The volleyball coach at Marymount University knows a thing or two about the sport. Off the court, he’s a professional player, himself.
This summer, coach Hudson Bates will compete in pro beach volleyball tournaments in Seattle, Los Angeles and Chicago, according to a university press release. In between competitions, Bates will also be gearing up for the next volleyball season at Marymount.
“It keeps me busy,” Bates said. “I usually go from playing in a beach tournament over the weekend to recruiting at an indoor club tournament during the week.”
Bates is the university’s first men’s volleyball coach. The program was started three years ago and Bates was hired a month before the first season started.
“We had to scramble to put a roster together from nothing,” he said. “They called us the Bad News Bears. But I got hooked up with a couple of players. We found a few who were already here who had played in high school. We even had a few who had never played before.”
The first year, the team ended with a 9-20 record. Last year, they went 14-20, but this year Bates has high hopes, he said.
“Getting those wins is just like a drug,” he said. “It keeps you going back for more.”
Bates started off as an indoor volleyball player, playing in college at George Mason University. After graduation, he spent two years as an assistant coach for the school, while also training with the USA National Team. Bates has also played professional volleyball in Puerto Rico and Qatar.
Back and knee pain forced him off of the indoor court and outdoors onto the beach.
“Now I like playing on the nice, soft sand,” he said.
Despite the pain from playing indoors, Bates will often demonstrate moves for his players and join them in practice. This helps the players to learn, said Tomasz Ksiazkiewicz, a junior volleyball player at Marymount.
“We always talk about leading by example and Coach Bates always lives up to that rule,” Ksiazkiewicz said. “I have never seen him take days off either at the gym, court, or his office. If you see him around he’s always working on something or helping others out.”