July 10, 2009
Danny P Smith -
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State''s athletic department has encouraged its coaches and student-athletes to be visible throughout the community of Starkville.
Many sports have followed through with that request from MSU Athletic Director Greg Byrne and the administration.
The volleyball team takes advantage of one of those opportunities today.
The Lady Bulldogs are scheduled to be at the multi-purpose facility at the Starkville Sportsplex from 1-3 p.m. and will volunteer their time to conduct a skills and drills teaching session for the Starkville Boys and Girls Club.
MSU volleyball coach Jenny Hazelwood has encouraged her players to become more involved with community service projects.
Hazelwood understands those things are important to Byrne, Associate Athletic Director and Senior Women''s Administrator Ann Carr, and the rest of leaders of the department.
"In our business of being a college athletic department, we need the support of the community," Hazelwood said. "We can''t do all we do without their support. Starkville and the area around is so great about supporting Mississippi State athletics. We want our athletes to understand giving back to the community is important because of their support for us. It''s great to give back."
Hazelwood said the Starkville Boys and Girls Club called and asked if the Mississippi State volleyball team would like to do something for its organization.
After the football team did something similar, Hazelwood jumped at the chance to teach the game to children.
The multi-purpose building at the Starkville Sportsplex has plenty of space for a volleyball net, and there appears to be a desire to learn.
"They don''t really know much about volleyball, so they were wanting to know if we would come in and have a little clinic to teach the kids how to pass the volleyball, how to set it, and how to hit it," Hazelwood said. "The girls that are here second term (will participate) as long as it doesn''t conflict too much with their class schedules. We''re going to go over and work with the kids in eighth grade and younger because that is allowed under NCAA rules."
Since Hazelwood was hired Jan. 14, she has encouraged her players to be visible in the community.
She said the players can receive the satisfaction of knowing they did something to brighten the day of some child.
The Lady Bulldogs like to do things as a team and individually.
MSU junior middle blocker Ashley Newsome is one of those players who gets out and lends a hand when she can.
"It''s really exciting working around kids," Newsome said. "We look forward to helping them out, showing them some things and some of the sets that we do. It''s hard to explain. I''m just encouraged by helping the community."