Boston College head coach Jason Kennedy has received the full backing of his staff and players ahead of the new season, with assistant Marissa Prinzbach saying: “He makes every kid feel valued.”
The Eagles return to action with an exhibition match against Northeastern on August 24 ahead of their Oregon Classic appearance the following weekend, and the mood in the camp is resoundingly positive as preparations take shape.
Kennedy received The Heights Coach of the Year award after he turned around a team that won just seven matches in 2017 and racked up a .500 win percentage in his first year at the helm – a figure BC had not achieved since 2004.
The former Southern California associate head coach, who arrived at Boston with an impressive track record, has filled the Eagles with optimism ahead of the 2019 season and Prinzbach was unreserved in her praise for Kennedy.
‘Calm, cool and collected’
“I’ve never seen someone be as calm, cool, and collected as he is be as successful really in every aspect that he has in the volleyball world,” she told BCHeights.com.
“Whether it’s as a recruiting coordinator, an associate head coach, or as a data volley guy that’s coming up with all of the scouting reports on the international and national level – I’ve never seen someone with this demeanour have this high a success rate.”
Prinzbach admitted Kennedy’s approach took some getting used to, but the Eagles quickly recognised the impact of his methods as they got off to a 9-0 start in non-conference play.
On the players’ response to Kennedy’s coaching, Prinzbach summarised: “I think probably the first month or so, they seemed a little hesitant, not because I don’t think they believed what Jason was saying.
“It was just because I don’t think they necessarily believed in themselves to be able to do what he was asking.
“[He] makes every kid feel valued, feel important—which, coming from a top-five program in the country, you just don’t see that type of outreach or that type of charisma from some of those bigger schools.”
Prinzbach’s praise was echoed by senior Jane DeJarld who has been on the team for three years and captained the Eagles in 2019.
“When we found out Jason was our coach, I think there was just so much more hope and such a clearer vision of what we could actually be as a team,” said DeJarld.
“That’s something that’s really helped us.”
Boston’s first match in the 2019 Atlantic Coast Conference sees them travel to Clemson on September 27 ahead of a trip to Georgia Tech two days later.
Their first home game does not arrive until they play Duke on October 4, but Kennedy said that starting the campaign with plenty of time on the road would stand his players in good stead as they aim to become the first BC team to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.
“Being on the road for the first five weeks of the season is going to be tough but it will help us get used to an area we struggled in last year,” said Kennedy.
“We had a hard time winning on the road [in 2018] so we want to give ourselves plenty of chances to play some good teams prior to starting the conference on the road at Clemson and Georgia Tech.”