Volleyball at East Hamilton will certainly have an international flavor next season.
Bruna Langner, who is from Curitiba, Brazil, has been named the Lady Hurricanes’ new head coach and Bojana Hyatt, who hails from Pale Bosnia/Herzegovina, will be a volunteer assistant.
Langner and Hyatt played college volleyball together at Lee University and both were all-America standouts for the Lady Flames. Langner had coached at Dalton (Ga.) State College and Hyatt last coached at Central High.
“I’m excited and can’t wait to get started at East Hamilton,” Langner said Wednesday. “I’ve wanted to move from college to high school because I went to college to become a teacher. I want to work with younger girls and make an impact in their lives, just as they can make an impact on mine.”
Langner started the Dalton State volleyball program in 2013. Her departure from the Lady Roadrunners’ program is effective in late June and she’ll be on board at East Hamilton in July.
Langner will replace Brian Wood, who has stepped down as the Lady Hurricanes’ coach after one season.
“We have very talented underclassmen in our volleyball program,” said Gail Chuy, the school’s principal. “There are several young coaches around our area but we needed someone who had played volleyball at a high level and was willing to put in time to work with our girls.”
Chuy, when she was an administrator at Red Bank, interviewed Langner and recently learned that she was leaving Dalton State.
“So this has worked out perfectly,” Chuy said. “We’re excited to get her and look forward to her and Bojana being a part of what we’re doing here.”
Chuy said Langner wanted Hyatt to be a part of the Lady Hurricanes’ staff and the parties have been able to work that out. Chuy was aware of Hyatt from her time at Central.
“We’ve got two splendid young women to work with our volleyball team and we’re thrilled to have both of them at East Hamilton,” Chuy said.
Langner said she had met once with the returning East Hamilton players and conducted one open gym.
Langner was named Dalton State coach in 2013 and started the program from scratch, adding that she produced several all-academic players, all-conference players and had on-court success in her three seasons there.
She was a four-year starter at Lee, a two-time All-Southern State Athletic Conference performer, a NAIA All-American and All-Region XIII and later served as an assistant coach on Andrea Hudson’s staff before going to Dalton State.
Langner, a middle hitter, helped the Lady Flames to four straight NAIA national tournament appearances and was the Southern States Athletic Conference Player of the Year and Region NAIA Player of the Year in 2006.
She is the school’s all-time leader in kills and a member of the Lee Athletic Hall of Fame.
This will be her first coaching job at the high school level.
“I think it’s going to be easier than at the college level,” Langner said. “I can coach all day. Recruiting is the hardest part of a college job and you never have a break between coaching and recruiting. That’s another reason I wanted to coach in high school.”
While she has conducted numerous volleyball camps for high schoolers, this will be Langner’s first prep coaching job.
Hyatt, the mother of three small children, came to the United States from Bosnia and attended the University of Arkansas-Little Rock for two years before transferring to Lee to team up with Langner in 2003.
“We were the first international volleyball players at Lee,” Hyatt said. “I live close to East Hamilton and I got to see Bruna, my buddy from college, quite a bit. These jobs came open and we both thought it was a great opportunity. We’re super excited and we’re not really concerned about the coaching titles. We’re just going to coach volleyball.”
Hyatt, who played as Bojana Vulin, said she spent two years as a graduate coach at Lee while working on her master’s degree. She has also coached club ball.
She was an outside hitter helped the Lady Flames to TranSouth Conference and Region XIII championships and was selected to the NAIA All-America team in 2004. She holds the Lee record for vertical jump by a female athlete and is considered by Hudson as one of the best blockers ever to play for the Lady Flames.
“We’re eager to get to East Hamilton and help them get to the state tournament for the first time,” Langner said. “Bojana is a good friend and played and coached with the Serbian National Team. We’re going to be working with a bunch of talented kids and are excited about that.”
(Contact Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @larryfleming44)