Savannah Christian Prep Spiking a new AD - Jones chooses to bump, set, & spike

By Special to the Prep Sports Report | February 20, 2023

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Savannah Christian head of school Jeff Plunk wants your undivided attention.

That’s if you are the Raiders’ next athletic director, which beginning with the 2023-24 school year will be a standalone position and not, as is common in high schools, handling additional duties such as coaching.

Raised in Lilburn, Plunk started at Savannah Christian in July 2022 after many years as a teacher, coach and administrator at private schools in the Atlanta area and most recently as head of school at Ascension Episcopal in Lafayette, Louisiana. The schools have non-coaching athletic directors.

That’s not the case at SCPS, which has grown to about 1,225 students grades K-12, including about 420 girls and boys in grades 9-12.

The school lists 22 fall, 12 winter and 26 spring teams for grades 5-12, including recent additions boys and girls lacrosse, coed e-sports, bass fishing and sporting clays.

The athletic director oversees all of it, high school and middle school, from big-picture planning to day-to-day details for budgets, scheduling, transportation, eligibility, game officials and more.

“When I sat down and revised the job description, looking at it, I said to myself, ‘Wow, this is a big job. There’s a lot here,’ ” Plunk said Friday.

Julie Jones has been the AD for about four years in addition to varsity volleyball coach for 25 seasons. One of the winningest coaches in Georgia high school history, she’s approaching 800 career victories.

“Julie’s done a great job and our athletic programs have experienced a lot of growth and a lot of success,” Plunk said. “I think for us at Savannah Christian, winning’s important. We want to compete. We’re also about the development of young men and young women. Our mission statement makes it clear that we’re trying to develop the whole person, not just the academic side, not just the athletic side, not just the artistic side. The whole person to the glory of God. That’s what we’re about. I think athletics is a great avenue to do that. Julie’s led us really well in that department. She’s had a big influence on a lot of young ladies in her volleyball program, but really in the athletics program as well. She’s been outstanding.”

Jones is the volleyball program director, meaning she’s ultimately responsible for player development through the varsity, junior varsity, seventh-eighth and sixth-grade teams.

Plunk recently approached Jones about his vision for restructuring the athletic department. The timeline was expedited, he said, when assistant athletic director Robert Walsh, also an assistant football coach, accepted the head football job at Whitefield Academy in Mableton.

“I said if you want to be athletic director, you’ve got to choose one or the other. She really wants to focus on her coaching,” Plunk said. “I wasn’t surprised when she said, ‘My heart’s still in coaching.’ She’s got some goals she’s wanting to accomplish there. I 100% support that.”

Jones will remain in charge of the volleyball program and varsity team and slide over to assistant AD. The AD position has been posted and Plunk hopes to make a hire by the end of the spring, with the job starting in July.

“While I enjoyed my most recent tenure as athletic director at SCPS, I am excited about the new opportunity I have to continue to lead the Raider volleyball program while also still being in a leadership role within the athletic department,” Jones, a 1993 SCPS graduate, said in a statement to Prep Sports Report. “I believe the future is bright for both the Raider volleyball program and the SCPS athletic department, and I am excited to help advance the vision and values of SCPS in my new capacity.”

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The "Coach" Karl DeMasi has been teaching and coaching for the past 35 years on all levels of academia and athletics. One of his hobbies has been writing, announcing and talking about sports. DeMasi has been involved in the Savannah Area sports scene since 1995, and he created the high school magazine "The Prep Sports Report" in 2000. In 2010, the "Coach" started broadcasting The Karl DeMasi Sports Report. He's still going strong, broadcasting on Facebook live and Twitter live every Saturday morning. You gotta love it!

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