Daviess County High School volleyball star Josie Newcom officially signed her letter of intent to play at Saint Louis University in a ceremony Thursday at the Southern Kentucky Elite Volleyball Academy in Bowling Green, capping off several years of hard work and dedication.
Newcom, who has played with SKEVA for three years, racked up 400 kills, 171 digs, 45 service aces and 32 blocks in 30 games for the Lady Panthers last season. She committed to SLU and first-year head coach Andrea Beaty earlier this month.
According to SKEVA President Caleb Sheffield, who coached Newcom for one season and has also helped provide individual training throughout her time there, he considers her one of the club’s best success stories.
“It’s not an exaggeration when I say she’s such an anomaly,” he said. “She came to us late and was athletic, but she was a blank slate. She’s so athletic and explosive. We work with hundreds of athletes, and dozens and dozens go off to play at the next level, but even as a 16-year-old, she was raw and had lots of work to do.
“We told her up front that she had Division I athletic potential but also had a lot to fix. We normally start with kids who are 10 or 11 years old, so it was a late start for her. We said, ‘If you want to max out your potential, you’ve got to put in a lot of work in a short amount of time.’ ”
During the seven-month club seasons, she traveled to Bowling Green at least four times a week for training. Even in the offseason, she didn’t stay far from the facility for long — whether it was improving her on-court skills or simply working out in the weight room.
Over time, her coaches could see the progress.
“She’s a gym rat and she’s always here,” Sheffield added. “She’s always quick picking up on stuff. She fixed some major problems that sometimes take years to fix, and she did it within months. Her work ethic was probably in the top tier of any kid we’ve ever had.”
According to DCHS coach Tyla Bailey, Newcom’s knowledge of the game was always a major aspect of her success as well.
“Josie has a very strong court IQ,” she said during the high school season. “She does a great job of reading the defense and responding accordingly. She goes up with the mentality of putting a ball away. At the same time, she also knows when to take some power off and roll, tip and use the block to score.”
During her high school career, Newcom helped the Lady Panthers secure back-to-back 9th District Tournament and 3rd Region Tournament titles as a sophomore and junior — sending DC to the state tournament for the only two times in program history.
Now, Newom will look to help boost a Billikens program seeking its first Atlantic 10 championship since 2008.
And, Sheffield added, she should be viewed as a role model for up-and-coming volleyball players.
“I think it shows that anything is possible,” he said. “You take a kid like Josie, who, in a lot of ways, was written off or told she can’t do this or do that. But she got with a program, trusted them, put the work in, never doubted the work and because of that diligence and work ethic and attitude and mentality, she was able to accomplish something that very few girls in this area have ever done.
“When people think about Josie Newcom, I hope there are girls out there looking up to her and seeing her as an inspiration.”
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