New Brockton High School named Kris (Lawson) Clay as the school’s new volleyball coach on March 18 after former coach Jennifer Graham took over at Enterprise earlier this year.
Clay also has Enterprise ties after serving as an assistant junior varsity and varsity coach under Janie Wiggins at EHS in 2018. Clay also worked with both Wiggins and Graham as a part of the Deep South Volleyball Club.
Clay was a star player at Gaston High in Gadsden, earning all-state honors after posting 695 kills, 140 digs, 128 blocks, 67 aces and 26 assists as a senior. Clay was also a part of Gaston’s 2008 state championship team before accepting a scholarship to play at Wallace State Community College in Hanceville.
Clay then went on to earn a scholarship to play at Jacksonville State following her time at Wallace.
Clay’s first coaching job came at Southside High in Gadsden as a basketball, volleyball and softball coach. She has also served as an assistant volleyball and basketball coach at Eufaula previously.
“It’s a great opportunity,” Clay said of taking over at New Brockton. “This is something I’ve been wanting to do for many years and I felt God leading me here.
“Looking back at the opportunities he has given me and the doors he’s opened and closed in my life, I feel like God brought me to New Brockton. I definitely want to thank God for the path he has given me in my life.”
Clay said that the solid foundation that Graham built with the Lady Gamecocks was also appealing to her.
“When I heard the job was coming up, with everything that Coach Graham has done building the program and the way she had it heading in the right direction, I felt like it was the right time and place for my career,” Clay emphasized. “I want to help take what she built here and push it forward.”
Clay said that the primary goal at New Brockton will be building a consistently competitive program.
“New Brockton itself is really growing and because of that we’re going up in classification and I think it is very important to be consistently competitive regardless of what classification we’re in or who we’re playing,” Clay said. “We want to make sure we’re finding success in our region and at the state level consistently.”
Clay’s husband, Brad, is also an assistant football coach at New Brockton.
“I think it’s great,” Clay said of working on the same campus with her husband. “I think it’s exciting with us being on the same campus.
“We’ve always been on different school grounds, so it will be fun to be on the same campus.”
Another goal for Clay’s Lady Gamecock program will be to further grow the excitement for volleyball in younger students.
“It’s crucial,” Clay said of getting younger players excited. “Volleyball is really starting to pick up in this area and in the past it’s kind of been left behind in terms of other sports.
“I think that what Coach Wiggins is doing (with her training academy) and I’ve been blessed to be a part of some of the things she’s been doing.
“One of the big goals I have for New Brockton is to incorporate a youth camp to reach out to our elementary girls. It is important that they associate New Brockton with volleyball.”
Clay said that building that interest from younger athletes will help her reach the first goal for primary goal of the program.
“Doing those youth camps and programs to reach out to the youth to get them interested in the game and get them started on their skills in knowledge of the game is very important,” she said. “That will be crucial in my overall goal in building a consistent program.”