Illinois head coach Kevin Hambly begins is seventh year with the volleyball program.
July 19, 2010
Less than an hour before the start of each home match, just prior to giving his final pre-match instructions to his team, Illinois head coach Kevin Hambly and other members of the Illini coaching staff are at work charting Xs and Os and going over strategy for that night's game. The audience: members of the Networkers, the booster club for Illini volleyball.
"Not only do we learn about the line-ups and get injury updates, but also how they plan to defend that night's opponent," said Connie Dunn, long-time member of the Networkers.
Now for the first time, Hambly is offering a one-session course called "Volleyball 101" on Monday, August 16 from 6-9 p.m. at Huff Hall. Doors open at 5:15 and students are encouraged to bring dinner.
"We first off wanted to give fans the basics about the game which will make it more enjoyable to watch," Hambly said. "We also wanted to give them an inside look about volleyball systems and specifically the Illinois system so that they have an idea about what to expect this season."
Cost for the event, which is open to the public, is just $10 and helps support the volleyball program. The course includes basic terminology and strategy as well as officials' regulations.
"At the end of the chalk talks, we were finding that there were more questions than Coach Hambly had time to answer," said Dunn, who played the game in college prior to Title IX. "Volleyball is a much more fast-paced and technical game than when I played. Because of how well the team is doing, there are a lot of people interested in the team, but they just might not quite understand all that is happening on the floor."
Indeed Illinois is becoming a hot bed for volleyball with consecutive highly-ranked recruiting classes coming through the program which will make the Illini an annual Final Four contender. The Big Ten is a conference that has produced three straight national champions and three Elite Eight teams last year. The addition of traditional power Nebraska to the league also means high caliber volleyball every night at Huff Hall.
"We have great fan support," Hambly said. "That is one of the big things we hear from the players that sign with us and come through our program. As we continue to evolve, it's important to continue to be able to attract an even larger fan base. This is just one of the ways we are hoping to do that."
For more information or to register, fans can e-mail email@example.com or call Dunn (217-898-3367) or Donna Kaye McFadden (217-356-0527). Registration deadline is August 9.