Five Sets with Coach Rudnick

  • By Ashley Bailey
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  • August 08, 2017 04:51 PM
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On following in her sister’s footsteps in the sport…
My older sister started playing volleyball when she was in sixth grade. I was in fourth grade and wanted to be just like her, so I started tagging along with her to watch. Her coach, Don Casey, let me start practicing, too.  He was an unbelievable coach and was very patient with me over all the years he coached me. I was very blessed to have such a strong coach and role model who poured into me both on and off the court.  I didn’t know about or start playing club volleyball, though. until my freshman year of high school. Club allowed me to play at a higher level, against stronger competition, and prepare me for college. I had great club coaches over those high school years who I still get to see now at club tournaments.
On the recruiting process …
I definitely never understood all that went into coaching when I was a player.  I thought my coaches just showed up to practice and matches and coached us.  It was eye opening to start coaching club, and then to have the opportunity to go on to coach at the collegiate level at my alma mater where my former coach, Shane Pinder, took a chance on me. The court aspect of the profession that was so visible to me as an athlete is a priority in the profession, but it is only one of the many aspects that coaches have to balance in order to build a successful program. I have had the opportunity to work with two strong head coaches who have been willing to teach me and who also have challenged me to continually grow.  Reed has allowed me to be part of all he is doing here at WVU, and it is very rewarding to build WVU volleyball with him and the staff.  I am so grateful to be able to work in the sport I love and develop lifelong relationships through it. 
The recruiting process has changed tremendously over the past few years and is very accelerated in our sport.  Volleyball is the fastest growing women’s sport, and so there are so many talented athletes out there pursuing their dream to play in college.  For volleyball, the evaluations are primarily through club tournaments and not as much through high school games, because college coaches are able to go to one tournament where there are hundreds of athletes versus just two teams at a high school match.  From the middle of January to the beginning of July, there are multiple tournaments every weekend for us to attend. Our staff decides where to go based on recruits we are already interested in or are interested in us as well as having the opportunity to see new athletes.  After attending tournaments, we look at our evaluations based on the positional needs of our program for each class and decide which athletes best fit what we are looking for in future Mountaineers.
Recruits start exploring their options early on through phone calls to coaches and campus visits.  This helps them see what universities and programs have to offer, as well as build relationships with the staff.  It has to be a fit for both parties, so this process is very important. Every one of our current players has their own story of how they became a Mountaineer. It is a unique journey for each athlete, but they all have the common passion for WVU and are united in building this program into something special.    
Daily life as a volleyball coach …
Season is definitely a busy time, so our days are pretty full. We have staff meetings to plan practices, prepare for our opponents, and discuss recruiting. There is a lot of film being watched individually, as a staff, and with players, in order to see what we need to work on and to prepare scouting reports.
We practice daily and lift a few times a week too, so training is always the focal point of the day.  I work specifically with the middle blockers during positional work. 
Since recruiting is a big part of my role, I spend quite a bit of time on the phone and emailing with recruits and coaches as well. One of the best parts of each day, is when the athletes pop into the office to say hi or to catch up. 
Goals for the Mountaineers …
Reed and our staff have a clear vision and direction for WVU volleyball. There are so many firsts for the program to accomplish, and there is a process to reach each milestone. A strong team culture is key in achieving our short term and long term goals, and everyone has to be 100% bought in.  Our athletes are women of character on and off the court who represent themselves, their families, this program and WVU at a high level.  They are coachable, great teammates, have strong work ethic, fierce competitors, and committed to getting 1% better each day in all they do. 
Our goal for this season is to be in the top half of the Big 12 and become the first WVU Volleyball team to make it to the NCAA tournament. This will be the first step in building WVU into a national powerhouse. 
The best part of being a Mountaineer …
The people and the pride! Everyone in the athletics department, at the university, in Morgantown and in the state is unbelievably friendly, genuine, helpful, supportive, and a die-hard Mountaineer fan. They believe in what WVU and the volleyball program is doing and support us every step of the way. Wearing the WV and being a Mountaineer is a special privilege.   


WVU, West Virginia, Mountaineers, NCAA, volleyball

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