Last week the department of athletics tapped West Texas native and Ole Miss assistant coach, Angela Mooney. Mooney became the ninth volleyball head coach in ACU’s history and fills the void left by the firing of Jason Bibler, Jan. 27
Bibler helped lead the Wildcats to a third place finish this year, but was just 27-63 overall in his three seasons at ACU, however, he was critical in moving the program through the Div. 1 transition.
Director of athletics, Lee De Leon said despite how swift the process might have seemed, it was a very thorough process. De Leon and his team After a former colleague of De Leon’s from New Mexico, who coach Mooney while she played at Texas Texas recommended her to De Leon, she was the top candidate from beginning to end.
“Angela was our top candidate from the beginning to the end, and we talked to a lot of other people throughout the process,” De Leon said. “But ultimately we realized we weren’t going to find anyone better and we decided to move forward with an offer and not drag out the process.”
De Leon said Mooney’s official start date is Feb. 20, which will begin the team’s preparation for its first season as an official Div. 1 competitor. Mooney said she is looking forward to the challenge postseason eligibility brings.
“To me, it is an advantage and a great challenge I am looking forward to facing with our team,” Mooney said. “The program has found success in the Southland Conference, but was not eligible for postseason play. I am anxious to see what all we can achieve with the championship status now a goal and factor.”
Mooney started her coach career after a successful playing career with Texas Tech from 2000-2003. She recorded 930 kills, 348 digs and 229 blocks in her career, and also earned academic all-Big 12 honors in 2003.
Before working at Ole Miss, Mooney spent time at University of Texas-El Paso and South Dakota State as an assistant coach. Mooney helped lead Ole Miss to a 61-35 record over the last three seasons as the program posted three-straight winning seasons for the first time since the mid-1980s and the most wins in a three-year span since the 1984-1986 seasons.
It is many of the experiences Mooney believes has helped prepare her for the task ahead.
“I do know I have worked with and played for some great people in my past,” Mooney said. “Mentors and real leaders who have pushed, challenged and helped guide me while I was shaping my own ideals and philosophies in anticipation of being a successful head coach.”
For Mooney, her familiarity with ACU from her time as a player and coach, along with the university’s of ideals which emphasize more than just success on the court, were influential in her taking the job.
De Leon said the four things which factored into the decision most were Mooney’s west Texas ties, strong Dallas recruiting ties, high level Div. 1 experience and a strong Christian faith.
“Angela is extremely positive, very encouraging and very optimistic,” De Leon said. “Yet at the same time she is very organized, very structured and very meticulous, and that’s something that is very important to me. She had the personality that fit what I was looking for, and then she also has the level of detail and organization in addition to the positive and encouraging personality.”
Jacey Smith, sophomore outside hitter and a second team all-Conference recognition last season echoed De Leon and said Mooney will bring a positive energy to the team.
“I think she comes in with a lot of high level playing and coaching experience, which will definitely help us excel,” Smith said. “I know that she’ll bring a lot of energy and positivity to our team. We’re all ready to be pushed and challenged so we can improve and be the best.”
Next season will be the first the team is able to advance to postseason play and the program will add beach volleyball next spring.
Mooney said her hope in her first season is to improve on the foundation built over the last four of transition.