Growing up Lakeland, Florida, Assistant Volleyball Coach Dan King started playing sports to spend time with the kids in the neighborhood playing tennis and flag football.
“I was 15 when I started playing. I was in band in high school and that’s what we did after band practice,” said King.
Amusingly, King had teachers and bosses that were instrumental in guiding him though, as opposed to coaches.
“I started to have these people that I consider mentors only once I started coaching, not before when I was playing,” said King.
King’s 20-year volleyball career began with his first coaching job at 18-years-old as an assistant coach in a small Catholic high school. A few years later, King was offered a job to become the assistant volleyball coach for Lakeland Senior High School’s junior varsity team. He worked with Lakeland’s team for a couple of years and later became the head coach for four seasons.
King was an assistant coach at Saint Leo University for four years where he helped lead their team to their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance. He also guided Webber International University’s volleyball team as they scored one of their best records in their program history. King came to NSU after four seasons as an assistant coach at Southeastern Oklahoma State University.
King believes that attitude and personality are key to success.
“We recruit more based on personality traits. Attitude is everything,” King said.
King doesn’t resemble other coaches that who recruit players based on body type. He thinks body type is important to some extent, but it’s not everything.
“We like kids who are fun going and have high energy because at the end of the day we put a lot of time together. If we can’t have fun with the kids, then it’s not going to make coming to work every day fun.”
When it comes to coaching, King enjoys spending time with individual players in the spring and teaching them.
“Coaching changes depending on the time of the year we’re in,” said King. “The teaching aspect takes place in the spring but right now we don’t really have time for that. Since it’s competition season, our time is spent and focused on team system.”
Although he doesn’t like motivational speeches, King has his own way of one-on-one to inspire the team.
“If they want their job done right, they motivate themselves,” said King.
Not everyone gets the chance to do what they like for a living, and King has been privileged to do what he enjoys doing.
“You can’t go to work everyday and just hate what you’re doing,” said King. “You have to find your passion and do what you want. I do what I do, and enjoy it.”