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


I rounded out my staff for 2020-21 last week by bringing back the other main assistant from last season. The initial indication I had was that she wouldn’t be available, but that didn’t end up being the case. We had a good conversation, and it struck me that she would offer some good balance to the staff. Like my other assistant, she too played at Medaille. I’m looking forward to the two of them helping me develop a deep understanding of what it means to be a part of the school and the program.


We’re definitely getting things ramped up. The fact that most prospects don’t have recent video because of the abrupt end to the juniors season definitely makes things interesting, but at the end of the day doesn’t impact things that much. The exception is the case of those players who didn’t already have at least some video. I know some have put clips together based on beach training/play, skills work, and the things like that. Those are better than nothing, I suppose, but definitely have limits.

As things currently stand, I’m looking at bringing in two each of setters, middles, and outside hitters for the women’s team. Potentially throw in an opposite as well, depending on the capabilities of who we get. We currently have no setters, just a couple with some setting experience. We also don’t have anyone who is listed as an OH, but a couple have played there before. What we do have is approximately half a roster of liberos and defensive specialists. So you can guess what position we don’t need to recruit.

On the men’s side, we need to bring in a sizeable group of players. We might only have 9 on the roster for this year. There are two of last year’s seniors who could yet decide to return for another season, and possibly a freshman we might get some use from (he’s also playing baseball). There might be the potential to add a couple, which will help. Regardless, we have our work to do for next year. Of those 9 I mention, only 4 are not 2020 or 2021 grads. The school wants me to carry 15, so I might need 11 new players next year! I might not need a libero in that group, but I definitely need everything else.


I’ve basically finished up 1-on-1 meetings with all the women’s players. I also had my first meeting with the men last week in a group Zoom. As was the case with my initial group Zoom with the women’s team, it was just a bit of a get to know you session. I probably won’t do 1-on-1 meetings with them until school starts.


On Friday I got the word from the AD that our conference finally made the decision not to have a Fall season. That was officially announced on Monday. This was pretty much inevitable as the AD told me the day before that only four Division III conferences were left who hadn’t made that decision yet. The current plan is to run at least a conference season in the second semester. At this point I don’t know what that’s going to look like, or how it could impact the men’s season. Either way, it looks like I’m in for a very interesting, and likely intense, second semester!

Looking ahead

Since I now don’t have a season to worry about, I’m planning to turn a lot of attention to the more program-building aspects of my work. These are things I’d be looking to do anyway, but when you have the immediate issues of being in-season they tend to get put on the back burner. This includes stuff like:

  • Recruiting, recruiting, recruiting!
  • Alumni relations
  • Getting out into the local volleyball community (to the degree possible)
  • Defining and documenting processes for the things we have to do on a regular basis
  • Developing a fund-raising strategy
  • Deciding on an approach to community service
  • Creating a unified Medaille Volleyball culture including both teams

In other words, basically everything non-volleyball related we can work on to make the two programs stronger and a better experience for the student-athletes.

On that subject, I need to come up with an engagement play for the first semester. The Athletic Department already has some ideas in mind for all sports, but I’ll want to do some things more directly related to my teams.

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John Forman
John Forman

John is currently the Talent Strategy Manager (oversees the national teams) and Indoor Performance Director for Volleyball England, as well as Global Director for Volleyball for Nation Academy. His volleyball coaching experience includes all three NCAA divisions, plus Junior College, in the US; university and club teams in the UK; professional coaching in Sweden; and both coaching and club management at the Juniors level. He's also been a visiting coach at national team, professional club, and juniors programs in several countries. Learn more on his bio page.

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