Kym Coley’s roots run through New Jersey and South Carolina, but for the past three years they have been planted here in Statesboro.
“When I was younger I used to go to a different school every year. That’s when I was in New Jersey. But then when I went to South Carolina I think I only went to five different schools,” Coley said.
Moving around from school to school made it very difficult for her to find a team to play on. However, after joining the volleyball team at South Aiken High School during her junior year, she finally found a place that she belonged.
The 6-foot-1-inch senior now plays middle for the Georgia Southern volleyball team. Although she has been an instrumental part of the team, she won’t hesitate to tell you that when she was younger she did not picture herself playing volleyball.
“I started playing tennis when I was eight. So I played that for about 10 years,” Coley said. “I was big on tennis. I thought I was going to be a professional.”
Her passion for tennis was obvious, and her mother helped her learn and perfect all the techniques and skills during the 10 years that she played. However, Coley’s mother played volleyball in college, so it was only a matter of time before Coley started playing herself.
“My mom played volleyball so she wanted me to play. She was actually going to help coach. I got bored sitting on the sidelines, so I decided I would step in and play,” Coley said.
That’s when her love of volleyball began. Her love for this new sport grew out of boredom, but has evolved into much more than that now.
Despite getting college offers from Coastal Carolina, Wake Forest and Indiana, Ga. Southern was the first school to show interest. In the end, she decided to sign with Ga. Southern because they were the first to give her an offer.
Coley was happy with her decision to play collegiate volleyball and was excited to start a new chapter in her life. Still, Transitioning from South Aiken High School to Ga. Southern wasn’t easy. Volleyball came naturally to Coley, but it was still a new sport to her. She found herself having to work at it every day.
“It was really hard because I had only been playing for two years. I knew nothing. Everything I learned about volleyball I learned in college,” Coley said.
On top of Coley attempting to widen her knowledge of volleyball, she realized that being a student athlete isn’t an easy job. She had to balance school and a social life while making it to every practice and every match at the same time.
“It’s hard. You miss class a lot. You’re forced to make up assignments and a lot of teachers don’t like it. You have to prove yourself to them that you can do the work even though you’re not in class,” Coley said.
Nevertheless, it seems like she has done very well at balancing it all. Coley currently holds a 4.0 grade point average in biology and has been named to the Southern Conference Academic Honor roll every year that she has been at Ga. Southern. She also currently ranks fourth in the Sun Belt in hitting percentage.
Even though those seem like great feats, she is happier about a different honor she received just last year.
“I like that I got first team all-conference because that’s voted on by coaches. So that means I’ve got respect from all the different coaches,” Coley said.
But she didn’t stop there. Yesterday she was named as a candidate for the collegiate volleyball 2014 Senior CLASS (Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School) Award.
This award is considered an honor to have on her resume because it is judged on four specific areas – community, classroom, character and competition.
She is just one of 30 senior volleyball players to be nominated for this award. That number will be narrowed down to 10 in the coming months and finally the winner will be announced in December.
Although Coley is a competitive athlete on the court, she is reaching for something greater than that.
“I plan on going to med school because I want to be an orthopedic surgeon,” Coley said. “I want to go the Medical University of South Carolina because that’s close to where I’m from.”
The Ga. Southern volleyball team travels to Chapel Hill, NC on Friday to compete in the Carolina Classic in hopes of securing their first win of the season. While there they will play VCU, North Carolina and Kentucky. The home opener will take place in Hanner Fieldhouse on Sept. 19 as the Eagles take on Appalachian State.