Myers takes over at UConn

July 19, 1998|By DAN SPEARS

Kelli Myers knows what it's like to play second fiddle.

And now that she's moved up to the first chair, she hopes her team can follow suit.

Myers, a Williamsport High School and University of Maryland alumna, was named head volleyball coach at the University of Connecticut earlier this year, and is gearing up for her first official season as a head coach.

"I'm from the East Coast, so this is right up my alley," Myers said from her Storrs, Conn., office. "I'm not that far away, and I'm glad to be back. Hopefully, we can do well so this is a place that I can stay put for awhile."

That seems to be the only problem with her Lady Huskies, which have been right behind Big East champion Notre Dame over the past three seasons.


They're also fighting for recognition on their own campus, with the national-champion basketball and national-finalist soccer teams dominating the women's sports headlines.

"But that's one of the reasons that I took the job," Myers said. "For me, I feel fortunate we are a priority here. I am proud to go out and recruit players ... and have the role models already here with all the All-Americans that are produced here.

"Our administration wants us to do well, and gives us the resources to do that. That's enormous pressure on a coaching staff, but I think that's fun to be a part of."

Myers knows all about stepping into the fire. After graduating from Maryland in 1991, Myers was an assistant with the Terrapins, then with George Washington University before moving to the University of Ohio in 1994. She was the interim head coach there in 1996 when the head coach had to step down for a season.

"I was able to step into their shoes and run the program and be involved in the heated part of the season," Myers said. "But I think that situation also prepared me to go back to being an assistant.

"Even though my title was 'assistant,' I thought of it as being a co-head coach because of the responsibilities I had."

Now, all the responsibilities are hers for good.

"I'm a strong believer in being prepared," Myers said. "I don't think I would have accepted if my past experiences wouldn't have prepared me for it. ... You should be nothing but prepared if you had good teachers, and I had that."

Now Myers is the teacher, taking over a Lady Huskies squad that returns 13 members from a 20-match winner last season and went 13-1 in its spring exhibitions under Myers' leadership.

"It's exciting, but I'm more excited for the challenges ahead, because I'm more prepared for it," Myers said. "But call me in the fall, that's when there's going to be the biggest change."

The Herald-Mail Articles