1

Forever In

Posted Sunday, October 11th, 2015

This past weekend we had a match at Iowa Wesleyan.  After the match several of the girls and myself stayed an extra night and went to watch a volleyball match at the University of Iowa.  It was homecoming weekend for the Hawkeyes and the campus was alive.  Before the match we had some time to kill and we cruised the parking lot where tons of tailgaters were lined up to support their team.  We met a very nice couple and of course we asked for a tour of their ridiculous RV (it’s what we do).  It was very impressive, but what was even more impressive was their love for Hawkeye football.  They were alums and everything they owned seemed to have the Hawk on it.

Next weekend we celebrate our homecoming and I couldn’t be more excited.  I have been around GC Volleyball in some capacity for 27 years now and I have loved every minute of it.

We operate with one fairly simple principle; we value people and relationships above all else.  When you build something that conducts itself in such a manner, you give people a sense of belonging and a sense of purpose.  Once you have established belonging and purpose you can determine what the function of that group will be.  Ours happens to be winning as many volleyball matches as possible.

Once you have been in this environment and you sacrifice so much to work with others towards a common goal it becomes part of you, something you will always identify with.

When you look at our coaching staff you always see at least one alum, on occasion we have 2 or 3.  They have been a part of something special and they want to continue that tradition for the next generation of kids.

We ask so much of our players and there is a high level of accountability in our program.  The accountability rarely comes from me at this point, rather it comes from the captains and the upper classmen.  It has been passed down from the players before them because each class understands the importance of protecting what we have built.

At the beginning of every season we layout all the expectations for a member of this team and we are very upfront and clear about who we are.  The culture is the most important thing we have and we protect it with all that, at all costs.

Once the expectations are clear and our players know who we are we ask them to join our team.  Joining this team should never be taken lightly, it’s not for everyone.  If they choose to join us, they let us know they are “in”.  Once we establish who is “in”, the season officially starts.

It’s an experience players will never forget and it’s always here for them, that is the beauty of the culture we have built, its something that sustains itself for generations.  We want this to be a place that alums can always count on and a place they can always return to.

We want them to be “Forever in”

21

200 Thank yous

Posted Monday, September 30th, 2013

The thing I remember most about my first year as head coach is talking for hours on the phone with athletic director Doug Faulkner (if you know him at all you understand). He knew I was in way over my head and he wanted to make sure he helped me with every aspect of being a head coach. I fumbled my way through that season and several after, but I will never forget his investment and his desire to make me successful.

That’s kind of how its been for me my entire time at Greenville. From the beginning God has put amazing people in my path and its been an incredible ride. I remember the phone call I got from then head coach Pam Craig my sophomore year of college, she new I played for the men’s club team and had helped at the high school and she offered my the assistant coaching position. After her time as head coach I convinced Rick Mcpeak to take over the team, coaching with him was such a great experience. He taught me a lot about building a community and how to view all things we do as worship.

Once I took over as head coach I was immediately spoiled with Great assistants that poured countless hours into making the program what it is. Jamie, Heather, Megan, Meredith, Jill, Fin, Jenna, Bill, Anne, Suzanne, Ashley, Krystine, Ivan, and especially Dash who was with me for my 3 best years (Dash and I have 135 wins together). I can’t thank all of you enough for your contribution to this team and for all the great memories you helped make and the lives you have touched.

The culture we have developed at Greenville has attracted some amazing players who also just happen to be amazing people. Our “best kids” attract more “best kids” and the tradition continues. My life has truly been blessed by the players I have coached, I truly consider them my family and I would do anything for any one of them. Thank you all for teaching me so much and for giving your all to this program.

This 200th win belongs to Doug, the coaches that gave me a chance, all my assistants, and especially my players. I look forward to seeing who God puts in my path to help me reach my 400th win at GC.

15

Experience breeds Empathy

Posted Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Some people are naturally empathetic and have the ability to truly put themselves in other’s shoes. I am always amazed at my wife’s gift of empathy; she can literally feel the emotions and experience the thoughts of other people no matter what it is they are going through. It gives her an amazing perspective on how to help people and how to relate to people. She can see all the angles and not approach other peoples problems through her own perspective, but approach it from the individual’s perspective. It allows her to come along side the person and work together through a solution.

Unfortunately, I am not naturally gifted in the way my wife is, but luckily I get to be married to her and get a little insight into what it means to be empathetic.

