Q & A with Mr. Jake Moore, new assistant athletic director, Varsity volleyball coach, business teacher

Q: What do you plan to focus on in the new volleyball season?

A: My focus for the Marian volleyball program for the 2022 season is to put on the court a quality product for fans to watch and be proud of.  Marian has a strong athletic tradition, especially within the sport of volleyball, and my hope is to continue this tradition.  Just like the banner says in the gym, “Tradition Never Graduates,” and that is one of the major goals.

Q: How do you wish to change the volleyball program and leave a positive impact? 

A: The athletic culture is well established at Marian, and I hope to continue the positive and progressive approach.  My goal is always to obviously continue to improve sport specific skills and team play, but more importantly my goal is to empower the girls to be positive role models for themselves, their families and their school, both now and into the future. 

Q: I heard that you are promoting the volleyball program as a whole rather than focusing on just the Varsity team, this is a super positive take and I would love it if you could talk some more about it and your thoughts.

A: For the past 20+ years, I have been a “program-wide” coach versus a “one team concept” when leading a volleyball program.  In my previous experiences, it is important to establish an attitude of “we over me” with regard to all teams involved in a program over just the one individual team…and to be part of a larger group with the same common goals.  In coaching, a phrase that I continue to fall back on is to “play for this year while planning for next year” so that we will never have a rebuilding year.  To break this down, I want to develop four quality teams, while at the same time planning for what will take place in subsequent seasons/years.  For example, a team usually has two middles on the starting team, but I also feel that a 3rd and a 4th middle need to be ready to go in case of injury/illness/etc.  I also want the older girls to assist in training with the younger athletes, so I also like to do position training where all athletes in the program do specific position training together.  For example, all middles (Varsity, JV, Reserve, 9th grade) will be doing position training together at least once a week for a set time period so that all middles in the program are learning and teaching and modeling the same skills/movements/etc.  The same for the pin hitters (outsides & right sides), the setters and the liberos/defensive specialists.  In the past, this has paid huge benefits both in the current season and in future seasons…thus the program approach.  I also want to integrate the entire coaching staff with assisting each team within the program.For instance, as the Varsity coach, the ultimate decision is mine with input from the other coaches; the JV coach is in charge of the JV team with input from the other coaches; the Reserve coach is in charge of the Reserve team with input from the others; the 9th Grade coach is in charge of the 9th Grade team with input from the other coaches.  It gets all coaches involved with every team, and every coach having direct impact with every team in the program.  By combining all of the position training with each coach assisting with each team, it allows all athletes and coaches to have multiple avenues of support both within their specific positions and within their specific teams.  Also, training in multiple positions is of utmost importance to me.  If an athlete is a primary middle blocker, I also want them to train as an outside and/or right side hitter at the same time.  If the athlete is a setter, I also want to train them as a rightside…you get the idea.  In addition, I want every athlete to train both in the front row and the back row…to benefit themselves and their team and the overall program.  It also helps to allow each athlete to better understand the roles of each of their teammates no matter the position being played.

Q: What words would you use to describe the new environment you’re hoping to create on the team?

A: Obviously, the word “program” is one that will be emphasized throughout the season!  The varsity team will again be working with Dr. Larry Widman during the season, and in our first session, he had us listen to a short video from his podcast with Jordan Larson, an Olympic gold medalist in volleyball, on developing a positive mindset in order to help reach individual and team goals.  Jordan spoke of how important it was for her to be a part of a group that was bigger than herself, and she referred to it as having “all hands on deck” where all athletes and coaches and student assistants are on the same page with regard to goals no matter their specific role on the team or within the program.  This comment instantly resonated with me that this is exactly what I was hoping for the 2022 Marian Volleyball program and the journey that I am hoping to be on with the athletes, coaching staff and Marian community this fall.  I was quite fortunate to have served as an assistant coach for Jordan’s club volleyball teams during her sophomore, junior and senior years in high school while she was a student at Logan View High School and prior to playing for the Huskers at the University of Nebraska.  Knowing her and knowing that mindset, it was a perfect fit for the Marian Volleyball program this season!!

Welcome to Marian, Mr. Jake Moore! Photo by Mallory Connealy

Q: What classes will you also be teaching this year?

A: I am beginning my 37th year in the education profession this fall.  This will be my first year at Marian, however, I began my teaching career in 1985 at Fairmont High School, approx 15 miles south of York, Nebraska.  After four years, I went back to UNL with hopes/ambitions of earning my graduate degree in sports information with a goal back in 1989 to become a Sports Information Director with a collegiate athletic program.  In the spring of 1990, I noticed that Pius X High School in Lincoln, Nebraska, was looking for a volleyball coach and business education teacher and I decided to put in my application.  I was fortunate to be hired by Pius X, and began my career with the Thunderbolts in the fall of 1990.  My plan at the time was to stay at Pius X for two to three years until I finished my degree in sports information, however, that all changed after I began at Pius X.  I fell in love with Pius X and everything that it had to offer students and faculty and staff with regard to academics, athletics and community support.  In short, I stayed at Pius X for 32 years as a teacher, 27 years as a volleyball coach and 13 years as Assistant Athletic Director…until I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to begin a new career at Marian High School starting this fall.  

I graduated from UNL in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science in Education (Business Education) degree, and earned my Master of Education (Educational Administration) degree in 2017, also from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.   At Marian, I will be coaching volleyball, serving as an Assistant Athletic Director, and teaching a couple of courses.  The courses that I am teaching this fall will be Accounting I and Business Law.  The teachers that had the greatest impact on me as a high school student at Fairbury High School were my business instructors, and therefore, I wanted to have the same impact on my future students at Fairmont, Pius X and now at Marian.

Q: I hear that you will also be the new assistant athletic director, how exciting! Tell me about this position and your hopes to improve all athletic programs for Marian athletes and fans.

A: I am excited to be working at Marian High School beginning this fall, and the opportunity to work with Rochelle Rohlfs and Melissa Brusnahan is a great opportunity for me to grow professionally and personally, and to have a positive impact on Marian High School.  Again, when offered the position at Marian, it was too good to pass up!  It was extremely hard to leave Pius X after 32 years, but I am excited for what lies ahead for me personally and professionally by being a member of the Marian community!

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