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A Parent's Perspective

Here are a few words from parents of our student-athletes.


Greenville College Volleyball is in a class above the rest!

Our daughter Jessica came to Greenville to play volleyball, but learned so much more about life then just volleyball skills. In the beginning of her first year, she didn't make the traveling team, but coach Ackerman was still working with her, completely changing her hitting approach. It was hard, but he absolutely knew what he was talking about! When a coach can actually 'show' you exactly how he wants something done and not just 'tell' you how to do it, it really goes a long way! Jessica just finished up her fourth season playing for Greenville and I believe the skills she learned at G.C. helped her get the SLIAC Player of the Year award two years in a row!

She learned many life lessons along the way ('hard work pays off', 'never ever give up', 'stay focused', etc.).

The best thing I can say about Greenville Volleyball is that it truly is a family between the players and the coaches, all the way down to the parents and the fans! It just feels like one big family! As a parent, I have made some friends with some of the girls and their parents that I hope to keep forever!

Coach Ackerman has set a high standard for his team character wise, and he expects them to live up to it! He expects them to rise above the situation at hand, such as a missed call, and take ownership of it if it was their fault. Other teams in the conference, and I can now say on the national level, have taken notice of this, and it has really left an impression wherever they go!

I would definitely say if you have a choice to play for Greenville or somewhere else, choose Greenville. You will not be disappointed!

Thank you Coach Ackerman and Greenville College Volleyball for helping to shape our daughter into the awesome woman she is today!

Kay Dothager (


The Greenville Experience

As with many high school students, it came time for Alyssa to look for a college. She had several goals in mind -- she wanted to play volleyball at a school that was a good fit, yet challenging and appealing from various aspects. Together we toured approximately eight schools, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. Alyssa was offered a full scholarship to two of these schools. However, when making the decision, money should not be the only factor. We had read about college athletes who had issues with their coaches and knew first hand of a few kids who had gone to NCAA Division II schools and quit the program due to pressures. Ultimately we chose Greenville, and it was the best decision we could have made. Following are some of the reasons that factored into that decision.

The Coach - I had read that it is a good idea to attend a game and observe the coach and how he interacts with his players. Alyssa and I attended a game and watched as Tom coached the team with a smile on his face, provided technique adjustments to players as they came off the court, and his mannerisms during timeouts. It was quite clear that he was passionate about volleyball, enjoyed what he was doing, and provided positive leadership. During the recruiting phase, he displayed genuine concern for Alyssa and attended several of her club games with many members of the team. His character, integrity, and honesty were obvious and the main driving reason for Alyssa's decision.

The Team - Similar to her interactions with Tom, Alyssa felt very comfortable with the team. These girls were recruited and formed by Tom to be respectable and hold similar values to Alyssa's. She was invited to play with the team and attended their summer camp. It was a great chemistry, and it was clear that she would be a good fit. She also attended at least three other schools for tryouts with their teams, and it was equally as clear that their personalities were not the match she was looking for. The team has been successful as well. In our first year there, Greenville was a .500 team. The second year, we lost the conference tournament in five games to Webster. In our third year, we won the conference, won the tournament, and competed in the NCAA tournament. The bench is deep and the program is definitely on the upswing.

The School - Greenville is not for everyone, just as other schools are not the perfect fit for all kids. You have to like what the school stands for, its location, and small size. The values supported by Greenville with its lifestyle statement, small staff to student ratio, and caring faculty were ultimately driving factors. I was personally floored when I heard that some classes are held at faculty housing, that students and faculty are often on a first name basis, and faculty put forth efforts to ensure success of the students.

Reviewing these and other factors should be a consideration when deciding what college is best for your student athlete. You want them to be happy, to feel part of the team, and work with a coaching staff that they respect and trust. We found that at Greenville, and we think you will too. Feel free to email me with questions.

Harry Cliffe (

  • NCAA Division 3
  • UMAC
  • MCVL