For many college graduates, the struggle to find a job can be overwhelming and intimidating. Alexis Michal, a member of the Keene State College class of 2016, has accomplished this task as she was recently named the head coach of the women’s volleyball team at St. Joseph’s College in Maine.
Michal, who was the captain of KSC’s volleyball team for two years, replaces Yamile Nolan who stepped down from her position in April. Nolan served as head coach for the Monks for six years, and now Michal will take the reigns.
Not only will Michal be working as head coach of the volleyball team, but she will attend St. Joseph’s graduate school as well as part of the position. She will be working toward a career in healthcare administration, but KSC Head Volleyball Coach Bob Weiner said of Michal, “The fact is, she’s a volleyball coach. If she does this for two years and wins some games up there, she could be a volleyball coach for the rest of her life. She’s that good.”
The praise of Michal didn’t stop there, as former teammate and now replacement of Michal, Jenny Nohara, said, “I wish I was playing for her. I know she would be an awesome coach.”
While Michal only received the position a few weeks ago, she has been quick to adjust to the position, as the Monks began their season on Sept. 2 against Maine Maritime.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better group of girls,” Michal said. “They have respected everything I have done so far, and have welcomed me with open arms.”
Michal added that the attitude from her players has made things extremely easy for her to prepare for the season.
One of Michal’s captains at St. Joseph’s, Tori Huntley, said that the girls have done everything they can to try and have a positive influence on their new head coach, and show her she has a strong support system in her new position.
“I’ve been communicating with the other captains, making sure that Coach feels comfortable,” Huntley said. “We’ve tried to take some weight off her shoulders by giving feedback to some players.”
Huntley also added that the environment the team is creating seems to be helping Michal adjust.
“It’s a small team, we’re tight knit. We’ve had a good, positive attitude from the beginning,” Huntley said.
While things are going smoothly so far, Huntley mentioned that she wasn’t sure how Michal would handle the new position, considering that she is so close in age to many of her players.
“I’m sure it was pretty overwhelming. I didn’t know what type of environment it would be because of her age, but she handled herself pretty well and has definitely separated herself,” Huntley said.
Michal said she is certainly excited to get a chance to lead a team in her new position, and also said she took a lot of what she learned from Weiner while at KSC.
“Bob was a huge mentor in the past four years,” Michal said. “He really showed me my first look into college athletics.”
“Even in the first few weeks, I’ve taken a lot from what Bob has done and implemented it,” Michal added.
Michal explained she knows that not all athletes respond the same, and that can sometimes take adjusting as a coach.
“Sometimes you have to tailor your coaching style to individual players. I’ll model my style on and off the court like Bob did,” Michal said.
“She respects the game and respects the athletes. She knows how hard their job is,” Weiner said. “I think that people will listen to her and they will play for her.”
Crae Messer can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.