COLLINSVILLE — Editor’s note: This is the 12th installment in a question-and-answer series with DeKalb County coaches, taking a look at their playing journeys and their coaching experiences. In Part 12, The Times-Journal interviewed Collinsville volleyball coach Casey Isbell.
Q: How long have you worked as both an assistant and a head coach?
A: My first year (2017 season) at Collinsville, I was the junior high and junior varsity coach. This will now be my third year as Collinsville's varsity head coach. My fourth year total.
Q: What schools have you coached at during your career?
A: I was the assistant eighth-grade girls basketball coach at Albertville and I also coached ninth-grade girls volleyball at Albertville High School (2016) before starting at Collinsville the next season. I also coach club volleyball during the offseason for Supreme Courts in Guntersville.
Q: What led you to coaching?
A: I have always played sports throughout high school, basketball and volleyball being my favorites, and I know the positive impact my coaches had on me. I want to give my players something fun and rewarding to look forward to. I want to make an impact on the girls I am around, not just on the court, but off of the court as well.
Q: What was your playing career like?
A: I was a very dedicated ball player in high school. It's safe to say it consumed my life. If I wasn't in the gym practicing, I was at home doing drills. During the summers, I would attend as many individual skills camps as I could to better myself.
Q: How far did your playing career take you?
A: I had several opportunities to play college basketball and/or volleyball, but chose not to play in college. I knew I would need to devote myself to studying as much as I could, and at that time, I wasn't disciplined enough to make my education my top priority.
Q: What is your high school alma mater?
A: Crossville High School.... that school will always be very special to me. It's neat that I coach in the same county I played in high school, and coach for one of our rivals that we had.
Q: What is your collegiate alma mater?
A: Jacksonville State University for my bachelor’s and (University of West Alabama) for my master's degree.
Q: Who are the coaches who most influenced the way you instruct your players today?
A: There are two coaches that definitely stick out in my mind and I still look up to them today. Jon Peppers, who has now retired his coaching career to lead in administration at Crossville, and Jana (Simmons) Godwin who is now an educator at her alma mater, Fyffe High School. They instilled in me the desire to win on and off the court. I look back today and wish I would have taken all of the advice they had given back then.
Q: What do you teach at Collinsville?
A: I teach fifth-grade (English/language arts) and social studies.
Q: When you have free time, what activities do you enjoy doing?
A: I am an outdoors girl! I love being outside playing with my children, whether it's fishing, playing ball, running or even mowing the yard.