Sept. 21, 2011
Editors Note: The below story is featured in the 2011 Fall edition of Cougars Quarterly. The publication is sent to Cougar Athletic Fund members and season ticket holders. To learn more about the Cougar Athletic Fund click HERE or call 1-877-IMA-COUG. For WSU Athletics ticket information click HERE
By Jason Krump
When Jen Greeny was introduced as the 12th head coach of the Washington State Volleyball program in late March, it was fitting the news conference took place in Bohler Gym.
Because for Greeny, Bohler Gym is home.
In 1996, Greeny, then a sophomore outside hitter on the Cougar volleyball team was part of history when WSU defeated perennial power Stanford, the first victory in program history over the Cardinal.
Six years later another memory was created for Greeny, this time as an assistant coach for the Cougars.
Once again at Bohler Gym and once again, against Stanford.
The Cougars defeated a No. 1 ranked Cardinal team marking the first victory by the program over a No. 1 ranked team. WSU went on to advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
With those memories, and undoubtedly many more, in hand, Greeny returned to Bohler Gym to be officially introduced as head coach of the Cougars.
It is a setting that Greeny hopes will be host of many more memories for the program.
"I've heard when I was a player and assistant here that other Pac-10 teams would prepare specifically for Bohler Gym because of the atmosphere," Greeny says. "We want to get that back."
Greeny was not too far away when she made her return to WSU. She spent the previous four years in nearby Lewiston, Idaho as head volleyball coach at Lewis-Clark State College. While at LCSC, Greeny tallied a .824 winning percentage (112-24 record) and earned four consecutive berths to the NAIA National Tournament, finishing the top 13 in the nation each year.
Greeny inherits a roster that features 11 new players including seven true freshman. With that many newcomers to the program, Greeny and her staff, including husband and past Cougar athlete Burdette Greeny, are patterning their rebuilding effort to a past Cougar coach who is familiar with rebuilding programs, Dick Bennett.
Greeny is adopting Bennett's five core values: passion, unity, servanthood, humility, and thankfulness, for her student-athletes to focus on.
"He was a master rebuilder," Greeny says of Bennett. "We took these core values and implemented them at Lewis-Clark State. It is something we can build our program on."
In addition to utilizing Bennett's core values to rebuild the program, Greeny is using the lessons learned from the past successes of the program.
"We really need to stress the fundamentals, doing them well, and not creating a lot of mistakes for ourselves," she says. "That's what we are going to be working really hard to do, creating great team chemistry.
"That how we got those banners up," Greeny adds, referring to the banners hanging in Bohler Gym representing the post season successes of the program. "We weren't always the most athletic, or the tallest, or the most physical team, but all those teams worked toward a common goal."
And Greeny is realistic of the challenge ahead.
"We know it's been done and we know it can be done again," she says. "It will take time. That doesn't mean we're not going to be better because we will, but it's going to take time, especially in this conference."
Indeed the memories of the wins over Stanford and countless others as a player and assistant coach will return when she steps on the Bohler Gym floor for her first match as head coach of the Cougars.
"I don't know if it will actually really hit me until that first match, seeing the fans here and just that whole atmosphere." she says.
"It just really feels like home."