Stevie Mussie thinks it’s just as important to show her players the way to professional success as it is to demonstrate a good spike.
Mussie was named Arizona State University’s new women’s volleyball coach earlier this month and is one of only two women of color currently leading a top-levelReferring to Division 1 programs in one of the five large conferences: the Pac-12, SEC, Big Ten, Big 12 and ACC. women’s volleyball program.
She realizes that status is a “very special thing.”
“I want to be a success regardless, but it does give you that extra boost because I want my girls to see that it’s possible,” Mussie said at a press conference earlier this week.
“A lot of my former teammates are still playing, and they are always asking questions — ‘What is the route?’ ‘How do I do it?’ So we’re creating a map,” she said of her coaching achievement.
Mussie comes to ASU from Penn State, where she was an assistant for two years, including the Nittany Lions’ national championship season in 2014. She has also been an assistant coach at the University of Colorado, North Carolina State and the University of Virginia.
The other African-American female volleyball coach at an elite program is Linda Hampton-Keith at North Carolina State, who had been an assistant at ASU.
Mussie said the two women frequently discuss their journey.
“We talk about it all the time. ‘How can we continue to pave the way for everyone else?' ” she said.
“Volleyball has continued to grow across the board, so it’s important as more kids become involved that they see that it’s not just white males who are coaches. It’s women, it’s men of color, it’s women of color.”
Ray Anderson, vice president for university athletics, said that Mussie was hired because she was the best candidate.
“And to have the opportunity to have that woman be a minority is something we’re proud of,” he said.
At a panel discussion on inclusion last week, Anderson said that hiring minority coaches is good business when the Sun Devils are encouraging parents to send their student-athletes to ASU.
“There is a higher comfort level when, very frankly, they know there are folks who look like them,” he said.
Mussie said that she’s eager to enlarge the Sun Devil volleyballThe team's record in 2015 was 19-12, and 8-12 in the conference. community.
“It’ll be different in a good way — with a lot more energy and connection to the alumni and local talent,” she said.
Arizona has become a volleyball hotbed, she said, and she wants to focus on keeping the best club team players in the state, at ASU.
“Their parents, their friends, everyone that’s a part of their lives will want to come see them be successful at the next level.
“That’s how the excitement will come.”
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