Learn more about new Eldon volleyball coach Melinda Wrye-Washington

One of the new coaches around the Lake area is Melinda Wrye-Washington who has come home to take the reigns of the Eldon volleyball program. 

Here is what Wrye-Washington had to say about her new role with the Mustangs:

Q: Are there any specific reasons why you were compelled to lead the program at Eldon and do you have any past ties with the school?

A: I am a graduate of Eldon High School, and am very excited to return and assist the athletic and volleyball programs.

Q: Can you briefly summarize your background and what made you want to be a coach in the first place? Is there anything you especially love about your sport?

A: I was a three-sport All-State athlete at Eldon and played volleyball for Anne Leutkemeyer. I received a full scholarship to attend the University of Missouri as a volleyball student-athlete. I was fortunate to have three very successful seasons and was team captain in my final season at Mizzou. I transferred to Columbia College for my last season when Coach Wayne Kreklow departed Missouri joining his wife Susan Kreklow to coach.

Following graduation from Columbia College I started my masters in education, when I was hired as the Head Women's Volleyball, Head Women's Basketball Coach and became the Westminster College Athletic Department’s Senior Women's Administrator. In 2000 after three years of coaching and teaching at Westminster College I was hired as the Head Women's Volleyball Coach at Columbia College. I coached there for 19 years, coaching many many wonderful and elite student-athletes. Many of the athletes were named All-American and Scholar Athlete. I had the honor of recruiting and coaching MANY National team members from abroad, as well as several former Olympians. I enjoy continuing to watch my former players, now National Team members compete with their countries this summer. While at Columbia I found success, winning several National Championships, several AVCA National Coach of the Year, Hall of Fame with multiple Columbia teams, and having my own personal number retired to the Columbia Wall of Fame. The volleyball program at Columbia was put into the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame where I was honored to deliver the speech.

I love all competitive sports and believe in multiple sport athletes, I love the explosiveness and teamwork required to be successful in volleyball. I was EXTREMELY fortunate to have Coach Leutkemeyer as my high school volleyball coach as well as the Kreklows (Susan & Wayne) at the University of Missouri and Columbia College. Their love and passion for the game as well as their interest in helping young student-athletes was my reason for coaching and beginning a career in coaching/teaching.

Q: Taking over a new program, do you have a philosophy or certain set of expectations for your players? At the same time, what does it take to be a good coach and leader of a program?

A: Consistency, responsibility, confidence, and teamwork! We will begin work on consistency in basic skills, being responsible as a whole on and off the court, obtain confidence through repetition in practice, and work on playing for each other developing leadership through teamwork. Training with basic goals will allow our team to gain strength mentally, physically and emotionally.

To be a good coach and leader I believe that you must present a specific set of expectations, and hold everyone accountable while maintaining consistency. In that, I try to make sure that everyone has fun and can grow on and off the court through sport.

Q: Do you have any overall impressions of your new group so far and are there any definite strengths or things to improve at this point in time?

A: I haven't really spent a lot of time with the girls yet, but I think that they have been excited and willing to learn to this point. I believe that there is a lot of room for improvement both on and off the court with this group. There aren't currently any seniors, I don't think we have too many even with drivers license yet! More time for teaching and less time eliminating bad habits for the coach!

Q: With a new season just around the corner, are there any specific goals or keys to success?

A: Specific goals will include consistency in basic fundamental skills. The most important of the basic skills at any level are serving and passing, therefore I will make most drills measurable and/or goal based in practice/matches. Initiation of play as well as first contact in serve-receive are key to success in any match. Developing confidence through repetition and multiple contacts in practice. I also want to grow the current volleyball members love of the game and encourage younger students to participate in order to grow the program.