Melissa Batie-Smoose is entering her first season as the head coach of the Women’s Volleyball team at Cornell University.
Where have you coached previously?
“I’ve coached for about 19 years now. My last position was at Savannah College of Art and Design. It’s an NAIA school in Savannah, Georgia. I was there for four seasons. Prior to that I’ve been in the southeast for the last 12 years, mostly in the ACC, but [also] the SEC. I was at Wake Forest, Florida State and Florida.”
What volleyball accomplishment are you most proud of in your coaching career?
“I think my last position I mean because that’s the most recent. I’m very proud of my team there. That was pretty much my first time that I was solely responsible in my head-coaching job to run a program, and we were very successful. We were in the top 20, and we won conference one year … and were always in the top half, so that was definitely a time to grow my career as a head coach because as an assistant I had a lot of successes at different levels. As a volunteer at Florida, we went to the Elite 8 at USC that was a great experience for my career at Florida State. We were contending for the top half of the ACC. My years at Wake Forest, my first year there it was the first time ever to beat a ranked [team] and we beat Tennessee at Tennessee and that was a huge accomplishment and it’s never been done in school history. So I think there’s definitely those milestones as an assistant, but it wasn’t until you know you’re really in charge of the program and doing it … and seeing those successes.”
What surprised you about coaching at Cornell?
“A good surprise is that our team definitely wants to get better, and they have personalities … They’re fun and they have a great sense of humor so that was a surprise – a good surprise.”
What have been the biggest challenges so far?
“In the Ivies there is so much time constraint and our preseason was condensed immensely. I was used to, in the NAIA especially the last four years, we had a month of preseason and unlimited practice time, where this is a five day condensed version and then a limit to how many hours you can go in one day. So, really trying to focus on the bigger obstacles that we need to get better at in time."
What are your goals for the season?
“Our goals are definitely focusing on the process and changing our culture in our gym has been our main emphasis … We really need to focus on the little things, and the end result will later take care of itself. But you know, what are those little things? Being passionate about what we do, playing well as a team and just getting better each and every day has been our kind of three things. Give it everything you’ve got and get better every day.”