Hi Rhody! Welcome back to The Daily Grind. Today's spotlight features none other than former graduate assistant and now assistant coach Iain McCoy, who has been helping make Rhody Volleyball what it is for a few years now. Let's see what makes his daily grind worth it!
MG: I know you didn't start playing volleyball as early as many of us did, so when exactly did you start, and what was it that got you interested in the sport?
IM: I started as a senior in high school. One of my buddies approached me about playing because they needed another middle. Ever since then, I've been hooked!
MG: And then you came to college here at URI and played on the men's club team... What was that experience like for you?
IM: Oh, it was awesome! It's where I started to really fall in love with the sport. I was very fortunate to play here for five years. My sophomore year we finished second in the nation. That was an awesome team to be a part of.
MG: At what point did you start thinking that you wanted to become a coach?
IM: Ever since I graduated high school, I've been involved in coaching in some form. Before I got into volleyball, I played soccer. So, to stay involved throughout college, and up to the point when I got the graduate assistant position at URI, I coached soccer in the local school system. I fell in love with coaching and just couldn't pass up the opportunity to mix my passion for coaching with my favorite sport – volleyball.
MG: So, you pretty much kicked off your collegiate coaching career with what I consider to be the best group of… not just volleyball players, but the best group of people I know. No pressure to agree with me there, but how would you say your first two years as an assistant coach have been?
IM: It's been a truly awesome experience. When I graduated college, I really had no idea what I wanted to do. I graduated with a marine biology degree and pursued different fields for a couple of years. The whole time, I still played as much volleyball as I could and stayed involved with coaching the men's club team at URI.
When the graduate assistant position opened at URI, it kind of dawned on me that I could take my love of volleyball and turn it into a career. These first two years have been amazing. I can honestly say that I get to wake up everyday and do what I love.
MG: I can imagine this has been a great way to start your career. While it's probably also been a great learning experience for you – especially coaching under someone as experienced as Coach Steve – what would you say has impacted you the most over the past couple years?
IM: The first two years of my career have been a really in-depth learning experience. The impact has come from two main sources. The first being the amazing women I get to coach everyday. You guys have made my transition into coaching collegiate volleyball very easy. The fact that I not only get to work in volleyball everyday, but get to come in and work with such amazing people and athletes is what keeps me coming back every day.
The other major impact on the first two years of my career has been Steve. He is an awesome coach who I am very lucky to work with. He has passed on to me invaluable knowledge and has really shown me what it takes to be a coach at this level. He is someone that I look up to a lot, and I consider myself very fortunate to get the opportunity to continue to learn from him as his assistant coach.
Iain has helped Rhody Volleyball tremendously since he came to coach us two years ago. He continuously reminds us to love the game, and helps us get better while doing it. He also understands the mental aspects of the game, and makes sure each player has the tools and support to step onto the court ready to perform.
His famous quote – "Are you working as hard as you can? Well, that's all that matters." – is one that will always stick with the players of Rhody Volleyball, reminding us to work hard and have a great time doing it, no matter what the outcome. The constant encouragement to stay positive and keep working hard is one of his greatest contributions to Rhody Volleyball, not to mention his help in pushing us to be the best blocking team in the Atlantic 10.
You won't see him drinking an iced coffee – we're still working on that – but you will see him playing volleyball on the sand courts around campus. Because, when you love the game the way he does, coaching every day and every night just isn't enough!
Until next time!