10 questions with Chris Lamb

Wichita State University's volleyball coach

Story by Kristin Baker

Chris Lamb

Chris Lamb

Lamb is in his 13th season as WSU's coach after leading his team to their fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance with a 21-11 record in 2011.

1. What can fans expect from your team this season?

I think we play fast and fun. I think we're going to be a great defensive team. Be excited about Chelsey Feekin and what she can do, and two or three freshmen might have something to say about what we're doing here, and that can be pretty fun. Our home schedule's as good as it can get. Fans should gear up to see some pretty good volleyball.

2. Why do you think Wichita has such a large volleyball fan base?

It's been 50-50; on the one hand, Wichita is a town that supports Wichita State. We had that sitting and waiting anyway. Then we have put an exciting product on the floor. Volleyball is a sport that is exciting to watch when played well. It's an acrobatic, random athletic thing. You don't have to wait 15-20 minutes to see something that kind of makes you go, wow. I see it being pleasing to even non volleyball fan.

3. What is one of your secrets to coaching success?

I was told by an old adviser of mine who was also a coach: people who work hard make it in this business. So I decided to do that. I tell young coaches all the time, "Don't be so competitive that you're adversarial." I've done both of those things. I like to be the social guy in our conference who talks to all the coaches. It's more fun for me to be involved with other coaches and people. You've got to work hard in this business; there's no reason not to. I can't imagine expecting my players to work hard and not working hard myself. I think all coaches should feel fortunate do the job in first place and we need to do it right, well and go hard at it.

4. Would you say you're good at developing raw talent?

How do you do it? Yeah that's been our M.O. I think all my experience with youth volleyball have developed it. I've jokingly said I'm a prisoner of creative thought. I'm always imagining things or exploring different solutions for the raw athlete who has unique problems or needs. I like finding athletes who will meet us halfway and train them if they want to go for it, take some athletic kids and coach them up try to get them out there.

5. What is the most difficult part of your job?

I think recruiting. Volleyball has become a sport where recruiting starts really, really young. It's not unusual now that sophomores and even freshmen in high school have already made commitments to their college. Most of those girls are committing to schools they live near. You don't always know what they'll become. We work really, really hard to get athletes to visit our campus and check us out.

6. What do you love about coaching at WSU?

It's been a lot of fun to build it. I like my staff. We've been around a long time together. That's really neat and you don't see that everywhere. My administration, my president, my fans. Nobody really makes you think you shouldn stick around. People make you feel like being here's pretty cool. I like Wichita.

7. What's your favorite place in Wichita?

I think my favorite get away, if I have enough free time, is to go up to my friend Bob's barn and work on cars. I don't get enough of those days.

8. Tell us about your family.

My wife, Shannon, we met in coaching, was recruiting some of my players and we also coached against each other. We came here together; we were hired here together and that's been really cool. I have two daughters, an 8-year-old and a 6-year- old but they dont appear to be interested in volleyball at all and that's OK.

9. What is your favorite thing to do when you're not coaching?

I like to have lots of projects, a whole bunch going on at the same time. I like my car and house projects a lot.

10. Tell us about your seniors.

I'm really excited for our two seniors, Jackie Church and Emily Adney. Jackie is in a lot of ways kind of the leader of our team and she's waited for that type of opportunity. She's about that stuff. She knows her volleyball and her passing, her digging and her serving that her position requires but she's also especially motivated about bringing the team together. This is a golden opportunity for her. Emily Adney is quickly, in a lot of ways, becoming one of best players we've ever had here. From wire to wire, she was a four-year starter and she will be an impact player through this year and hopefully she'll send a message to all the Shocker volleyball fans that she's worthy of being on the Mount Rushmore of volleyball players we've had here.

 
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