This is an entry in my volleyball coaching log for the 2020-21 season for both the men and women.

School starts today!

That’s right. It’s officially the first day of classes here at Medaille College. Most of the students moved in over the weekend, but those who needed to quarantine arrived back on the 13th. I got to be a traffic warden on campus yesterday, helping keep the flow of parents and students moving into the dorms orderly. This is the sort of extra stuff full-time coaches at the Division III level often get pulled into!

Player stuff

Heading into the second week of August, three players faced a 14-day quarantine coming to campus from out of state. As it turns out, a state coming off NY’s list freed two of them from that requirement. One, though, decided to come early anyway. She was allowed to move right into her dorm room.

For those wondering, students under quarantine could go outside on campus, but not into any other buildings than the one they isolated in. They had to stay on campus. No visitors allowed. Meals came via delivery from the cafeteria.

One of the other interesting adjustments is no additional help moving into the dorm this year. Normally, when the students come back, you can help them with the move it. Or even just go over ahead of time and post something up on their door. This year that was a no-go.

It will probably come as no surprise that first thing yesterday morning I had a text from the A.D. sent to all the coaches talking about an issue with a house off campus hosting multiple large house parties. We are basically adjacent to Canisius College, so it isn’t necessarily a Medaille student situation. Still, it’s reportedly and athlete house, so we hear about it.

Recruiting seminar

Here at Medaille we are a client of a service that helps schools do a better job in their recruiting efforts. It’s something they started about a year ago with an initial staff seminar. I’ve seen some of the material that’s come through since then, but need to take some time to really delve into all the content available.

The second week of August all the full-time coaches did another seminar. It was in part some follow-up from the initial one. The rest, though, was mainly about recruiting in the current environment. Afterwards, I was able to sit down with the presenter (a former Athletic Director) to talk for about 45 minutes on my strategies and thoughts with respect to my two programs.

Recruiting

The work on recruiting continues.

Got to take my first Division III recruiting exam last week. For those who don’t know, the NCAA requires all coaches to do them annually to make sure you know the rules. Funny thing is in D3 the NCAA doesn’t actually require you to pass, though your institution probably does. Anyway, got tripped up a few times, but it’s done now for this cycle.

A couple weeks back I actually got to go watch some prospects in a showcase hosted by the areas big local club. It was the first time in a place with real, live volleyball happening since March. I realized belatedly that I did this without having done the NCAA exam yet. I didn’t have any contact with recruits or parents, though, so no problem.

We currently have four 2021 application from recruits for the women’s team and one for the men’s. Applications are a long way from commitment, though, so none of these is a done deal.

SAAC

One of the additional duties I’ve been assigned here is Advisor to SAAC – the Student Athlete Athletic Committee. If you’re an NCAA school, you have one. And it isn’t just a local thing. There are conference and national level meetings as well.

My first task for the Medaille SAAC was to figure out who was going to represent us at our conference meetings. The first of them took place back during the second week of the month. I sat in just to get a sense of what it was about, as I’m a rookie in this role. Basically, they discussed whether athletes would actually use the extra year of eligibility the NCAA will grant anyone who has a season cut short or lost due to COVID, concerns about the virus, social justice, and mental health issues.

My second duty has been to get 2 reps from each team. As of this writing, I’m still missing submissions from one coach even though I asked for them on by the 21st. There’s always someone!

There are some general expectations for SAAC at Medaille in terms of what the administration wants to see from them each year. Beyond that, I’ve already asked to have them help out with an upcoming blood drive and to join in with a wider effort to help get out the vote in November.

My To-Do List

As you might recall, I had a list in the last update of things I plan on working on since there was no preseason to deal with. I addressed a couple above. Here are some of the others.

  • Alumni relations: Got a list of alumni
  • Getting out into the local volleyball community: The showcase I mentioned allowed me to meet a few folks
  • Defining and documenting processes for the things we have to do on a regular basis: We’ve made a start
  • Developing a fund-raising strategy: Nowhere yet
  • Deciding on an approach to community service: This will be a group conversation with the teams

I need to add “Creating a consistent social media content plan” to the list moving forward.


John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Men's & Women's Head Volleyball Coach at Medaille College, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy (formerly Charleston Academy). His previous experience includes the college and university level in the US and UK, professional coaching in Sweden, and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. Learn more on his bio page.

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