New coach Scott Barbe and his players have high goals for the MCCC volleyball program.
“Our hope is to eventually have an actual community college program for volleyball,” Barbe said. “We’re trying to show the board of directors and trustees that we can create a winning team.”
The volleyball club is a long way from reaching that goal. The requirement to have a varsity program is a minimum of five active sports to join the Junior College Athletic Association. Currently there are only two, bowling and volleyball.
“The big stumbling block is the money,” says Linda Lauer, a member of the MCCC Board of Trustees and a supporter of the volleyball program.
Lauer’s proposal to provide funding for the sports programs at MCCC is to add a $25 activity fee for every student who enrolls at MCCC. It could raise as much as $250,000 for the programs per year.
“Most colleges have these types of fees; MCCC is very unique in this regard,” Lauer said.
Lauer sees sports as a way for the alumni to feel a connection to the school.
“Alumni don’t come back to their college to attend a chemistry class, they come back to see athletics,” Lauer said.
Lauer also said it has other benefits.
“I also think reconnecting with our former grads through sports will attract much needed scholarship money for our students,” Lauer said.
Barbe, a Clinton township resident, was named head coach of the MCCC volleyball club last month. He has 12 years of head coaching experience, including the head coach at Monroe High School last season.
Lauer, who helps organize the team and plays volleyball, said there were many reasons Barbe was the best choice for the MCCC coaching position.
“Scott is very enthusiastic about building this program,” Lauer said. “He knew the area and knew the players in the area.”
Barbe took the position because he was looking to coach for a college level team.
He said he looks forward to coaching players who’ve played for awhile and have a high knowledge of the game.
He also said he wanted to create something from the ground up.
Candice Salliote is a student at MCCC and also president of the soccer club. Salliote’s job as president is to recruit players and keep current players informed about the schedule.
Salliote said she thinks the new coach will move the volleyball club in the right direction.
“Last year we wanted to prove ourselves and with a new coach that can help us,” Salliote said.
Although it is hard to predict who is going to have a good season this year, Salliote said three players to watch are Leigh Toeppe, Kim Lambert and Jamie Newcomer.
Lauer also had high praise for Salliote.
“Candice can hit the ball harder than most anyone I have seen,” Lauer said.