Coach’s Corner: Tim O’Connell

The subject of this week’s Coach’s Corner feature is Tim O’Connell who is the head volleyball coach of the Manual volleyball team.

1) What is your history with athletics in your personal life? I played high school football but didn’t get involved in volleyball until I was an adult. Guys didn’t have that as an option in high school. But I quickly realized this was my sport.

2) How did you obtain your current coaching position? I was previously at Male as an assistant for five years on varsity. A coaching change brought new people in. So the Manual job came open, I applied, and here I am! 

3) Who do you look up to? That’s a tough one because there are so many. One would be Ron Kordes, coach of Assumption. Not just because he’s the winningest coach in the world, but because of his consistency. He sticks to the basics, sticks to the rules, and demands no less from his coaches and players. Another would be my daughter. At five-foot-one she played D-1 volleyball for WKU, and was starting libero for three seasons. In a world dominated by giants, she proved she stood tall among them. 

4) What are two primary goals you have/had for your team this season? Win district, we haven’t done that in my two years. And beat Male. 

5) What is the hardest part of coaching for you? As a coach, I know that toughness and kindness are all part of my job. I have to kick butt and pat backs. So, I do. But, as a parent of a volleyball player, I know the crushed feelings that can be associated with it. That’s tough. My job is to win. But, not at all costs. My players are special to me. They’ll never remember my record, but they’ll all remember how I treated them. So, it’s hard to sit a kid for whatever reason. 

6) What qualities do you hope to instill in your players that they can take with them to their families, careers, and society? I want them to realize that hard work is its own reward. I want them to know how to meet deadlines, to multi task. I want them to know how to take orders and finish a job. I want to instill discipline, respect, team spirit and honor. But, most of all, I want them to realize that adults are not the enemy, and to pass that on to their own kids or teams when they become coaches.

7) How do you motivate your best athletes to work even harder? It’s a burden I put on them to motivate themselves. To show the others why they are good. To be better today than they were yesterday. If they can do that, they’ll always be moving forward. Getting better. The enemy of greatness is content. When you get satisfied with where you are, you get passed up. And, you never see it coming.

8) What’s your favorite memory as a coach?  I told you I left the Male job, and at the time, that was hard. So when we went to Male to play them in my first season and beat them that was a great memory. It was also bittersweet because it was their senior night and the seniors had me stand with them. THE RIVAL COACH!

9) What does coaching bring to you or your family? It brought my family a chance. For my daughter, it brought the opportunity to play in college under scholarship and relieved me of the burden of expense. As a coach I got to take my whole team to watch her play (a proud dad moment of EPIC proportions). It has provided me with the opportunity to stay young thru these kids. I learn something every day and keep a fresh outlook. They’ve taught me to not worry about our future because we are in good hands if these girls are going to be our next leaders.

10) What is the greatest philosophy you live by? 

My greatest philosophy?

  • Live today like there’s no tomorrow.
  • Treat people like you want to be treated.
  • Mind your own business.
  • Love what you do, or don’t do it.
  • Be yourself. I spent a lot of years trying to be who people wanted me to be. And they might have been happy but I wasn’t. Now I’m me. Just me. And the only person I need to impress is me. I’m okay with that.
  • Never throw away your dancin’ shoes.