By Tyler McLean
The Pirates’ Hook (PH): What drove you to become a volleyball coach?
Michael Hodge (MH): Believe it or not. I had zero interest in volleyball up until 1979. In 1980, I met a young lady that I wanted to date and she said tryout for volleyball. I said no, I am a basketball player. She said if you want this date you will. So I tried out and the sport humbled me because of the many different skills required. I continued to play then I started coaching intramurals. I was able to articulate and demonstrate the skills that I learned. The rest is history.
PH: How long have you coached/played volleyball?
MH: I started playing competitively in 1980. I played for the Virgin Islands National Team for several years and I have played in North Carolina since 1992. I was a spectator in 2002 when my daughter was a freshman. In 2003 I joined the volleyball staff as an assistant coach. In 2006 I became the head coach of the program.
PH: What’s one piece of advice you tell all your players?
MH: Don’t try to be perfect in an imperfect sport. Volleyball has a built in failure rate. If you hit .300 in volleyball you are an all american. If you get 30% in the classroom you have failed!
PH: What got you into volleyball or sports as a whole, what does it mean to you?
MH: A girl. It is always a girl. I tried out to get a date. I have this quote. “I met a girl named Volleyball over thirty forty years ago and I am still in love with her!” Also we are only as good as our weakest link!
PH: Our Riverside volleyball team, what do you think is their biggest strength?
MH: We are a young team trying to find our way. Last year, we only had seven players on the team due to covid. Five of them graduated. As a result we are still in the rebuilding phase. They are eager to learn and we are all in the struggles and successes together.
PH: What do you believe is our school’s biggest strength?
MH: Riverside is an excellent school academically. Combined with athletics under the leadership of our AD Coach Robert Duncan we will continue to excel and improve.
PH: How has the experience of coming back to school in a pandemic been for you?
MH: Last year was a very stressful time especially when we returned to campus. Shortly after we were quarantined for 14 days despite carefully following all protocol. It was difficult because I run my own volleyball club and we did things the same way and didn’t have to shut down because of covid. This year things are just so much better. Most of us are vaccinated and better educated. The stress level is so much lower than at this time last year. We are grateful to have a season.