Lincoln hires former star Paige Pridgeon as coach

Lincoln hires former star Paige Pridgeon as coach


Lincoln hires former star Paige Pridgeon as coach


She was already an assistant indoor volleyball coach and the school’s head coach for its new sand volleyball program, now Lincoln High is fully turning the reins of its volleyball program over to former standout Paige Pridgeon.

Pridgeon will replace Mariya Andonova on the hard court after Andonova, a former Florida A&M star, resigned recently after two seasons as head coach.

“I’ve always had a huge passion for volleyball and I’ve played since I was very little,” Pridgeon said. “Once I graduated college, I realized I wasn’t ready to give up the sport and not be around the sport anymore. I decided coaching was something I wanted to do out of passion for the sport and for motivating the girls I’d be coaching.”

Pridgeon was a four-time All-Big Bend selection for the Trojans and the 2009 All-Big Bend Player of the Year before heading to the University of North Florida on scholarship, where she played indoors prior to stepping onto the sand as the new sport began being implemented. After averaging over 300 kills a season in high school, Pridgeon hopes to be able to guide others successfully to the collegiate ranks.

“It takes a lot of effort and work in high school,” Pridgeon said. “It takes a lot of motivation and leadership from the coaches. It takes a certain level of tenacity that I’m going to be able to translate over to these girls that want to play at the next level.”

While at UNF, Pridgeon led the Atlantic Sun Conference in kills during the indoor season and was an all-conference selection all four years. She won back-to-back conference sand titles and competed in the 2013 AVCA Collegiate Sand Volleyball National Championships, all of which led to her being named the Ospreys’ 2013 Female Athlete of the Year.

Success didn’t happen overnight.

Pridgeon began playing volleyball when she was 4 years old, and little by little she received coaching and grew in acceptance of it.

“It’s definitely something that you continue to learn,” Pridgeon said. “It’s not something you gain in one season or one year. If I can get these girls to own the leadership and attitude part of their game early, then that’s something that can continue to grow.”

Her new indoor team, which went 14-11 last year and was 0-4 in district against Chiles and Leon, will have holes on the outside with the departures of seniors Katy Kuhlmeier and Angel Solomon among significant contributors.

“We lost five seniors from last year and they were great players,” Pridgeon said. “There will be roles that need to be filled, but I have full confidence in the returners, even though they are pretty young. And the new kids coming in, prospects that have been playing travel ball since very little, I know high school ball is very important to them. If I can get them started early with confidence and leadership, those roles will be filled pretty early.”

Lincoln has made the regional finals just once in the last 14 years, losing to Chiles in 2005.

John Paul II moves Titus Nixon to boys coach

The Panthers have named Titus Nixon as head boys basketball coach after former coach Anthony Van Gessel chose to focus solely on his role as athletic director.

Nixon was an assistant under Van Gessel three years ago and spent the last two seasons as the head girls coach.

Nixon is an alumnus of JPII, having graduated from the school in 2005 with a playing career that also featured time at Leon High.

“We are ready to hit the ground running,” Nixon said in a statement. “Building a program is about building a culture. The groundwork has already been laid here at JPII. We have to keep building on that foundation piece by piece, doing the little things right on and off the court.

“If we do that day after day, the results will take care of themselves.”


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