December 4, 2012

Roadrunners cross another hire off to-do list

Dalton State College’s reborn athletic program found three coaches for its men’s basketball team, tennis program and competitive cheerleading squad all with Northwest Georgia ties.

For his latest hire, Roadrunner’s Athletic Director Derek Waugh went international.

Brazilian native Bruna Langner, a three-time NAIA All-American at Lee University and an assistant coach at the school in Cleveland, Tenn., was announced on Monday as Dalton State’s women’s volleyball coach.

“Bruna’s pedigree as a player and a coach helped her cause but you do not hire people just on the basis of who they have been associated with,” Waugh said in a press release from the college. “We think she is a great fit because she is intelligent, enthusiastic and loves the game of volleyball.

“She also has numerous local contacts and is very well-connected internationally. We are excited to have her on board and once our funding is competitive with other teams nationally, I have no doubt she will have our team competitive nationally.”

Langner, a native of Curitiba, Brazil, played for the Flames for four years and was the Southern States Athletic Conference Player of the Year and the NAIA Region XIII Player of the Year in 2006. During her playing years, Lee made four straight appearances in the NAIA national tournament, and the middle blocker is the school’s all-time leader in blocks.

She is in the top 10 in four different statistical categories for the Flames and was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame in November.

“I am super excited, and I know everything will start with recruiting,” Langner said. “I will try to find the best girls that I can, and we will definitely concentrate on Georgia and Tennessee.

“I know a lot of coaches and programs, and we will also look at some junior college kids. We need experience.”

The Lady Roadrunners will begin play in 2013 but will not be eligible for postseason play until 2014.

After her playing career came to an end, Langner spent a year as a graduate assistant while getting her masters degree in education from the University of the Cumberlands. After another year as a grad assistant at Lee, she was hired to the staff and has been an assistant to coach Andrea Hudson for the last five years.

The Flames recently concluded their 11th overall appearance and fifth consecutive trip to the NAIA national tournament. Lee University finished the season with a 30-11 mark and will jump to NCAA Division II next season.

Langner joins tennis coach Michel Bates, cheerleading coach Robyn Newell and men’s basketball coach Tony Ingle. The school is still seeking a golf coach for teams for both men and women. The school is also planning men’s and women’s cross country.

The volleyball team will call the school’s Bandy Gymnasium its new home as the more than 40-year-old facility will undergo a projected $425,000 renovation. Announced in November, the renovation will include new wood flooring and replacement of the bleachers, ceiling and lighting. The venue’s entrance also will be enhanced. Waugh said the new facility will hold between 300 and 400 spectators, which he called “perfect” for volleyball. It also will be the basketball team’s practice facility.

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