FORT PAYNE — Editor’s note: This is the 13th installment in a question-and-answer series with DeKalb County coaches, taking a look at their playing journeys and their coaching experiences. In Part 13, The Times-Journal interviewed Fort Payne volleyball coach Justin Kisor.
Q: How long have you worked as both an assistant and a head coach?
A: I started helping junior high basketball at Sand Rock when I was 20. I did that for five years. I coached basketball for eight years and volleyball for four. This is my fifth year coaching volleyball.
Q: How would you describe your feelings on getting to lead the volleyball program at Fort Payne?
A: I couldn’t be more excited, especially to have my wife alongside me to be the JV coach, working with her every day. We’re here in a town we love, close to our families and close to home. It’s really nice.
Q: Where did you graduate high school and college?
A:I graduated from Glencoe. I went to a bunch of different schools because of my dad moving around, but I ended up at Glencoe to make it a short story. Graduated in 2007. I got my degree in (physical education) from (Jacksonville State University).
Q: What was your high school playing career like?
A: I played basketball. I played basketball all the way up. I played (Amateur Athletic Union) basketball and then on my high school team.
Q: Where were you working before coming to the Fort Payne school system?
A: I coached at Faith Christian for three years. And then in January I got offered the Pell City volleyball job. I took that job and was in Pell City from January to June and (Fort Payne) offered me. I never even coached a game for Pell City.
Q: What led you to coaching?
A: I started substitute teaching just to have a job when I was 20, and I loved interacting with students. I started coaching basketball and in 2015, my cousin texted me and asked if I wanted to help with volleyball. ...Seeing the kids grow and making those relationships with them, being a role model is why I do it. I try to make them better not only on the court, but off the court.
Q: Who are among the coaches who have most impacted the way you instruct your players?
A: When I was younger, coach (Brian) Mackey from Sand Rock had a huge impact on my life. Even though I didn’t do a lot when I was 20 and 21, he gave me an opportunity to coach junior high basketball and get on my feet. And as I’ve gotten older, coach (Jamie) Clendenin from Donahoe was a good mentor. His coaching style and his passion for the kids and the sports he’s coached… it’s been really humbling to see that.
Q: What will you teach in the Fort Payne school system?
A: I’m teaching P.E. at Wills Valley Elementary School.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: I like to go hiking with my wife. We kayak. Anything outside, really. I still try to play a little bit of outdoor volleyball. I like to go to the lake and spend time with my family. I have a nephew who’s five and I like to spend time with him.