By Todd Dagenais
It was a busy day yesterday as the coaching staff eagerly prepared for the arrival of our entire team into the UCF Volleyball video room. 1 p.m. was the first time the entire group had been together all at once, and there was a palpable excitement throughout the room. Most of the players had already been on campus since late June, but Meredith Murphy and Dani Harrison had just returned from their summer internships.
After our kick-off meeting with compliance, UCF Athletic Director Todd Stansbury shared his visions of the UCF Athletic Department, and his expectations of our program specifically. Volleyball Sport Supervisor Brad Stricklin then spoke about his lofty goals and expectations of our program for the season. Both of our Administrative Leaders left no doubt what the on-court goals of the volleyball program are in 2012. We all expect to be playing extra volleyball after Thanksgiving weekend this year.
This really is a good year for us to rededicate ourselves to the ideals that has led to this programs rapid ascension. The program was rebuilt on passion, selflessness, attention to detail, and excellence. I think it's always important for teams that are starting to experience success to take a quick look back at what led to that success. After taking that look back it's even more important to make sure that, while your vision and goals have changed, the philosophies, actions, and behaviors should never be compromised. I think the team has a pretty mature awareness of this.
Most people think that building the foundation of a winner takes place in the weight room and on the practice court. Both of them are very important, but their importance pales in comparison to what happens in the locker room and off the court. This year is going to be an intense ride as we try to achieve levels never achieved before by this program. The first two weeks of pre-season will try to build the type of foundation that will support our quest for excellence, even in those moments of doubt, insecurity, and adversity.
I challenged the team today in our opening meeting. We have achieved a great level of success, in a very short amount of time. However, nothing stays the same. We are either going to have the bravery and skill to begin our push to the next level, or we will start to collapse under the stress and anxiety of trying to be someone we don't believe we can become.
The foundation we lay in the next two weeks will likely make the decision for us. Knowing this team, the leadership, the passion, and the competitiveness, I have a pretty good feeling that we are going to make the right choices....