STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA/MSU Athletics) – Julie Darty, who has served as the head coach at Jacksonville University since 2014, has been named Mississippi State’s 12th head volleyball coach, Director of Athletics John Cohen announced on Friday.
“Julie is a bright, hard-working and passionate coach,” Cohen said. “She has been very successful in creating a brand for her programs, and she’s been a part of successful teams at several levels. Julie is determined to lead Mississippi State volleyball to new heights. We are excited to welcome Julie to Starkville.”
Darty has eight years of collegiate coaching experience, including four years as a head coach and two years as an assistant in the Southeastern Conference. The 31-year-old makes her debut in Starkville after turning Jacksonville into one of the Atlantic Sun’s top programs. The 2013 and 2014 AVCA “Thirty under 30” award winner, she led the Dolphins to the 2014 Atlantic Sun Tournament championship and a NCAA tournament appearance during her first year as a collegiate head coach.
“I am just so humbled and grateful for the opportunity to lead Mississippi State volleyball,” Darty said. “There is a tremendous amount of potential and growth for our program, and I’m excited to get into the gym with our team and grind it out.
“I’m a competitor. I want to help us find a will to win to turn this program into a contender in the SEC and the region. I know Mississippi State is a special place, and the potential is endless.”
During her Jacksonville tenure (2014-17), Darty coached 11 All-Atlantic Sun honorees, including five first-team selections, five ASUN All-Tournament selections and three ASUN All-Academic Team members. This past season, she guided the Dolphins to an 18-10 overall record and a 9-2 home mark while overcoming adversity left in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Jacksonville’s Swisher Gymnasium was unplayable for much of the season, and the Dolphins were forced to practice and play in several area gymnasiums.
The Dolphins also finished the season with a 12-2 mark against ASUN Conference opponents to earn the No. 2 seed in the league tournament. It was the first time since the 2013 season that Jacksonville posted 10 or more wins in the ASUN and received higher than the third seed in the ASUN tournament. Six Dolphins earned All-ASUN accolades and Mackenzie Swan was the second player under Darty's leadership to earn ASUN Defensive Player of the Year accolades.
Darty posted 58 career wins in four seasons, and she earned her 50th career victory in 2017 – a 3-1 victory over Kennesaw State. Other notable victories during her tenure included a 3-1 triumph over Lipscomb, which crowned the Dolphins the 2014 ASUN Tournament Champions; a 3-2 defeat over Stephen F. Austin in 2015; a 3-0 sweep of Presbyterian in 2016; and a 3-2 conquest over Bethune-Cookman in 2017 to push JU to 51-0 all-time against the Wildcats.
In 2017, Darty’s squad ranked first in overall digs in the Atlantic Sun with 1,846. Jacksonville finished 38th in the NCAA and first in the conference with 16.94 digs per set. The Dolphins also finished third in the ASUN with 1,425 team kills and 211.5 total blocks.
In January 2017, Darty also took on the role of director of volleyball over the university’s beach program. Under Darty’s tutelage, the beach program captured back-to-back appearances in the ASUN Championship (2015-16), and the 2016 season also saw the Dolphins sweep South Carolina in the Gamecock Invitational.
In her first season with the Dolphins and her first year as a head coach, Darty led the indoor program to its third conference tournament championship. Jacksonville won four of its final five ASUN matches to earn the No. 3 seed in the league tournament. Defeating each opponent, 3-1, the Dolphins were crowned the 2014 ASUN Champions, earning an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
Year two saw an improved win mark in league play (8-6) and several league distinctions including All-Atlantic Sun Defensive Player of the Year, two All-Atlantic Sun First Team honors, an Academic All-Conference honor, and an All-Atlantic Sun Tournament honor.
Before Jacksonville, Darty spent two seasons at the University of South Carolina (2012-13) where she was the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for the Gamecocks. After the 2012 season, she was named to the AVCA’s “Thirty Under 30” list as one of the rising stars in the coaching world. In her time in Columbia, the Gamecocks won 30 games and posted just their second winning record in a decade during the 2012 season.
Prior to South Carolina, Darty spent a pair of seasons at Villanova University where the Wildcats posted back-to-back top-four finishes in the 15-team Big East in the 2010 and 2011 seasons. She got her start as an assistant coach at Lake Mary (Fla.) High School. At the same time, she helped with two club teams in the Orlando area.
Darty, an Oviedo, Fla., native, holds a degree in communications from Mercer, where she graduated in 2008. As a four-year player for the Bears, Darty earned A-Sun All-Freshman honors and led the team in kills per set all four years, setting the career record in program history for that category.