When the Australian accent came through not the first words of Jason Watson, head volleyball coach of the Arkansas Ladybacks, there were more than a few that began to wonder how this man wound up in Arkansas, much less speaking to a team and community in Paris.

It didn’t take long to understand why, as he continued, the personable Watson won over the packed community center who had gather to watch the Lady Eagle Volleyball team receive their second State Championship rings.

Coach Watson spoke highly of Coach K Wesley Davis, saying “We coach because of who we coach. We coach because of you. Coaches give up an enormous amount for you.”

He continued to admonish the culture that Davis has created, both in within the team and in the community. He spoke of how the teams that lost in the finals from 2012 to 2014 paved the way for these championships and noted how the underclassmen were serving those in attendance with excellence and a smile.

When speaking of the community, he spoke of how the room was packed with far more than just parents and grandparents. The community made the event happen and had embraced the team, and drew a chuckle when he said, “You don’t get this support in a big town. You don’t get to ride around the square honking your horn when you win in a big town. What you have is special.”

It was a special night for the team and the community, and Coach Watson could not say enough how he appreciated the invitation and the warmth of the reception he received. As he concluded, he challenged the team to be “humble, hungry, and smart” and to “Do it again, do it better, work harder, and appreciate the relationships you make.” With the coaching, the commitment, and the community we have in Paris, things look like it is a real possibility.