Darty plans to aim high in recruiting as MSU volleyball coach

Julie Darty
Staff Writer

No matter the sport, the lifeblood of any collegiate program is recruiting.

That fact isn’t lost on new Mississippi State head volleyball coach Julie Darty.

On Wednesday, Darty was introduced as the 12th volleyball coach in MSU history. She outlined a bold recruiting plan that she believes will lay the foundation for future success for the Bulldogs.

“I will say we’re going to go after some kids that we have no business going after,” Darty said. “When she says, ‘yes’, we’re going to make it our business to give her a great experience here. We’re going to swing for the fences and swing for the rafters. We’re going to take big chances and big risks with kids.”

Darty’s prowess in recruiting was one of the primary factors that led to her hiring at MSU. The 31-year-old Darty has a proven track record when it comes to attracting top-flight volleyball talent. She found much success the last four years as a head coach at Jacksonville University. Darty’s time at Jacksonville included an Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament championship and an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Darty’s recruiting efforts started long before Jacksonville though. She has eight total years of volleyball coaching experience, including two in the Southeastern Conference as an assistant at South Carolina. She has been a recruiting coordinator at both South Carolina and at Villanova.

“She has attracted some of the nation’s best talent,” MSU director of athletics John Cohen said. “She is a tireless recruiter.

“She has been on the club scene, which in recruiting circles is known as a really important factor in getting the best talent you possibly can in the sport of volleyball.”

It’s Darty’s ties to volleyball clubs that could be her biggest asset as she looks to pull Mississippi State out of years of volleyball struggles. As Darty begins to build her version of Bulldogs, she says she plans to use her many connections on the club scene to reel in the best talent. Darty’s goal is to be in and around the volleyball clubs as much as possible.

“One of the themes we’re going to hit on when my staff gets here is just saturation,” Darty said. “We’re going to saturate the places that love us already and we’re going to bleed maroon and white in their gyms and in their clubs. We are going to saturate them so much to where all they can talk about is the change and the difference going on at Mississippi State. I think that will trickle down though the rest of the team. That sense of pride kind of stirs in you when you get that first big recruit on campus and the first kid that says, ‘yes.’ There is going to be an overwhelming and euphoric feeling when that actually happens.”

Darty isn’t under any impression that any of this is going to be easy. When it comes to tradition, Mississippi State isn’t rich in historical success in volleyball. That will likely hinder things. It won’t, however, deter Darty.

“I know we’ll get told, ‘no’ early on, but once we get that first, ‘yes,’ it’s going to be pretty special," Darty said.

Darty’s plan will soon be in full motion. She met with her team Tuesday. She was introduced as head coach on Wednesday. It has been a busy week for Darty. Yet the most important work of all might be just beginning.

“I leave (recruiting Friday) and you’ll probably not see me again until May,” Darty said.