Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor
Kevin Maureen Campbell remembers the Stuart C. Siegel Center pretty well. The last time she set foot on the court for a regular season volleyball match, she was on the visitor’s bench with N.C. State.
“We played here last year, and they beat our ass last year,” Campbell said, referencing the match in 2019. “I was so impressed with Siegel and the playing environment, the fans, the intensity of the team.”
The Rams knocked off the Wolfpack in convincing fashion, sweeping the power five program 3-0. Campbell said after coaching in the Stu, she knew VCU’s program was “awesome.”
This season, Campbell will join head coach Jody Rogers on the home bench in Richmond as one of two new assistant coaches to the staff, along with former Eastern Michigan assistant coach Peter Winters.
“My one skill, to be honest with you, is not winning volleyball games or playing volleyball, it’s actually just hiring people around me that do such an awesome job,” Rogers said. “So I’m really grateful that they are here and they work their asses off. … They keep me grounded.”
Rogers overhauled her staff from a year ago, bringing in Campbell and Winters — two coaches with different backgrounds in the sport.
Campbell has coached volleyball at high-major programs like N.C. State and Penn State, and helped build programs as a head coach from the ground up.
Under Campbell’s tenure as head coach, North Florida transitioned from D-II to D-I. The team made the conference tournament in the first two years the Osprey were eligible to compete in it.
“I’ve done everything in volleyball,” Campbell said. “That’s awesome because I can fill in wherever Jody [Rogers] needs me to fill in. And I’m like a team player, I will do whatever is needed.”
Campbell has also coached at Colorado, San Diego State, Georgia, Ohio and Winthrop.
Winters coached as an assistant at Eastern Michigan for three seasons. He worked his way up from the youth ranks prior to working with the Eagles, coaching at the Huron Valley Volleyball Club in Michigan.
Rogers encourages her assistant coaches to be flexible and involved in all aspects of the team, Winters said.
“As a staff here, Coach Rogers always wants us to always be where we’re strongest,” Winters said.
Campbell said while coaching at VCU, she wants to absorb as much as she can from Rogers.
“Jody [Rogers] is such a master at team chemistry, team culture, relationships, like getting the most out of her athlete,” Campbell said. “I’m trying to learn that as much as I can from Jody in that special skill set that she has.”
One thing Campbell said she noticed about Rogers was her coaching style.
“She is efficient,” Campbell said. “She gets the most out of her kids in game.”
In a normal season, Campbell said it would have been a lot of adjusting on the fly with a young team and two new assistant coaches. Since the fall season was delayed to this semester due to rising COVID-19 cases, new players on the team got to know each other better.
“They’ve had an opportunity to grow and learn under Jody, which would have had some hiccups, having to have played right away,” Campbell said. “We’re just so much more well prepared, both our athletes to play and our staff to be very good for them.”
Winters said although the team has faced several obstacles during the delayed start, there’s no excuse for the team to be complacent.
“We’re going to take advantage of those obstacles,” Winters said. “We’re going to keep moving forward.”
Volleyball kicks off the season on the road at Liberty on Jan. 22 at 10 a.m. The Rams’ home opener is on Jan. 31 against George Mason at 1 p.m.