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One Month in at Miami Volleyball

What do you do after you land the job and actually arrive on campus? Hold your breath and hang on for the ride.

Coach-Chuck-Rey-Miami-VolleyballIs it the journey or the destination? I sometimes ponder this question when recruiting players. Is it simply their goal to earn a college scholarship and be satisfied with that achievement or does that player truly want to succeed on the collegiate level? I have found that some high school players have reached their goal of getting to college and are almost distraught when they realize getting to college was the easy part, excelling in college will take a lot of hard work.

When you finally land that new assistant coach job, is it about the journey or the destination? For me, it’s always been about the journey. I’ve often referred to the Chinese proverb, “The journey is the reward” throughout my blog.

What’s the first month like on a new job? Awesome, overwhelming, crazy, time consuming, flattering, humbling, and all that I could have imagined and more. Here’s is what to expect, at least from my perspective…

The Calm Before the Storm
The excitement of learning you officially landed the job is awesome. After you land the job, there is an eagerness to start immediately, but you can’t because you’re not there. You are still stuck in your “old world”, saying goodbyes, closing accounts, and have this anxious subconscious optimistic anticipation of the unknown life ahead. There is the dreaded packing, determining your favorite clothes from the past school to keep as mementos (as you won’t dare wear the old school’s clothes at the new school), and the long drive with the trailer of your life in tow.

Screen Shot 2013-03-08 at 1.38.22 PMUpon arrival, the 7 degree weather is a realistic slap in the face from the 70 degree weather of which I departed. I say a zero fell off somewhere along the route. The reality is that you don’t have anyone to call to help unload the trailer, as you don’t know anyone to call in this new city. You unload a trailer by yourself, using an old skateboard as your “helper” on the other end of your queen size mattress, and you later rest your body on this mattress in this completely unfamiliar, strange smelling apartment with that weird ticking noise that won’t let you fall asleep. Reality sinks in to the pit of your stomach, “Where am I? Why am I here?!?!”

You’re ready to dive in on the first day, but you can’t. There is this beastly department called Human Resources that needs you to sign your life away. You’re supposed to have the social security numbers of your beneficiaries? I’m lucky to even know the street address of the place I just moved. Hours are spent in HR talking about the University, where to park, where to get your parking sticker, where to eat, where to park when you want to eat. Don’t forget to choose one the eight-­‐hundred health care options and the never-­‐ending PowerPoint presentations on preventing harassment and discrimination.

Week One
Needless to say, in the first week, you meet so many new people you forget your own name. It’s always exciting to meet the team and watch their interaction and level of play. It’s even difficult to remember their names, although you spent hours researching them online and mulled over their statistics.

Month One
In the first month, I made it a point to invite each player to coffee or lunch. Not all have accepted the invitation yet, as each are on their own timeline. Some need time to know who you are in the gym, while others want to get to know you right away. But they are slowing trickling in and I am patient with each one of them in their own way.

I wrote an introductory letter to the great Miami Volleyball Alumni that is so supportive of the program and Coach Condit. We are lucky to have this incredible group. From that letter came a multitude of replies that all take time to acknowledge. In turn, I have already met a few of the alumni for drinks and lunch. My calendar has been jammed.

As well, my inbox has been slammed. Tons of emails flood-­‐in from well-­‐wishers that all need a reply. It is necessary to also provide all your contacts with your new contact information, which in turn creates an incredible number of replies that all need acknowledgement. In turn, there is a barrage of incoming emails from alumni, parents, faculty and staff welcoming you to the University.

Then there is the time spent on the incoming recruits. Phone calls and emails to them. Introducing you and learning about them. On the flip-­‐side, you are trying to catch-­‐up on a new recruiting system and where your school is in the recruiting process and contacting all those top Prospective Student Athletes. Emails, emails, emails. Phone calls, phone calls, phone calls. I feel I can’t catch up!

On top of this, we were searching for another assistant coach and we had a number of candidate visits on campus, a few recruits on campus, and I also took six recruiting trips, Chicago my first weekend to Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati (twice), and Las Vegas.

There was also some office housekeeping that I needed to do in order to be organized and work efficiently. For the Superbowl, I gutted my office completely and reorganized it, had it painted, and automated our files using Google Drive and Dropbox. My techie side has to come out somewhere!

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Finally, I did also find a few moments to spare for myself to purchase a house in this past month, and yes move again (m-­‐o-­‐v-­‐e is a four letter word!). I’m now on day three of the new house (the first day with heat!) and trying to figure out another weird ticking noise that won’t let me go to sleep at night.

As great as our intentions are to be proactive in the first month on the job, much of it tends to be extremely reactive. Month two’s goals are to set goals and enjoy the spring tournaments. In the mayhem, it’s sometimes easy to forget that we coach volleyball, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

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