Page 3: My first gig
Updated: Apr 3
I'll bounce around from time to time. If I wrote about every single day and every single event, I'd lose interest too. But this one is another one of those "how it all got started."
After going from sucking hard at broadcasting to sucking less (but still not being good haha), I got an email in the summer of 2013.
At this point, a year and a half after that first day of Dayton vs. Richmond soccer game, I had worked my way up to becoming the sports director at Flyer Radio.
My girlfriend, Kaitlyn Krause, who's been one of the greatest support systems in my life, had played on the Dayton volleyball team. Unfortunately, she was transferring out of Dayton for potential playing time reasons. After two years of waiting behind an All-American setter, the coach warned her that he was bringing in someone they were planning on starting immediately. The message to Kate was: we don't want you to potentially sit on the bench; you're too competitive for that. In turn, Kate searched for a new program she could lead.
Side note: the above story about transferring is one of the most emotional and heartbreaking things to ever happen to someone, let alone someone I love. When a coach you love and respect tells you to transferring would be a better route to get playing time somewhere else, that student-athlete has to completely uproot her life. I don't want to gloss over that reality. The coach, Kelly Sheffield, whom we both still love and respect (even though Kate's parents do not), wouldn't even be on the sidelines that next season. He took the job at Wisconsin. Kate transferred to Hofstra University. The new girl? The freshman phenom? You can probably search her and find her out. I won't say her name here. But she came to Dayton, played as the B side setter in a public scrimmage (a SCRIMMAGE!), got pissed, and transferred immediately. Yep. You read that right. My girlfriend left school after two years of grooming so they could bring in a new setter who turned out to be an absolute flake.
My phone buzzed in the summer of 2013. During this time back home waiting around for school to start again in August, Kate found Hofstra and started to get settled in. I loved her (and still do haha). I loved volleyball from learning about her and the sport. The Midwest is an absolute game-changer for falling in love with vball. In New York and on Long Island, youth volleyball is laughably bad. The first time I laid eyes on real collegiate volleyball, I was blown away.
Sitting at my kitchen table in Valley Stream, I opened my Gmail to find a message from Doug Hauschild -- the legendary sports information director at the University of Dayton. Doug's email basically read: we're coming to you at Flyer Radio to see if you knew of anybody who would be willing to call Dayton volleyball home and road matches and travel with the team during the 2013 season.
My mind raced. Eyes glanced over it again.
Well, shit. I don't know of anybody.
Ha -- stupid me.
Then it hit me (I don't know what took so long.)
I can do it!
I didn't know anything about volleyball. I mean I got the concept and understood the scoring, but the rules? Nope. The libero? Nope. The rotations? Nope.
Then I looked up. Kate was sitting on the floor. A wealth of knowledge. She was the key.
Another rule I've found in my life. She's the key.
Also another rule: Get the job, figure it out later.
Like a wise one once said: fake it 'till you make it.
I accepted the job, telling Doug that I could do it. I looked at the Dayton schedule. Trips to Ohio University, Nebraska, and all the road A10 sites like Philly, Richmond, Fordham (NYC!), and Washington D.C.
Oh baby. I'm going to finally do this for real. Actually have a team. My own team. Travel the country. Living on the road. Life in a new city every weekend. I could not wait.
That email changed my life. What lay before me was the life I've now always wanted. I sat down with Kate that night and learned as many rotations and rules as I could. By the way I still don't get the rotations.
But my excitement sat with the thought of traveling around. Catching flights, staying at new hotels, free food, and...oh yeah. Getting paid?
$50 per match. Plus meals. That means a three-match tournament meant $150 big ones. From $0 on student radio to $50 per match working for the university was unreal. I'm in.
The season? Well that's a story for page 4.