STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — For reasons she couldn’t pass up, Marble Falls High School volleyball coach Jessica Withrow is turning in her Lady Mustangs purple and gold for the maroon and white of the Brownwood Lady Lions.
“The main (reason) is I have close friends in the Brownwood area,” she said. “I’ll be closer to my family. I like the hometown feel of Brownwood. It felt like coming home, in a way.”
Withrow resigned as the Lady Mustangs head volleyball coach, a position she’s held since 2016, to take the same job at Brownwood High School.
A graduate of Muleshoe High School, Withrow recalled facing Brownwood when she was in high school. Withrow is a graduate of Abilene Christian University, which is about an hour’s drive from Brownwood, so she is familiar with the area.
Her first head coaching job after graduating from ACU was at Sweetwater as the track coach, which was in the same district as Brownwood.
The Lady Lions have qualified for the playoffs each of the past five years and advanced to the area round in 2016 and 2017.
“They have a very successful volleyball program and make the playoffs every year,” Withrow said. “They have outstanding multi-sport athletes. They support each other.”
When Withrow took over at Marble Falls, the Lady Mustangs were in the midst of a seven-year district losing streak. During that period, they hadn’t even won a set (a high school volleyball match consists of the best of five sets). That ended against Lockhart in 2016, though Marble Falls lost the match in four sets.
In 2017, the Lady Mustangs earned three district victories.
Withrow said she learned plenty working at Marble Falls that will help her on her next endeavor, including how to run a team; how to balance a budget; how to work with a booster club; and how to work with the media.
She worked closely with head girls track-and-field coach Anthony Torns and attended every sporting event she could.
“It helped me get ready for the next stop,” she said.
Withrow will complete the school year and continue to be an assistant track coach. The track season begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at the Panther Relays at Liberty Hill High School, 16500 Texas 29 West in Liberty Hill.