Scott-Arruda Playing in Opens and Paying it Forward

By Bill Kauffman (bill.kauffman@usav.org) | May 29, 2018, 9:33 a.m. (ET)

Danielle Scott-Arruda passing and playing out of her normal element
Danielle Scott-Arruda giving back to the next generation of athletes and inspiring her own daughter.

DALLAS (May 29, 2018) – Danielle Scott-Arruda, though she has played in five Olympic Games with two silver medals, sees herself as just one of the team this week as a player/coach for the Hoosier Exterminators in the USA Volleyball Open National Championships Open Division.

Scott-Arruda, who was playing for the U.S. Women’s National Team before some of her Exterminator teammates were born, is having a great time playing in Dallas and competing again at the age of 45. At the same time, she is able to impart her knowledge of the game to her younger teammates.

“It is fun to have an opportunity to play again. I think I am more coach than player these days,” Scott laughed. “I don’t even consider that I have five Olympics under my belt, except for the experience that it brings to play in these types of games. It is about having fun and making friends.”

Related: USA Volleyball Open National Championships Event Page | Schedule/Results | Live Stream

Her Hoosier Exterminator teammates have welcomed her into the mix, which has helped the team reach today’s semifinals in the Open Division with a 4-1 overall record. Kayla Haneline, who has been part of the U.S. Collegiate National Team and competed in Hungary this past fall in her first professional season, grew up admiring Scott-Arruda.

“It has been quite an inspiration,” Haneline said. “I mean, she has obviously been a star. I am a middle blocker, and I have looked up to her. She has been such a good player. Growing up, I heard a lot about her. She has been a role model for me. To be able to have her give me advice as I play, and to have her say little things here and there, is amazing.”

While the playing opportunities have not been many for her during the Open Division, Scott-Arruda has accepted the challenge of balance of coaching and being ready to enter the rectangular playing court. And that time even included the challenge of playing as a backrow defensive specialist.

“I am grateful for the experience that I have,” said Scott-Arruda, who is a 2016 International Volleyball Hall of Fame inductee. “I played the game so long. In the beginning, middles were trained to play defense and pass. I was a primary passer at Long Beach State. After that, not so much. I think it is a mindset. I feel like I can do anything. I received the challenge. I think anyone who is put in a situation that maybe is not necessarily in their comfort zone, can succeed by believing and having a good work ethic. It was fun. Any role that I can play, I hope I can do it.”

Scott-Arruda has not ruled out going more in the direction of coaching in the future, and she already has a leg up on that possibility having done so within the USA Volleyball High Performance program.

“It is a possibility,” Scott-Arruda said on a future that involves coaching rather than donning the uniform. “I will get to coach at High Performance again this year. It is a pleasure to work with the youth and up-and-coming stars. I also do some camps and clinics of my own, and I travel to other camps and clinics. We will see what options are there.”

Scott-Arruda sees coaching as a way to give back to the sport, and she takes pride in doing so.

“I think it is what everyone should do – pay it forward,” Scott-Arruda said. “I have had a nice career and a lot of influential people in my life to help me get where I am. I couldn’t have done it without the people before me. It my role to do it next.”

Scott-Arruda credits the likes of Rose Magers Powell, Penny Lucas White, Keba Phipps, Caren Kemner, Paula Weishoff, the Oden sisters and many of the other stars of the game before her in building her love of the game.

Scott-Arruda’s family has had the opportunity to watch her play, but she is excited that her eight-year-old daughter Julianne has had the opportunity to see her play again.

“Julianne is so excited when I get to go in. It is a lot of fun,” Scott-Arruda said. “I think it is really good for her to be in this type of environment to see the camaraderie of team and what sportsmanship is about. I want to inspire her and make her proud. I want to share in my experience with a sport that has been such a big part of my life and afforded me so many opportunities.”

And Julianne is not shy about saying how proud she is of her mom.

“My mom is amazing,” Julianne assuredly proclaimed. “First, she is a five-time Olympian. Second, she is nice. Third, she is funny. I mean, she is the most amazing mom ever. Who would not want a mom who is a five-time Olympian.”

Sport Court is the official athletic flooring for all USA Volleyball national championship events.

Danielle Scott-Arruda with her daughter in the Hoosier Exterminator huddle
Danielle Scott-Arruda with her daughter Julianne in the Hoosier Exterminators huddle after a match during the USA Volleyball Open National Championships