December 8, 2008

Random Volleyball Thoughts on a Monday

Monday morning - Don't really want to start working my paid job (hey, it is the off-season and the NCAA Quiet Period started today), so it is more fun to put on cyber paper some thoughts bouncing around in my head.

  • The Pac 10 seems to be as strong as ever, getting 5 of the 6 selected teams into the Sweet 16. Big 10 also did well, but Minnesota losing at home must still sting.
  • Each year, the humble masses hope for more non-power conference schools to get NCAA bids (spread the wealth), yet by the round of 16, the power conferences fill the ranks - Only Western Michigan and Hawaii are not from a traditional power conference, and Hawaii is synonymous with women's college volleyball. Congrats to Western Michigan for carrying the non-majors banner; now you get to play Penn State.
  • I stand corrected, each Regional Final will be televised on ESPNU according to the bracket on In an earlier post, I had vented that we drastically changed our sport to have two matches on television. Any increase in media exposure is good and I hope this trends toward getting televised on a channel that more people may have on their cable or satellite systems.
  • The brackets on the site (I have direct linked to the DI bracket, but DII and DIII are also available) is cool. It is easy to use, you can gain the in-game and post-game information by just putting your mouse on the match up. Getting the game scores and box score immediately is a nice feature.
  • The older I get, the more I appreciate the NCAA Quiet and Dead Periods. It is nice to have an excuse not to go out recruiting. In my younger days, I had voted against recruiting limitations, but now I vote to extend the Quiet and Dead periods. Part of it is selfish because it is easier to shoot e-mails out, rather than travel to another club tournament or practice and part of it is just the reality of women's college volleyball - There is a huge gap between the Haves and the Have Nots; the NCAA recruiting limitations can make this gap a bit more manageable.
  • I am surprised by the number of job listing already posted on the NCAA site and there are about 4 others that I know are open, which are not posted. The trend seems to be to get the job announcement out, collect applications and make telephone calls before Christmas, then move quickly into interviewing after the New Year (couple of serious athletic departments will actually hire before Christmas!). Some schools will terminate and then just wait until after the Holidays before moving forward, while others will just have a lengthy application period.
  • College Volleyball Coaching is in a Twilight Zone - The Athletic Directors no longer control Football or Basketball (these sports report to the President), so we are next on the totum poll for them to administer. The problem is, college volleyball coaches and programs have come under scrutiny (because the AD's rightly wish to administer some sport) and expectations, but we do not have the corresponding financial (i.e. good salaries) support; thus my term the Twilight Zone.
  • Professionally, it is a bit frightening when college coaches are getting terminated after 20 win seasons, or after being consistently in the NCAA Championship but then having an couple of down years. I have no sympathy for football/basketball coaches who get the ax because they are walking with million dollar good-byes (Fulmer at Tennessee got 6 million and Prince at Kansas State got 1.2 million and he only was a head coach for 3 years!). Volleyball coaches are lucky to get a couple of month's salary and benefits when they are given the pink slip.
  • Piling on my professional concerns - Football and Basketball head coaches are in enviable spot if terminated; other non-head coaching positions pay very well. In football, offensive and defensive coordinators in the power conference schools are making over 250K! The top basketball assistant coaches routinely pull in over 100K. We are not even considering the option of jumping to the professional ranks to shag balls (Sampson after breaking enough NCAA rules to last two lifetimes is now an assistant in the NBA and Nueheisel jumped to the NFL while he sorted through the lawsuits post U. of Washington). Ex head volleyball coaches are really stuck - Assistant positions do not pay well and we are easily considered a threat to a current head coach. The only realistic option is to drop a rank (either go low DI, if you were a high DI coach or DII/DII); scary, scary, scary - I should have made better grades in school!
  • Some good Sweet 16 match-ups this weekend. I will post in depth, supposedly expert picks on Wednesday/Thursday, but I will venture an upset special - UCLA over Texas.
  • Do you think USA Volleyball (or Doug Beal) will pick an American, or possibly two, to be the next Head Coaches of the United States of America National Volleyball Teams? One can't argue with his picks this last Olympics, but call me crazy, I would like to see USA citizens coaching our USA Olympic Teams. Lots of reasons/excuses why there are not Americans as the coach, but the fix-it is just to pay more money. Amazingly simple.
  • I still cannot believe that Misty May (I dropped the hyphen for simplicity) blew her Achilles tendon on Dancing with the Stars.
  • It is with a deep sense of forbidding that I await an e-mail from the NCAA Rules Committee. Come the spring season, we (college volleyball programs) are requested to vote/try out new rules, which according to protocol, will be re-voted/evaluated after the spring season, but somehow always manage to become rules no matter the voting returns.
  • I have heard that some of the outer islands in Hawaii still play old school, sideout and ball handling rules. I may have to move there soon to find my volleyball happy place.
  • Amazing how soccer, arguable one of the slowest sports for long stretches of game clock has stayed true to its self and enjoys world wide popularity and a solid base of loyal fans in the USA. Just think about all the rules changes and adjustments they could have made, yet they stayed simple and beautiful.
  • I did some math with the AVCA Convention approaching - $984.00! This reflects the AVCA Convention Registration, the DI Head Coach annual membership and 1 set of NCAA Championship tickets. This does not include hotel costs (which is crazy for Omaha, Nebraska in December), rental car and food. This short week can easily ramp up to over $2,ooo!!! Yes, I know it does not come out of my pocket, but $2,000 is a few recruiting trips, going to a cool spring tournament, two laptop computers for the program - Or, supporting an organization that is more concerned with beach volleyball and signing up the junior high volleyball coach in Waxahachie, rather than being proactive in the development of coaching as a financially rewarding career.

OK - Enough stalling, I need to earn my keep! Have a nice Monday!