MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Talk about hitting the ground running – or should it be volleying.
Either way, Sean Burdette, the new University of Memphis volleyball head coach, held the first spring semester practice with his team Tuesday. Burdette was named the Tigers head coach Jan. 18.
Burdette, who directed the Green Bay volleyball program to an amazing turnaround the past four seasons (2014-17), saw a squad eager to get the spring season underway at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse Tuesday morning.
“We got out there for the first time today to knock some rust off from the long break,” Burdette said. “The team was energetic, and we really got after it from the first play of practice all the way through. We got in a solid hour of practice today, and we’ll get another hour in tomorrow.
“I like what I saw today. We going to get more voices out there, figure out our leadership and keep plugging away at it.”
The Tigers also practice Wednesday and then the pace really picks up in a couple of weeks for Burdette and his players.
“We need to have these first practices serve as our blueprint for where we move forward,” said Burdette. “We need to find out our strengths and weaknesses, what complementary pieces we need in recruiting, and what our training will be.
“We need to put our plan together in the next couple of weeks and move forward. It is good to get in the gym this week and see what we’re all about.”
The spring semester practices culminate with four play dates in late March/early April when the Tigers face other programs in head-to-head matches or tournament action.
“We want to get out and have some competitive matches,” said Burdette. “We also want to get some tournament play in as well so we get a lot of reps and see some different teams.”
Burdette is the ninth head coach in Memphis volleyball program history. In his four seasons at Green Bay, Burdette produced a remarkable turnaround which saw the Phoenix post three-straight winning campaigns (2015-17) for the first time in program history. Included in that successful three-year run was a 21-9 record in 2016 when Green Bay finished second in the Horizon League regular season and was the league’s tournament runner-up. For his efforts, Burdette was named the 2016 Horizon League co-Coach of the Year.