Whew .. the fastest month ever

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At least for me it was, when you think that just a month ago we were finishing up in Omaha and the NCAA women’s championship and the AVCA Convention. Then came the holidays, the start of the NCAA men’s season and the great USA women’s victory in Lincoln, Nebraska, to qualify for the Olympics, and on my home front, the New Orleans Blastoff. No doubt many of you have been involved with putting on tournaments, but in case you haven’t it’s not for the timid. Or anyone with weak legs, because it feels like you walk a marathon on cement floors for two days. The Blastoff was in the New Orleans Convention Center, had 205 teams, and went off without a hitch. But the lead-up and subsequent decompression is why there hasn’t been anything in this space for more than a week. Mine is a one-team club, and while we didn’t win, you can see from the  photo up top of the Volleyball Baton Rouge 14s rocking the Wild Pepper jersey that we looked pretty good. Meanwhile, back in higher-level volleyball … Next week will have video chats on this site with Stanford setter James Shaw and new Arkansas coach Jason Watson, who made the move from Arizona State. We will also catch back up with the NCAA men’s game and will definitely be watching the Pac-12 Network at 3 p.m. Pacific Saturday when USC plays at UCLA. USC is struggling under new coach Jeff Nygaard, while John Speraw’s UCLA team is No. 1 in the most recent AVCA poll, but when these two schools meet in any sport, it’s always fun. Here’s a recap from UCLA’s most recent victory. Texas Tech hired a coach, Tony Graystone, who was at Texas A&M-Corpus Cristi the past seven seasons. To read the Texas Tech story, click here. And this might be last, but it’s most important: The Louisiana High School Athletic Association finally made its announcement on who is going into its hall of fame. That includes my wife, Brenda LeBlanc, who had a remarkable career at two different Louisiana high schools before retiring from coaching — not teaching — after the 2006 season. Here’s the LHSAA release and if you follow sports, you can tell it’s a pretty stout group of inductees.

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