I think every coach goes through phases in their career, and we have to keep evolving as we get wiser (the word I am going to use instead of older). I started coaching collegiately as a sophomore in college and when I say I didn’t know anything about coaching, I am not exaggerating. I thought because I could hit a ball kind of hard on a girl’s net that I could be a good coach. As surprising as it was to me, that was not the case –weird, right? I loved volleyball and I loved the team concepts, but I really didn’t understand how to teach either one. I was there for me and wanted to feel like I was so valuable people would just get better because I was present. I think a lot of young coaches experience this — the feeling that I am here and that’s enough, if players don’t improve and our team isn’t successful then it’s the players’ fault not mine. I’ve tried to come up with a really clever name for that phase in my coaching career, “too cool for school,” “get over yourself,” “wow, you are awesome, idiot,” “nobody is impressed.”. None of those felt right, so I’ll move on.

After about three years (yes, I am a slow learner) I started to figure some things out, not many, but some. I realized that my skills had no value other than the ability to lead drills, which really isn’t that important in the grand scheme of things. I started to understand that teams are built by relationships and that athletes are developed by training not watching. I could see what needed to be done for us to improve, but I still didn’t know how to do those things. This phase I’ll call “ready to learn.”

Fast forward to the phase I am experiencing now. I skipped a few phases, but stick with me here.

This generation of players wants more than anything to be understood, to be heard from, and to be connected. I have learned that empathy allows me to approach each player differently and it gives me insight into how individuals are best coached. You can’t coach every player the same and without empathy you can’t understand what it is that each player needs. This isn’t easy and I fail at this all the time, but I appreciate its value and I work hard to see things through my players’ eyes. Luckily I am surrounded by an amazing group of people who have a natural ability to do this and it keeps me on my toes. When we strive to understand first and be understood second incredible things happen.
Mathew 7:12-“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

All of us want to be understood and to be heard, but first we have to understand and to listen. When you are around people who do their best to understand you and listen to you, there is an energy that follows, it motivates you and you will accomplish spectacular things. I have seen this principle applied first hand and when it happens it’s magical.

If you truly want to be a part of a team, a real team, then you have to have empathy for everyone involved.

Teams are built when EVERYONE understands, “It’s not all about me.”

249

New Staff, Familiar Faces

Posted Thursday, August 9th, 2012

I have been blessed with a great coaching staff my entire career and the 2012 season will be no exception. Christy Dashiell will return for her third season as an assistant and we will be adding Suzanne Davis and Ivan Estevez to our staff.

Christy will train the middles this fall and continue to coordinate travel and handle other administrative duties.  She has been the backbone of this program for several years and we are fortunate to have her for another season.

Suzanne was recently hired as a full time professor at Greenville and her main responsibility with the team will be ball control and training the outside hitters. Suzanne served most recently as the head coach at Tuscola high school and she was the club director for Blaze Volleyball Club. Suzanne played volleyball at Greenville and graduated in 2000. I was an assistant coach while Suzanne played and her competitive nature and drive to succeed will be a huge asset to the team.

Ivan has years of experience as a setter and will work with that position this fall. Coach Estevez and I played club volleyball together for several years and I am excited for the knowledge he will bring to our offense.

New Coaches Interview

10

The Bus

Posted Saturday, March 31st, 2012

As I look back on 15 seasons of volleyball at GC it is easy for me to say that we have had several good years and I have honestly enjoyed all of them. There is however a distinct difference between the good years and the great years and that distinction comes down to who we have had guiding the team. Whether it was our seniors, our captains, the core (our leadership team), or the coaches, these were the determining factors between a good year and a great year. Even if we won more on certain years, they didn’t quite live up to the years that we had everyone on the same page and moving the same direction, everyone on the same bus.

It is so easy for me as a head coach to come up with a cookie cutter plan for the year and then just plug people into each role that has been predetermined by me. I have see that system work, but a team will never reach its full potential if you make the mistake of deciding where you are going before you decide on who will take you there. In his book Good to Great Jim Collins says great companies “got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it. They said, in essence, “Look, I don’t really know where we should take this bus. But I know this much: If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great.”

This reinforces to me that everything we do is about relationships and that is the driving force behind almost every endeavor, without solid, real relationships, the things we try to accomplish will seem empty. A great plan and great vision without great people is irrelevant.

This off-season I have spent more time than ever trying to get the right people on the bus and in the right seats. We have lost and added at least one member to every important leadership role we have within our team and the pieces are all coming together perfectly. We have 1 new captain, 2 new core members, 2 new coaches, and we are still considering hiring a graduate assistant. The returning members to our leadership teams and coaching staff possess all the qualities that are essential to greatness: Loyalty, commitment, character, passion, and integrity. In addition to that our team will return stronger than ever and we are adding a freshman class that could prove to be one of the strongest classes in quite some time.

There is new life in our team and the excitement level is an all time high. The meetings with the core have been energizing and I am confident after each meeting that we have made excellent choices putting those players in those positions.

My job is not over, we still have one seat to fill, but I am confident that God will provide for us or present an alternative that would be an even better situation. As I get on the bus I still don’t know exactly where we are going, but I would go anywhere this bus takes me because of the people on it. Beep, Beep.

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