Rhonda Murr is still trying to maintain her positive personality. But her current circumstances sometimes require her to act a bit out of character.
Murr is a longtime assistant coach for the Yorktown volleyball team. Her job as an assistant to head coach Stephanie Bloom often involves providing positive encouragement after Bloom passes along constructive criticism. But Murr has started this season as the Tigers’ interim head coach as Bloom is on maternity leave, so Murr is the one providing the constructive criticism.
“The girls have made a nice adjustment in the fact that they realize that I am having to play a little more of a heavy hand,” Murr said. “I am still trying to balance the positive energy. Because we don’t want to lose that by any means.”
Senior Karli Acree said the approach seems to be working. She’s hearing plenty of constructive criticism from Murr, but she thinks Murr has maintained the same attitude. In order to ease the process, Acree said she and her teammates have taken it upon themselves to provide some of the positive reinforcement for one another that they’re accustomed to hearing from Murr.
“She has to play the role of not only the person picking us up, but she also has to fix our mistakes,” Acree said. “So she will tell us when we’re doing things wrong. But she always tries to stay positive with us too.”
Murr is two weeks into her tenure as the Tigers’ interim head coach, and said she is unsure exactly when the stint will end and Bloom will return. Murr is 1-0 this season, having led Yorktown to a four-set win against Westfield on Tuesday. Yorktown will host Central on Thursday.
The interim coach describes herself as energetic, and she takes a hands-on approach as she leads her team in practice. Sometimes that means Murr will loudly count repetitions as her players go through a drill. Other times it means she feeds her players the ball as they perform a different drill. When the practice is not proceeding to her liking, she does not hesitate to tell her players their performance needs to improve.
“I like to think that I’m high-energy, yeah,” Murr said. “I think as a coach you have the ability to set the tone for a practice. You have the ability to make a child’s day or ruin a child’s day. And so these kids are under so much pressure and the expectations are so high. And so as long as we can keep it positive with some discipline and some focus, then that is my goal when I walk in the gym.”
Following the Tigers’ win against Westfield, Bloom received a call. It was her entire team, calling together to inform her of the victory.
“We were so excited,” senior Carson Malapit said. “Especially after losing the first game, even though we were up so much. Winning the next three games, there’s always a ton of emotion and energy after that. So we were so excited to tell her.”
Contact prep sports reporter Sam Wilson at (765) 213-5807. Follow him on Twitter @SamWilsonTSP.
This week’s key volleyball matches
• Daleville at Wapahani, 7:30 p.m. Thursday
• Central at Yorktown, 7:30 p.m. Thursday
• Daleville at Cowan, 7:30 p.m. Friday
• Delta at New Castle, 7:30 p.m. Saturday