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Q&A with Bond Shymansky, head volleyball coach at Georgia Tech

Aug. 5, 2003

Perhaps no other year in Georgia Tech volleyball history begins with as much anticipation as the 2003 season. With all nine starters back from last year’s team that won a school-record 33 matches, the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, and finished the year ranked 17th nationally, never have expectations been higher for a Georgia Tech volleyball team.

Q&A with Head Coach Bond Shymansky:

Q: With the entire starting line-up returning this season, how is the team dealing with the high expectations?

A: We appreciate the confidence that everyone has in our team but our players are smart enough to know that we are going to focus on one goal a day. So, our focus and expectation for the first day of practice will be to work hard and do our best. We will also have that same focus for the first match and the last. In the end, everyone who has expectations for our team will be proud of the Georgia Tech program.

Q: As defending ACC Champions, what will your program do to repeat?

A: It is important that we try to do things different this year by adding new wrinkles and looking at new lineups. If we are exactly the same team as last season we already know what that will get us, but we want to be better than that. So, we must evolve if we want to attain higher goals. I simply know that our team will never be satistified and that they will always push themselves to improve.

Q: O’Keefe Gym has the reputation of being a very hard place for opponents to play and last year, Georgia Tech was ranked No. 26 in attendance. What does this match atmosphere mean to your program?

A: O’Keefe has an impact on the outcome of a volleyball match like no other gymnasium in the country. Our fans are exciting, loud and very knowledgeable about the game. The “Point Tech” cry is the calling card of our gym and our opponents hear it often and they hear it loud. We have a 25-member Pep Band which provides an energy level every second of the match and is unparalleled in our league. We are very fortunate to have such a great atmosphere to play in and we look forward to defending our home court each time we step onto the floor. Q: Last year’s recruiting class was again ranked in the top 20 by Volleyball Magazine. What will you be looking for in this year’s class?

A: We continue to maintain very high standards in our recruiting efforts and are sure to attract more nationally- dominant recruits in the years to come. For 2004, our team will need to add another middle blocker and an outside hitter to our roster. These additions will be important for the future since we will graduate three starters this year. We plan to attract the best and the brightest and those recruits will undoubtedly compete for playing time with our returning players.

Q: Georgia Tech finished last season ranked No. 9 in the NCAA RPI Power Rankings. What are your thoughts on this accomplishment?

A: National respect and national notoriety are very important to any athletic program, so we are proud to have ended the season with such a strong ranking. The RPI takes into account winning percentage and strength of schedule, so we were pleased to by in the top 10 of all the teams across the country. Q: Can you define “your kind of player”?

A: We are a close knit family at Georgia Tech so it’s important that we continue to recruit athletes who can become part of our family and add new dimensions to it as well. My ideal recruit is a great volleyball player, but there are more than statistics that make a great player. I like players who are verbal on the court and aggressive in practices as well as games and who are unselfish. And, of course, I want a player who is an excellent student. Our program is built on the foundation of student-athletes, and our recruits must be students first and an athlete second.

Q: Your non-conference schedule is very tough this year. How do you see this helping your team prepare for the conference schedule?

A: Competeing against very strong non-conference opponents is a crucial element to our success. We want to condition ourselves for the ACC slate, but we also want to position ourselves for national prominence and recognition. Our program is known nationally, but it is our responsibility as a team to earn the respect nationally by winning tough matches each and every year. We set out to compete against teams from the other top-caliber conferences such as the Big Ten and the Big 12 and we know that beating teams in those conferences will have a year-long impact on our national ranking.

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