabama A&M last season.
McCormack pointed to Magers-Powell having a significant influence on her own coaching style, saying: "She's an Olympian, so it's no surprise she had an impact on me. Rose was someone who had your attention all the time; when she said anything, she had the floor and had your attention. She didn't get dramatic and yell and scream at you, but you respected what she said because you knew who she was and that she knew she was talking about. I'd like to think she was a big influence on my own coaching style."
"Jamie McCormack was a very dedicated and focused lady on and off the court who proved to be a valuable player," said the Olympic Silver Medalist Magers-Powell of her former player. "I am confident she will prove to be valuable to Piedmont Athletic Program as well."
McCormack's coaching influence also runs through her family as Jamie spent a season coaching with her mother, Libby Hoffman, at UMS-Wright in Mobile, Alabama helping the Bulldogs to an Elite 8 appearance in the State Tournament. Sporting a career coaching record of 541-267 (.669 winning percentage), Hoffman was also Jamie's high school coach during her playing days at Bob Jones High school in Huntsville, Alabama before McCormack jumped to the college game.
"Going back to coach with her (Hoffman), it added a lot to my perspective to be able to see things through her eyes and think about things that I wasn't thinking about when I was giving her a little extra attitude during the playing days!"
During her final two seasons at Bob Jones, the mother-daughter combo put up a combined 100 wins to 25 losses (.800) leading the program to its first-ever appearance in the State Tournament making the Elite 8 in 2002, McCormack's senior season. For her efforts on the court, McCormack was named to the All-Tournament team at the Elite 8 in addition to being honored as an All-State selection before moving up to the collegiate level.
"The Division III experience was incredible, and I had the chance in my recruiting process to look at all levels of play dealing with everything from Division I to NAIA and Junior Colleges," said McCormack. "I knew from my first visit at a Division III school that it was special. The biggest thing I've learned to point out to recruits is that volleyball is a great part of your college experience, but it's part of your experience. You're here to get a degree and enjoy your college experience, and I'm excited to be part of that well-rounded approach."
Spending the last three years in the corporate world as an APS Team Lead for Career Builder working with some of the company's largest accounts, McCormack is now back in Division III athletics and clearly ready to get going as the new Head Coach remarked, "I'm just excited about the opportunity, I wish the season started now!"
A native of Mobile, Alabama, McCormack earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Huntingdon College in May of 2007 graduating Cum Laude. McCormack will begin her role with the program this month with the upcoming fall being her first season as the leader of the volleyball program sporting the Green and Gold.
What they're saying about Coach McCormack:
"Piedmont College and the women's volleyball program have found a gem in the hiring of Jamie McCormack as Head Volleyball Coach. What a great person Jamie is, combining that with knowledge, a strong work ethic and great personality, you have a very complete person to lead an already very good and established program. I first met Jamie at Huntingdon when I became Director of Athletics. When we met I knew that I had met a very special student athlete but when I watched her practice and compete I quickly saw a leader and a fierce competitor. Jamie was a great student athlete taking care of the academic area as well as a well conditioned and prepared team player. I know she will do an excellent job with her team in all areas as well as being a great recruiter and ambassador for Piedmont. Needless to say I am very proud of Jamie McCormack!!"
-Buzz Phillips, Huntingdon College
Director of Athletics Emeritus & Head Women's Basketball Coach
"Jamie McCormack was a very dedicated focused lady on and off the court who proved to be a valuable player. I am confident she will prove to be valuable to Piedmont Athletic Program as well."
-Rose Magers-Powell, Alabama A&M University
Head Volleyball Coach
Member of 1984 US Olympic Silver Medalist Team
Story by Contact Timmy McCormack: Director of Athletic Communications, Piedmont