For nearly a decade, Coach Noelle Rooke has repeatedly taken Mercer Volleyball into the Atlantic Sun tournament, and she has reached her 200th win as a head coach. She has taken the Bears to new heights and onto the cusp of greatness. Former Atlantic Sun Coach of the Year sat down with The Cluster and talked about her influences and legacy at Mercer.
The Cluster: Simply put, why volleyball?
Coach Noelle Rooke: Volleyball is a fun, fast-paced and exciting game to both play and watch.
TC: Why did you decide to coach?
NR: My college volleyball coach is actually the one who saw the attributes in me that she thought would make up a good coach and she is the reason why I got a head coaching job right out of college. I was also influenced by my dad, who was a high school football coach for 20 years, so I have been around the coaching profession all my life and have a passion for educating, teaching and giving back in a coach’s way.
TC: Who are your influences, whether it be in coaching or just life in general?
NR: My biggest influence right now is my husband, who is also a coach, and since we are in the same profession we are able to support each other and bounce ideas, tactics and game plans off of each other. He is also the best person I know and he makes me want to be a better person every day! As stated above, my dad and my college volleyball coach are also my biggest influences; however, I try to surround myself with colleagues and mentors who teach me and push me to grow every step of the way.
TC: What did you study in college?
NR: I majored in Psychology and minored in both Sociology and Criminology and I definitely use my major within my profession.
TC: How do you want to be remembered at Mercer?
NR: When my coaching career is complete at Mercer, I would like to be known for leaving the program better than it was when I got here, for having a 100 percent graduation rate, and hopefully for being a good role model for my young ladies to be upstanding people as well as student-athletes.
TC: What is your philosophy behind coaching?
NR: My philosophy is that hard work equals reward. I like to set the precedent that you have to work for everything in life and that nothing is handed to you on a silver platter. Also that honesty is the best policy.
TC: What is your favorite quote?
NR: I have several…
“I hear, I forget; I see, I remember; I do, I understand” – Confucius
“You don’t know unless you go”
“You don’t stop playing because you grow old; you grow old because you stop playing” - Ben Franklin
“Ability is what you’re capable of doing; Motivation determines what you do; Attitude determines how well you do it” - Lou Holtz
TC: What do you think of sand volleyball?
NR: I love sand volleyball. I was born and raised in Southern California so I played sand volleyball before I ever stepped foot indoors. I think that if every indoor player played sand first, it would make them more of a well-rounded and better all-around player because sand volleyball forces you to do everything, whereas indoor volleyball is more specialized and positional.
TC: Should Mercer field a men’s team in volleyball?
NR: I wish Mercer had a men’s volleyball team because my women’s team would benefit so much from practicing and playing against men. The issue is that there are very few NCAA Division I Men’s Volleyball teams, so it would be a lot of traveling, which means a big budget would be needed; and right now Mercer needs to focus on taking care of the sports we currently have.
Coach Rooke clearly loves what she does and lets it show when she is on the sidelines with her girls on the volleyball court. Watch her in her most comfortable environment as she continues to guide the volleyball squad this season.
coaching spotlight: Noelle Rooke