Buford’s Lady Wolves Volleyball team is led by Head Coach Hadli Daniels, who is making her return to the head coaching position after spending one year as an assistant coach. She was the head coach for the Lady Wolves for eight seasons before stepping down to be an assistant. As a head coach, she helped lead the program to two state championships in 2015 and 2016.
A native of Medway, MA, Coach Daniels played collegiate volleyball at the University of Georgia. Buford Athletics sat down with Coach Daniels to see how the Lady Wolves were doing this year and how the transition back to the head coaching role has been for her.
Buford Athletics: You took one year off as Head Volleyball Coach (served as assistant last year), and now you are in charge of the program again. How has the transition back to being the Head Coach been for you?
Coach Daniels: I think it has definitely given me a new outlook and a renewed energy for coaching. It was a blessing to be able to step back a little last year in order to watch my son play freshman football, but it made me hungry to be back in charge, and excited to work with this particular group of young ladies.
Buford Athletics: The 2019 Buford Volleyball team has a very difficult regular season schedule. How does that prepare your team for the state tournament in a few months?
Coach Daniels: We are already experiencing the struggle of playing a competitive schedule, but I wouldn't have it any other way. We need to go through some of these growing pains so that this team is prepared for what tournament time will look like for us. There are some very talented teams in 5A, and if we don't use these opportunities now to grow that mental toughness we will need to win those matches, we won't be able to compete well when that time gets here.
Buford Athletics: You were a college volleyball player at the University of Georgia. How has that experienced shaped the way you coach your high school team?
Coach Daniels: I honestly try to take the best of all of the coaching I have ever had, even going back to high school. It definitely helps to have that college experience as a player because volleyball can be a difficult game to learn and coach, and I can use that experience to help prepare girls to play at that level. Some of my coaching style may be looked at as "old-school" because it has been such a long time since I played, but the fundamentals of volleyball have not changed, and it's great to have that knowledge base because no matter what level you play at, fundamentals are so important.
Buford Athletics: I think I already know the answer to this question, but what are your favorite sports teams (professional or college)?
Coach Daniels: Ha...you are probably correct....that would be the Georgia Bulldogs. My husband was a wide-receiver there back when I played volleyball, and that is where we met, so we will always be die-hard fans! Not many people know that I am from Boston though, so the Patriots and Red Sox run a close second!
Buford Athletics: Having had your own kids grow up in Buford, what does the Buford community mean to you and your family?
Coach Daniels: This question is loaded with emotion for me. I can't begin to explain what Buford has done for me as an educator and for both of my boys. My older son, Aubrey, has six state championship rings here, and not one of them is for athletics. My younger son, Ashton, has been playing football for Buford since he was 6 years old, and is currently getting to play for Coach App, who has been here as long as I have been and is just a phenomenal guy, so we couldn't have been more thrilled when he took over the program. Both boys have been involved in very different parts of our AAA Excellence, which has been a great experience for me and my husband. Neither of us knew anything about the Arts, but between the Literary team with Dr. Harris, and the Theater program here with Kim Staples, Aubrey really flourished, and now we are getting to watch Ashton flourish in a different way. We really feel that God placed us here for a reason.
Buford Athletics: What are you looking forward to most this volleyball season?
Coach Daniels: Always the relationships that I am able to build each season. The group of girls I have right now are very different than any group I have had before. They are a little quieter and more reserved than teams of the past but so coachable and eager to please. I am already having a great experience getting to know them and watching them come out of their shells on and off the court. I don't have any seniors this year, so I am really looking forward to having two years to watch them grow as a team and come together to build their own legacy.
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