Volleyball head coach Debbie Brown recently took a few minutes to answer a few questions with Irish UNDerground. Brown and the Irish start the 2011 season this weekend (Aug. 26-28) while playing host to the Shamrock Invitational at Purcell Pavilion.
What does being a coach at Notre Dame mean to you?
In coaching at Notre Dame, the number one priority for me is to offer a great experience to our student-athletes.
That certainly is going to include winning and doing well on the court, as well as in the classroom. We want to be a nationally competitive program, and that is certainly the core of my philosophy. I need to be sensitive to the academic demands here at the University. That being said, we're confident that our student-athletes are going to be prepared for anything beyond college, have great job offers or multiple choices for graduate school. I want them to be able to look back on their time here and say, "that was a great experience."
Notre Dame offers so much in terms of campus life, spirituality, academic excellence and athletic traditions. It's truly a blessing to be able to work here and to be able to offer a great experience to our student-athletes.
You've taken your teams to foreign countries and dozens of states. At each stop, you make it a point to visit a hospital, take in a Broadway show or attend a local sporting event, just to name a few activities. Why is this important to you?
Taking in the culture of an area and experiencing everything it has to offer has always been something very important to me. Part of that stems from the fact that when I was younger, volleyball afforded me to travel the world as a player and see things not everyone has a chance to see.
However, we didn't always have the opportunity to take in the sights and learn as much about them as I had wished. I understood that at times it was not possible given the nature of our trips, but you lose so much if you don't try to take advantage of those things. It's all part of the education.
Now, every time we travel we look for opportunities to do those things and expose our program to what the world has to offer. Even something like avoiding chain restaurants and eating at local spots are all a part of experiencing new things. But we never let the extracurricular activities take away from the competition aspect of the trip.