Welcome to Interview #92
I am pleased to share with you the wisdom of the former NAIA Women’s Volleyball Coach of Aquinas College, Ryan Campbell.
Ryan Campbell was the volleyball coach at Cornerstone University for a decade. In that time, his teams averaged 25+ wins every season. In 2016 he was the AVCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year and the WHAC Coach of the year. Coach Campbell is now (summer of 2019) starting his first season as head women’s Volleyball coach at Aquinas College.
Why do you think athletes should consider an NAIA college? What are the benefits of an NAIA school specifically?
Athletes should consider NAIA Sports because it offers competitive competition without the full-time commitment. I have had players that could have played at D2 or even in some cases D1 never say the NAIA competition was too easy.
What can or should high school athletes do from their end to get on your radar screen? If an athlete personally contacts you by phone or email, what will you do next?
Also, letting me know their approach touch and height can help me gauge if they can compete at our level physically. For middle hitters I am looking for 9-10 or higher and for pin hitters I am looking for 9-8 or higher. Of course there are always exceptions. I had a player that could have played D1 as a defensive specialist, but decided she wanted to be a hitter. She touched about 9-5 and was only 5-8, but she had great skills and was an All-American outside hitter us.
Could you share, in whatever detail you are comfortable, what the athletic scholarship break down looks like on your rosters?
Generally the academic scholarship will be the biggest scholarship at Cornerstone. We stack athletic scholarship with academic scholarship. For the most part, after the stack, most players are getting full tuition or less. I have never had a player that receive a full-ride.
What is the role of the parent in the recruiting process?
I think they should help guide behind the scenes, but let the player do most of the talking both on the phone and on the visit.
How do you use social media when recruiting? What is your advice to recruits about their use of social media?
Cornerstone Volleyball tries to put up a lot of social media posts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so possible recruits can have an inside scoop on what are program is like.
My main suggestion to recruits on using social media is to avoid using crude language or posting improper material. That can be a red-flag to coaches.
What are a few of the most common mistakes that prospective-student athletes make in the college recruiting process?
The biggest mistake I see is when prospective student-athletes talk bad about their current high school or club coach. I understand there are some inexperienced coaches out there, but try to stay positive instead of blaming the coach for the team’s lack of success.
Too often I hear “I didn’t play because the coach plays favorites or it’s political.” The fact is if you are good (and have a good attitude) 99.9% of coaches will play you. They want to win!
Cornerstone University is a Christian school. Will all religious schools be similar? What are differences that recruits should think about when choosing a religious school?
Cornerstone is one of the few schools in Michigan that actually have a statement of faith that must be signed and a pastor recommendation that must be turned in. At CU, we take our Christian faith seriously and want a solid Christian environment.
There are many Christian colleges that are Christian in name only. That type of school will have a similar atmosphere as a public university. If a recruit wants solid Christian school they should look for statement of faith requirements because it does make a difference.
What should players expect from a Christian college athletic experience?
Players should expect to be just as competitive as a public school, but we integrate our faith through team prayer, devotions and mission trips.
Can you share a story or two about athletes who have gone through your program that have been impacted by their time in the volleyball program?
I don’t have a story, but I can be a pretty demanding coach. If a player can last 4 years under my leadership, I am confident they are going to be successful in their careers. I put a big emphasis on proactive communication and punctuality. These are important life skills.
Can you share a creed, quote or philosophy you try to instill into your athletes?
Our vision is to develop women of excellence who glorify God through success in volleyball and in life.
Bonus Question: Is there anything important that you would like to share directly with high school athletes or volleyball athletes in particular as they navigate the recruiting process?
I would say to those who have the ability to play high level D2 or D1, don’t overlook a school because it’s a lower division. Go to a school that you will enjoy. Too often I see players pick a school because of the status of division. Then later down the road they find they don’t like the school and they aren’t getting as much playing time they imagined.
Ryan Campbell has been the volleyball coach at Cornerstone University for a decade. In that time, his team’s have averaged 25+ wins every season. In 2016 he was the AVCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year and the WHAC Coach of the year. Coach Campbell also has 10 years of club coaching experience.
For Coach Campbell’s full Bio go to: Cornerstone Women’s Volleyball.
Next, check out: 3 Tips to Stand Out at a Showcase.
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