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The Student News Site of University of North Alabama

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The Flor-Ala

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UNA welcomes Deaton to volleyball program

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Treasure Franklin

Lauren Deaton, former Samford volleyball powerhouse, has officially joined UNA’s coaching staff for both indoor volleyball and beach volleyball. 

Deaton has had an extraordinarily successful career, playing Division I for Samford from 2018-22. Notably, she ranks first in Samford’s program history in career kills at 1,836, as well as first for career attacks at 5,551. She also ranks fourth in the program’s history for career digs at 1,574. 

Position wise, Deaton was an outside hitter for most of her career. She enjoyed getting to partake in both digging the ball in serve receive and putting the ball away offensively. 

Her senior season in 2022, specifically, proved to be one of her most rewarding. She played in 121 sets over 33 matches, collecting 334 kills with a season-high of 20 kills in a single match. On the defensive side, she racked in 181 digs, and a season-high of 20 digs in a single match. 

Throughout her career, Deaton earned honorable achievements. When she was only a freshman at Samford, she was named Freshman of the Year by the Southern Conference, and she was also named to the SoCon All-Freshman team.

In her sophomore and junior seasons, she was named First Team All-SoCon in 2019, Spring SoCon Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Spring First Team All-SoCon, Spring SoCon Player of the Year, Spring AVCA Honorable Mention All American and Second Team All-SoCon all in 2021. 

Generally speaking, Deaton has been an athlete since the third grade. She played volleyball, softball, flag football and basketball while growing up, but found herself falling in love with the sport of volleyball. 

“It became my obsession, and I just found myself wanting to play more and more, especially at the competitive level,” said Deaton.

There is no doubt that volleyball is one of the sports that relies the most on teamwork, an attribute that Deaton loves the most. How well you can work together, how well you can manage pressure, how well you motivate others and how well you face adversity. These characteristics make the sport addicting, and it only gets more intoxicating the higher up you go.

She knew she wanted to keep playing volleyball as long as she was given the opportunity, but if she was not given it, she was going to make it happen. Ever since Deaton was about 12 years old, she looked up to the older girls in her club that went on to play in college. Seeing their joy and passion lit a brighter match within herself to achieve greatness. 

“I loved the grind that came with trying to get to that point,” Deaton said. “Being that invested and putting all your effort into something that would bring a reward was really appealing to me.”

While in college, Deaton had the biggest growing experience of her life. She mentioned the adrenaline that came with going into something so foreign that morphed into the most rewarding experience of her life. Specifically, Deaton acknowledged the “full circle” moment with every group of younger players that came in because it brought her back to her freshman year, being taken under the wings of older players.

Similarly, she holds the relationships formed with her teammates above all else.

“These girls will be in my wedding, and they are the girls my future kids will know,” Deaton said.

This is something most athletes can relate to, and it is something Deaton is excited to further here at UNA. 

Although her first college volleyball coaching position, Deaton has been teaching and coaching since highschool. She would demo moves and drills for the younger girls. Then, while in college, she would help coach club volleyball when she returned to her hometown for breaks.

Coaching has been the career Deaton set her eyes on since she was a junior in high school. She had amazing coaches through the years that shaped her into the woman she is today, and she is excited to have the opportunity to do the same.

“If I get to wake up everyday and pour into young women,” Deaton said. “If I can make them more confident in themselves, that’s a pretty amazing job.” 

The opportunity to coach at UNA has been a long time coming. She has known head coach Tristan Johnson for years, and said he is a great mentor to learn from. Luckily, Deaton happened to be looking for a job at the same time a position in the program opened up. 

Lauren had a tremendous career as a player and is hungry to give back in a coaching capacity,” said Johnson. “I have known Lauren for a number of years as I had recruited her out of High School and have always been impressed by her maturity and competitive nature.”

Deaton is most excited for the opportunity to learn and grow while coaching both indoor and beach volleyball. She mentioned how she loves the people here at UNA, which is important because she is very much a “relationship driven person.” She is also delighted to finally get to work with the girls, ready to motivate and help wherever needed.

There is something immensely satisfying about knowing what you are called to do with your life, and Deaton is elated to know that hers is coaching. She is fortunate to get to use her passion to impact the lives of others, and the program gained a significant advantage by bringing on such an eager and talented powerhouse of a coach.

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About the Contributors
Tristan Gregory, Staff Writer
Treasure Franklin, Deputy Chief Photographer
Treasure Franklin is a junior majoring in Psychology with a minor in Applied Behavior Analysis. She is a member of the LaGrange Society, Student Government Association (SGA), and is in the Cole Honors College, as well as the Presidential Mentor's Academy. She is currently serving as a Staff Photographer; she has previously served as the website editor, and she has been a volunteer photographer/writer with The Flor-Ala since August of 2021.

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