Friday, October 21, 2011
Interview Series: Part 4, with KU Assistant Coach Todd Chamberlain
What was it like representing the U.S.?
I was just a freshman in college at the time, and we went to a tournament down in Brazil. It was a lot of fun, and it gave me lot of pride in our country, plus being able to play with other talented guys from America made it a great experience. You're used to playing for your team or your school, but being able to play for your country was something different, and it was a whole lot of fun.
I would've starting playing outside [hitter] at a younger age, because I started out at middle in club, and I didn't start playing outside until college.
Are you still able to play?
Not as much as I'd like, but I still get involved with adult tournaments whether it be grass, sand, or even indoor. But normally I'm pretty busy with recruiting so it's kind of hard to work playing into my schedule.
Speaking of recruiting, how has the transition been from strictly coaching to where you are now?
It's different, it's much more wide-range. We are watching players from Texas, Chicago, Nebraska, Kansas City, kids from all over the place, and it's a much broader scope definitely, because you have to know volleyball contacts in almost every city.
What are your aspirations for coaching?
I definitely want to be a head coach. I really want to be someone who makes the decisions and sees out the direction of the program. At what level that will be though, I really can't say quite yet, but we'll see how it plays out.
What do you enjoy most about being a coach?
I really like being in the gym everyday, and seeing the team come together and grow. When everyone is clicking and working as a unit, it gets very exciting.
What do you least enjoy about being a coach?
When the team doesn't quite accomplish the goals that they set out for. It's disheartening to not meet those goals, especially when the girls work and train so hard, then when we face a loss, it's just really tough.
A lot of our interviewees have had the opportunity of playing for young coaching staffs. What are your views on young versus older coaching staffs?
I think that having as much experience as possible is extremely valuable. Young coaches have a lot to learn and may not understand how to confront certain situations, and in those times, I think it's important to have composure, which experience brings. I know I'm guilty of it at times. I think it also depends of the level at which you're coaching, because at the college level, if a younger coach treats the players like mature adults, then their relationship with the team will likely be better, and little things in the locker room won't go unattended to.
Do you have any hopes of returning to the Bluegrass State (Kentucky) for coaching?
Maybe, but it's likely that won't be anytime soon. I mean it's home, I have family there, so it would be great, but I enjoy what I'm doing here at the same time.
What's it like going home to Louisville for recruiting?
Well, I know all of those schools in the area, so I go back whenever I get the chance. It helps having grown up there too, everything is so familiar. And of course whenever I get to see my family, it's always a good time.
To this point in your coaching career, who would you say has advocated your success the most?
I'd say there are a few, including the head coach here at Kansas, Ray Bechard. He's the one who gave me this shot at coaching college volleyball. Mike Lingerfelter, the club director for Munciana Volleyball, up in Muncie, Indiana, is another guy, and I worked with him a lot when I was college. Then Steve Shondell, who is now the head coach for the women's team at Ball State, I got to work with him in high school volleyball when I was in college.
It seems like success has followed you a lot in your career thus far, how is it dealing with failure and loss when you encounter it?
It's definitely tough, it magnifies everything. When you're winning, small issues with the team aren't that big of a deal, but it seems like when you're not, everything is a much bigger deal whether it be small disagreements or rough relationships amongst the players.
What are you looking forward to the most with the rest of the season?
I'm hoping that we can play the best volleyball we can down the stretch. We're always trying to get better and with the work we've been putting in, I really am looking forward to seeing how we progress.
Lastly, will you be attending the AVCA Convention in San Antonio this year?
Oh yeah! I've already got my registration, hotel, and flights all ready to go. It was a whole lot of fun last year in Kansas City, and I can't wait for it this year.
Coach Chamberlain and the Jayhawks will be in action tomorrow night as they host Texas Tech. I'd like to wish them good luck in that match as well as with the rest of the season. If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading!