Venessa (Hackett) Jacobs return for her fourth season as head volleyball coach at Southern University after serving as an assistant coach under Nathaniel Denu since 2009.
During the Jacobs era, Southern University volleyball has elevated its profile from a dormant program to the league's tournament runner-up in two short seasons. Jacobs has amassed a 20-34 overall record, improving the programs win total by for games after a 8-19 mark in her first year as head coach in 2013.
In 2014, her leadership and tenacity helped usher in a new era in Southern volleyball as the Jaguars contended for the Southwestern Athletic Conference western division title. Despite falling short, Jacobs pushed the Lady Jaguars through the 2014 SWAC Volleyball tournament, going undefeated as the No. 3 seed from the west and reaching the tournament final against Alabama State.
Known as a superior teacher of the sport, Jacobs is instrumental in developing three student-athletes into All-SWAC performers (Simone Beasley, 2013; Lelani Lealaimatafao, Diamond Williams, 2014).
During her stint as the Lady Jaguars assistant coach from 2009-2012, Jacobs handled the daily operations of the Southern University volleyball program. She also organized practice schedules and individual instruction for the Lady Jaguars and served as the program’s recruiting coordinator.
Jacobs, a native of Oxnard, Calif., was a highly decorated two-sport student-athlete during her playing career at Ventura Junior College in Ventura, Calif. before transferring to LSU in 1992. While at Ventura, Jacobs earned 1st Team All-WSC honors as a freshman while leading the volleyball team to a 20-3 season record, 16-2 in the Western State Conference.
She then proceeded to lace up her high tops at the end of the volleyball season and joined the women’s basketball team, making an instant impact.
Jacobs led the Pirates in scoring and rebounding in route to earning first team All-WSC honors despite missing the first eight games. With a late-season defeat of Moorpark, the Pirates tied for the conference title, the first of 18 consecutive WSC championships through the 2008 season.
As a sophomore, Jacobs led the most productive Pirate volleyball team in school history. The Pirates were a perfect 18-0 in WSC play, and posted a 24-2 season record. Venessa was named the MVP of the Western State Conference and was a 1st Team All-State honoree. She also earned JC All-American status from the American Volleyball Coaches Association. She led the team into the State Tournament for the first time ever, helping VC to a record-setting 3rd Place finish.
When she returned from the state volleyball tournament, Venessa headed to the basketball court, where she earned her fourth 1st-Team all-conference nod. She led the team in rebounding and was second on the team in scoring as VC posted a perfect 8-0 WSC record en route to a 25-7 season. The Pirates won their second straight conference title. Venessa is one of 13 players to appear in the team’s top 20 in both the career scoring and rebounding lists, despite playing in at least 15 fewer games than any of the other 12 players.
Jacobs earned a volleyball scholarship to Louisiana State University, where she starred for the Lady Tigers. She was named 2nd Team All-Southeastern Conference her junior year in leading the Tigers to a 26-9 record and a second place SEC finish. The Tigers had a final national ranking of no. 12 and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the 1992 NCAA Tournament. As a senior, Jacobs earned 1st Team All-SEC honors in leading the team to a 21-16 mark.
Although the Tigers did not make the NCAA Tournament, they did win the 1993 National Invitation Volleyball Tournament with a six-match winning streak to end the season. For good measure, Jacobs played on the basketball team at LSU in the 1994-95 season, leading the Tigers in field goal percentage, shooting 46.9 percent (75-160) in 27 games.
A member of the 2008 Ventura College Hall of Fame class, Jacobs earned her Bachelor of Arts degree from Louisiana State University in 1996 with a major in general studies and minors in sociology, psychology, and physical education.
Jacob and her husband Chad Jacobs share the joy of two children, Darrion Jacobs (21) and Demontrey Jacobs (19). The former All-SEC performer has worked nine years with the Louisiana Volleyball Club team and three years as a master coach with the club.