Erin Virtue

USAV HP Programs Coached:  2007-2013

• Youth A2, Assistant Coach (2 years)
• Youth A3, Assistant Coach
• Select A1, Assistant Coach (4 years)
• Select A2, Head Coach
IMPACT certified? Yes
CAP certification level:  N/A

• What led you to become a coach?

o My coaching career was sparked by an ACL injury that I sustained in my senior season at Illinois.  I was blessed with the opportunity to observe and learn from my coaches. It was then that I appreciated all that my coaches provided for me as an athlete and a person, and when I first thought that I would like to someday be a coach. After graduation, I had the opportunity to train with the U.S. National Team under Jenny Lang Ping. It was during this time that I was sure that I wanted to make the transition to coaching. I am very lucky to have had such great coaching role models throughout my playing and coaching career.

• What is the best thing about being a coach?

o One of the most amazing things about working with collegiate athletes is seeing the athletes grow from the moment that we start recruiting them at age 15 or 16 (yes, sometimes age 14) to when they complete their eligibility and graduate college as an adult with a passionate direction.  

• What has been the biggest influence in your career?

o There is no question that the biggest influence in my career and how I live my life is my family.  I am one of five kids in my family; my parents raised us all to understand the difference between right and wrong, to work hard, to love, to be passionate, to pray, to be patient and to push each other to be the best versions of ourselves every day.  

• What or who has been most inspiring to you, either personally or professionally?

o My parents inspire me to be the best person that I can be.  Their unconditional love and support pushes me and they have impacted my life, both personally and professionally, more than they will ever know.  

• What do you do in your free time?

o In my free time, I love to spend as much time as possible with my extremely large and growing family.  If I am not in a gym or with family, you will likely find me at a concert – I love live music! 

• What are your personal career goals?

o I hope to someday take what I have learned and become a successful Division I Head Coach, but until that day I am very happy soaking in all that I can, growing as a young coach and working toward a National Championship  here at Michigan.  

• What does the future hold for you - any exciting plans, developments?

o I am very excited to continue to work to help build up the Michigan Volleyball program.  It has been a tremendous three years and I am looking forward to many more years here in Ann Arbor.  

• Which is the hardest thing you ever had to do as a coach?

o When I switched jobs from the University of Cincinnati with Reed Sunahara to begin work at the University of Michigan, one of the hardest things I have had to do as a coach was tell Reed and my players at Cincinnati that I was leaving.  I knew that it was a good move for me professionally, but it was a very hard day to look into the eyes of people that I cared a lot about and had spent the previous four years with. Loyalty is very important to me and I felt that I was letting my family at Cincinnati down by moving on.  I know that the business works that way, but I will never forget that day and am forever grateful to Reed and all of my former Cincinnati players for being such an impactful part of my career.

• What are you most proud of as a coach?

o I love to see some of my former players out there in the coaching world ... There are only a few (I’m not too old yet =-), but it is rewarding to see them still in love with the game and enjoy passing what they have learned along to younger athletes. 

• What are some important lessons learned?

o Coach everyone, every day.  

o Compartmentalize – I am working on this daily.  I love the mantra “be here now.”  I always strive to leave personal and desk work out of the gym, and vice versa. 

o Be organized.  This helps myself, as well as our staff stay on task and be more efficient with our meetings and work. 

• How would your players describe you as a coach?

o Positive, mindful with feedback, precise with technique, patient, offensive coordinator 

• How would your players describe one of your practices?

o Simple, technique focused, purposeful, fast paced

• Do you have any pet peeves?

o Being late. 

• Describe some of your most important career accomplishments.

o University of Michigan – Final Four 2012

o University of Michigan – Sweet Sixteen 2011

o University of Cincinnati – Big East Champions 2008, 2010

o 4 Time Recipient of the AVCA 30 Under 30 Award

• What book is a must-read for all coaches? For players?

o For Coaches/Leaders:  “Bo’s Lasting Lessons”, By Bo Schembechler and John U. Bacon

o For Athletes:  “Mind Gym”, By Mack Casstevens

• Do you have any advice to offer parents?

o Parents – empower your kids to take responsibility for their own game.  Your kids should be their own voice when talking to coaches; whether it be about playing time, recruiting, team dynamics, etc.  It is so important for young athletes to learn how to deal with big issues and conflict.

• What’s the best advice you could give to someone getting into coaching?

o Be Yourself.  Be Consistent. 

• How do you define success?

o I agree with John Wooden on Success:  “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best you are capable of becoming.”

• What motivates you?

o The love of teaching.  The love of competition. An innate desire to be the best that I can be.