Between big road matches against Stanford and Cal State Long Beach, Rob Browning, SMC’s new volleyball coach, took some time to reflect on his hopes for the up-and-coming program that he just took over. He and staff writer Joseph Wakelee-Lynch conducted this interview in late September.
What are your goals for this season?
Our main goal is one of the hardest—to win the WCC Championship. Each year four or five teams from this conference make it to the NCAA tournament, so winning the WCC is quite an accomplishment. If we are good enough to win the WCC, then we are good enough to go deep in the NCAA tournament, and get the chance to play the very best teams in the country, and break into the Final Four.
Where do you hope this team will be in three seasons?
I hope we have at least one WCC Championship under our belts and are considered a perennial contender for that prize. We feel that we can recruit great people and players to Saint Mary’s. The education, the campus, the location, the conference, and the winning tradition that began a couple of years ago all lend themselves to creating a very attractive package for a young woman who wants to play volleyball in college.
How does Saint Mary’s get from being a good program to a perennial power?
There must be consistency at every level. We must consistently get good recruits, set high goals, and work our tails off to achieve them. That may be the hardest thing to do day in and day out—work hard. I tell the girls it’s not easy to do well in the classroom, be champions on the court, and have the perspective to excel in our personal lives. But that’s the kind of person we want, and that’s what it takes to be great every season.