Three-year Lopes’ player finishes first year as assistant coach
By: Julie Laugel/GCU Staff
The urge to get back out on the court or field to help the team to victory.
That was just one of the challenges for Grand Canyon University Women’s Club Volleyball alumna and current assistant coach Tea’ Scott as she transitioned from player to coach.
Scott helped organize and start the program during her sophomore year at GCU, and played all three of her remaining years as an undergraduate student for the Lopes. During her time as a club sports athlete, Scott played both as a libero and pin hitter on the team, and served as a team captain during her senior season. Scott also helped lead the Lopes to a National Collegiate Volleyball Federation Championship title in 2019 in only their third year as a program.
Coaching was not something that Scott saw herself doing until her junior year. That’s when teammates began coming to her and asking for pointers and advice on their game. When players would successfully try her suggestions, it sparked her passion for coaching.
“I just played because I loved the sport,” said Scott. “I never thought that I could take it into a coaching position, but after being able to see the joy that I got from helping my teammates, I fell in love with it.”
After hearing Scott speak to potential new club members during an informational meeting about GCU Club Volleyball, the benefits of it and how it had impacted her life, Lopes’ Head Coach Kristine Naber realized Scott’s potential as a leader and a coach.
“From then on, I thought, ‘This girl is two feet in’,” said Naber. “She wants to build a foundation and make a reputation for this club, and I believe that she has done that. She didn’t just tell people how to do things or what to do. She really lived up to those expectations. That was one of the reasons why I wanted her coming back to coach, because those girls that played with her really respected her.”
Despite having little prior coaching experience, Scott was willing to accept the challenge when approached by Naber to coach the Lopes’ second travel team.
“It’s a whole other ball game from when you play versus when you coach,” said Scott. “The hardest thing was when we would be down, and I would want to go in really badly and play because I still have that ‘player mentality’. You also have to have a lot of experience, and when you’re first starting out, there is a lot of practice preparation that you have to do, but it was great, and I loved the challenge.”
With the help of Naber, Scott saw how the team really improved despite a shortened season due to COVID-19. Naber helped Scott transition from that player mentality to a coaching mentality by helping with drills and practice plans, acting as a mentor throughout the process.
“Tea’ is extremely humble, and is extremely passionate about the game, but is also about helping people,” said Naber. “Everyone has to start somewhere. I’ve had thirty years in coaching, and I’m still learning things. A big strength of Tea’ is that she wants to learn, and she wants to do it well because she wants to see improvement.”
Scott is currently pursuing a Master’s in Cybersecurity at GCU. She plans to continue coaching for GCU Women’s Club Volleyball after she graduates.
Interested in GCU Women’s Club Volleyball? Contact Head Coach Kristine Naber for more information!