Shawn Darling

Shawn Darling is leaving Pope after taking the Lady Greyhounds to a state title and two final-four appearances.

Pope is in search of a new volleyball coach.

Athletic director Josh Mathews confirmed that Shawn Darling has stepped down as head coach after three seasons at the helm. The opening for a new volleyball coach was posted February 20 on the Cobb County School District website.

Darling posted a 110-31 overall record during her stay, leading the Lady Greyhounds to the 2018 state championship in Class AAAAAA, and two final four appearances.

Mathews declined to go into specifics as to why Darling resigned. He also did not comment on Pope’s current search. Darling also could not be reached for comment.

A defensive-minded coach, Darling had Pope peaking at just the right time during her state championship season after the Lady Greyhounds were battling injuries toward the end of the regular season.

As the No. 2 seed out of Region 7AAAAAA, Pope upended defending state champion Harrison in the opening round, won a pair of five-set matches over Apalachee and Creekview before beating Allatoona in four sets for the title.

Darling took Pope to the state semifinals this year in her final season without sophomore leading hitter Stella Dees, who missed the entire season with a shoulder injury.

Prior to becoming Pope’s head coach, Darling was a former assistant coach under former coach Bryan Jones and was on staff in 2011 when Pope won its third straight state title. She also coached the JV team for two seasons.

When Jones stepped down following the 2016 season after posting more than 500 wins, Darling returned to Pope volleyball as his successor after taking three years off to raise a family.

In Darling’s inaugural season in 2017, Pope lost in four sets to eventual state champion Harrison in the state semifinals.

As a player, Darling helped lead Woodward Academy to four state titles before graduating in 2005. She went on to play at North Carolina State and Berry College.

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