Amber Dunn is finishing up her first year as the head coach of the Geneseo women's volleyball program. We sat down with Coach Dunn to get her impressions of what her first season was like, what the transition to being a head coach involved and what we can look forward to with the program in the future.
Talk about what your first year as a head coach was like.
My first year as a head coach has been remarkable. Developing new relationships with the student-athletes, colleagues and members of the community has been the highlight of my time here in Geneseo. We finished our season 16-18 with a couple highlights being a three-set victory at home against Nazareth in our match to raise awareness on Alzheimer’s and a five-set barn-burner against RIT on their senior night. We really made it a priority take time to focus on the basic fundamentals of the game to create a solid base for the future development of our players. We will spend the next couple months preparing for a large incoming freshman class and developing a culture where character, work ethic, accountability and communication are all engrained in the daily routine. We are excited about what the future holds for the volleyball program!
Describe the biggest transition you had to make.
One of the bigger transitions for me has been developing new relationships with recruiting resources. Coming from the Midwest, my resources are not as abundant. However, I have spent the last several months getting to know the landscape and have acquired some great assets to take advantage of on the recruiting trail we will be on in the coming years.
What was the biggest challenge you faced throughout the season and how did your previous experience help you overcome it?
One of the bigger challenges we faced this past season was learning a different way to play the game. Doing things differently than what the players were familiar with previously was tough at times. We focus a significant amount of time on our “strategy,” forcing the players to be actively engaged in practice and matches. Because it was a new concept for many of them, it was difficult to see immediate progress. After spending an entire season dedicated to learning something new, we are finally seeing some development. It is great to see the players begin to see success - and want more of it.
What will the keys/priorities be to building the program the way you want to see it grow?
The biggest change we are working on is changing the culture and vision of the program. Right now, the expectations for the program are very high, not only for myself but for the players as well. We want to achieve a lot, but all of that starts with changing the culture, putting the time in and focusing on good quality opportunities in the gym. We don’t spend any time dwelling on the past and focus all of our efforts into achieving our goals for the future. We spend a great deal of time talking about “the process” and how crucial it is to enjoy it! With great student-athletes and a high level of enthusiasm, we are creating the vision of Knights Volleyball.
What excites you the most about taking over a program and making it your own?
The most exciting part about taking over a program is that, while I may be new to the program, I am not building something from the ground up. There is a good, solid foundation of student-athletes who have worked hard to maintain that base for the past several years. Coming to the program here at Geneseo has allowed me to bring in the skill set that I learned from some excellent mentors through the years and mold it into my own. Geneseo is absolutely a place where we can be successful on and off the volleyball court and I am excited for what the future holds.
In what ways will you be able to give back with Geneseo Volleyball?
One of the things that is very important to me is growing youth interest in volleyball. Coming from an area in the Midwest where volleyball is popular, I want to start engaging more youth in the sport. I think it is also important for our Geneseo Volleyball players to be involved in that development. We are set to host an array of camps in the coming months, including our Little Knights Volleyball Camp on Sunday, April 10th. For more information regarding our camps, check out geneseovolleyballcamps.com.