Atkins named new Orange Beach volleyball coach

Former college associate athletic director Der Hopkins to serve as assistant coach for Mako program

By Cole McNanna
Sports Editor
cole@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 1/16/23

Karen Atkins was named Orange Beach High School’s newest head volleyball coach Monday, Jan. 16. She brings 22 years of assistant and head coaching experience to the Mako volleyball program that …

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Atkins named new Orange Beach volleyball coach

Former college associate athletic director Der Hopkins to serve as assistant coach for Mako program

Posted

Karen Atkins was named Orange Beach High School’s newest head volleyball coach Monday, Jan. 16. She brings 22 years of assistant and head coaching experience to the Mako volleyball program that went to the Class 4A state semifinal last year.

Laura Der Hopkins, most recently the Senior Associate Athletic Director at Jacksonville University, was also announced as assistant volleyball coach by the school the same day.

Atkins is no stranger to the state semis where she guided the Gulf Shores Dolphins to the same round in the Class 5A bracket last year. That stretch served as the longest postseason run over Atkins’ four seasons in Gulf Shores, as well as the Dolphins' first trip to the state tournament since 2011.

Previously, Atkins had been a head volleyball coach at Dora and Curry High Schools and served as an assistant coach under Glenda Wright — now the third-winningest volleyball coach all-time in Alabama — at Walker High School. She was also head softball coach during her stops at Walker and Dora.

Atkins also brings administrative experience and Orange Beach High School announced Atkins will also be an assistant principal at the school. Previously, she served five years as principal at Townley Junior High School.

After Orange Beach earned its first postseason berth in 2020, the Makos followed that up with a trip to the Class 2A state title match the following year. Last season, Sunne Young took over before the campaign and led a state semifinal run in a larger classification.

Now Atkins, who also coached at the club level with the Pleasure Island Storm, will have her chance to lead Orange Beach back to the state championship.

The Makos will compete in Class 4A’s Area 1 once again where Satsuma, St. Michael Catholic and UMS-Wright will also fight for the top spot.

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