June 21, 2013
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON – Get this one … Mitch Jacobs has volunteered to go to Disneyland!
OK, so maybe the American Sports Centers and Disneyland aren’t quite the same destination, but they’re less than 2 miles apart in Anaheim, Calif., and Jacobs, the longtime Marshall volleyball coach, has volunteered to go there next month.
Jacobs has been selected as a volunteer assistant coach for the USA Volleyball Girls’ Youth National Team for their July 8-21 training block at the American Sports Centers, which is the USA Volleyball men’s and women’s national teams’ home base.
During that two-week period, Jacobs will work with the top under-18 players in the country as the team is whittled from 16 candidates to a 12-player squad for the 2013 FIVB U-18 World Championship, scheduled July 25-Aug. 4 at Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand.
Jacobs, pointing toward his 12th season as the Thundering Herd coach, will aid two prominent former collegiate coaches during the July tryout session in California.
The under-18 head coach is former Ohio State Coach Jim Stone, who spent 25 years on the Buckeyes’ sideline with great success, and longtime former Florida associate coach Nick Cheronis. Jacobs will be one of several volunteer coaches from the college ranks at the Anaheim workouts.
It’s a first for Jacobs, whose record with the Herd is 207-144, including a Conference USA regular season and tournament title in 2005. The Herd also won the league’s regular season title in 2007, which earned him C-USA Coach of the Year as it did two years earlier.
“I’ve never been part of anything like this for USA Volleyball specifically,” Jacobs said. “I’ve been a member with USA Volleyball for more than 20 years, but it never really fell into place to do something like this.
“I have been able to coach a couple of collegiate select teams that played in tournaments under the USA Volleyball banner, like the Global Challenge, where we trained in Switzerland and played in Croatia.
“But I’ve never been associated with anything like this at this level, and I’m really excited to be able to be there and be part of training some of the best youth volleyball players in the country.”
All players must have been born in 1996 or ’97 to play for the U18 National Team. Jacobs said most of the team finalists are heading into their senior high school seasons. The squad was reduced from 26 to 16 candidates in a tryout that ended last Sunday.
The team includes seven players who return from winning the 2012 NORCECA Youth Continental Championship in Mexico last August. After the recent tryout session, Stone remarked that the team has “very big, athletic kids … many touching as high as 10-8.”
Jacobs got the volunteer spot by first talking with Stone – a longtime associate in the sport – and then contacting Denise Sheldon, who is manager for USA Volleyball High Performance National Team Programs.
“Just getting the opportunity to coach with men like Jim and Nick, with their accomplishments and their knowledge, that’s special,” Jacobs said. “Getting to be around these two guys is a reason I wanted to do this.
“Being around them for two weeks of training will be one of the great experiences I’ve had as a coach.”
Jacobs’ 2013 Herd returns five of six starters from an 18-13 team – led by returning senior and All-Conference USA first team selection Laura Der at outside hitter.
Marshall opens the 2013 volleyball season Aug. 30-31 in the University of Virginia Tournament with the host Cavaliers, James Madison and Montana.