Q & A: John Dunning

Sept. 30, 2003

Question and Answer With Head Women's Volleyball Coach John Dunning ...

Q: How do you motivate your athletes to compete at the highest level?

A: Our philosophy is based in a commitment to the team, those who built the program, pride in the program and belief that true motivation is internal.

Q: How tough is the level of competition in the Pac-10 Conference?

A: Very, very tough!! No change in sight for this. Every school has great resources and great coaching. It will make you unhappy or prepare you to win the last match.

Q: Talk about Maples Pavilion and what it adds to the program.

A: The building itself is terrific and soon to be one of the best in the country. The atmosphere is helped by all the loyal Stanford supporters, the band, the Tree, the Dollies and the all of the kids from the surrounding communities. Our events staff is also very important, they allow the event to be fun and exciting while still keeping things headed in a positive direction for every one.

Q: Can a crowd really affect the outcome of a volleyball match?

A: Yes!!!!!!!!!!! This is our court, we are here to defend it! With everyone pushing us with their energy it is much easier for us to go forward and our opponents to get distracted. Besides, it just makes each match so much more fun when there is great energy in the building.

Q: What can we expect from this year's women's volleyball team?

A: We are committed to getting better every week. Our goals are set high. No one can be the best team at the start of the season every year. Even when we have great players it takes time and hard work to develop as a team. We can be one of the teams playing the last match of the year if we keep improving each day.

Q: How has the libero position changed the game of volleyball?

A: As much if not more than the change to rally scoring. Both changes have brought greater parity to the sport. More matches are competitive than ever before. The libero allows any team to specialize in ways not possible before. Very few all around players are required to be a great team. It is exciting for the volleyball lovers out there, but the hairs that were just turning gray are now falling out.

Q: What do you tell your student athletes on balancing academics and athletics?

A: Very little, most student athletes come here knowing that they want to have balance in their life and they already know how to do it. If they are unsure then we can only hope that when they look at our staff they become more convinced of the direction they should go. If they need help then there are amazing resources here to help them.

Q: Who were the greatest influences on your professional career?

A: Julie, Lisa, Lauren, Bill, and Audrey- all Dunnings

Q: How do the academic requirements at Stanford affect your recruiting?

A: The requirements for admission here at Stanford are indirectly the reason so many amazing student athletes have brought unequaled success (In the volleyball world) to this program over the past two decades . At times it is easy to be upset when a great player either doesn't get in or just doesn't apply, but there are some great reasons for why so many are interested in the first place.

Q: What type of student-athlete do you recruit? What intangibles are you looking for?

A: Intelligent, confident, caring, intent on being the best, having the desire to be part of a team ...

Q: What single rule change in the last five years has had the most effect on the collegiate women's game?

A: Answered above.

Q: Name the best collegiate volleyball match you have ever coached and why.

A: I don't look at my job that way. The players play the game. What ever I bring to the plate is done way before any competition. Our first match with USC last year was one of the most fun to be part of. Not only were there some great players on the court, there were two very good teams as well. What a cool thing it is to watch when amazing plays happen one after another. Playing a great team in a great setting for a great prize can bring about thoughts of 'that was the best ever'.

Q: Name the best rivalry in collegiate women's volleyball.

A: To tough of a question to answer. I am just now beginning to understand the Pac-10 ...

Q: How did you spend your summer?

A: After almost 30 years of coaching I just realized that the winter is when I should vacation. I work most of the summer to get ready for a new season and a new team, but this winter....

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