Jennifer Hawk’s coaching experience carries a distinct southern flavor after working for college volleyball programs in Louisiana, Georgia and Alabama.
Now she’s home as the new head coach at Perry Meridian High School.
Known as Jennifer Gandolph during her playing days at Center Grove, she led the Trojans to the Class 4A state championship as a senior outside hitter in 2000.
Hawk, the youngest of former Center Grove baseball coach Dave Gandolph and his wife Ann’s four children, lived and worked in the south for over a decade but is happy to be back.
“I’m very excited,” said Hawk, who returned to central Indiana with her husband Garrett and the couple’s young daughter, Skylar, in August. “I really wanted Skylar to grow up around family, and I was never sure if that was going to happen.
“But last May, my husband got an email from his job saying this was where we were going.”
Hawk is employed as a sales associate at the new Orangetheory Fitness studio scheduled to open in April in Greenwood.
Perry Meridian volleyball is coming off a 16-15 season in which the Falcons won their own Class 4A sectional before losing a regional match at Avon.
The program is scheduled to remain part of Conference Indiana for the 2017 season, but will revamp its schedule for the following fall as the newest member of the Mid-State Conference.
“The schools around here have that Southside rivalry with each other, which is going to be fun,” Hawk said.
At Center Grove, the 6-foot-1 Hawk produced 22 kills in her final high school outing, a 17-19, 15-12, 16-14 victory over Muncie Central in the 4A title match at Noblesville High School. She went on to establish numerous single-season and career records at the University of Michigan before shifting her focus to coaching.
Stops at the University of New Orleans, University of Georgia and Samford University (located in Birmingham, Alabama) preceded a move to back to the New Orleans area to coach Archbishop Chapelle High School.
A private all-girls school of approximately 800 students, Archbishop Chapelle had a record of 124-76 in Hawk’s five seasons. In 2013, the Chipmunks made it all the way to the Final Four of the Division I and finished the season with a record of 40-6.
Perry Meridian has a rich volleyball tradition with 21 sectional championships, including six in the past 10 years. The Falcons own two regional titles and were state finalists in 1986.
Hawk hopes to build on that impressive past.
“As a coach, I’m pretty technical. I like to focus on details and get my players to learn the sport and teach them how to scout an opponent,” she said. “I’m not a yeller, but more of a teacher.”
Name: Jennifer Hawk
Family: Husband Garrett; daughter Skylar, 17 months
High school: Center Grove (2001)
College: University of Michigan (2005)
Major: Sports Management and Communication
Did you know?: Hawk finished her playing career at the University of Michigan with program standards in kills (1,562), attempts (4,084), digs (1,381) and matches played (123).