Q&A with new Carroll volleyball coach Leslie Jackson
Photos by Ron Jenkins
Leslie Jackson had a simple answer when asked what drew her to the Southlake Carroll volleyball opening this offseason.
“There’s not a lot of one-high school towns left in Texas at the 6A level,” she said. “That’s one of the really unique things about Southlake that drew me to it. You can’t beat a community like that. When you have a camp, you’re going to be seeing players that you will see when they’re seniors. So, the one-high school town and just the school’s reputation as a whole.”
Jackson has quite the reputation herself as a rising star in the volleyball coaching world. She has been on the fast track, serving as head coach at McKinney for one year, then Denton Guyer for two years and is now taking over at Carroll.
Before becoming a head coach, Jackson was an assistant coach at Prosper when it won the 2017 Class 5A state title. She also had success at the club level, winning two national championships with Texas Advantage Volleyball Club’s 17 Blue team in 2018 and 2019. As a player, Jackson was a standout for Mansfield Legacy and went on to play at Stephen F. Austin.
We caught up with Jackson as she becomes the sixth head volleyball coach in school history.
What are your early impressions of the team?
“The girls have been competing really well. Volleyball is crazy in the sense that, even if you’re not as talented, you can beat a really good team. And, if you’re a really good team, you can lose to a team that is less talented. I think we have some really good players across the board and some really good depth with the kids we have in the program right now.”
What are the expectations for Year 1?
“I just want to squeeze the most we can out of what we have. What the girls have shown over the summer and over the past couple of weeks is they’re giving it everything they can in practice, so I can only imagine what it’s going to look like on game days. I don’t know, you never know. Our region is so good, our district is so good, DFW is so good, so I’m hoping they can go out and play at a high level every time they step on the floor.”
Any players who have stood out to date?
“We have a good group across the board right now. We haven’t really played any matches, but the girls are gelling as a whole, which I think is important. Obviously, you’ll have your studs and your role players, but if they can all learn to play together, which they’re working on right now, that’s when you’ll get the best results.”
As a new coach to the program, what would you tell fans about your coaching style?
“I want the kids to have a really good time when they come to practice and when they play. If they are having the most fun they can have while also competing at a high level, usually results will take care of themselves or you’ll put yourself in position to achieve those results. I’m super competitive, but I want them to enjoy what they’re doing because high school is supposed to be fun. That’s what I like to instill in them first — competitive, discipline, fun overall.”