Volley Good Show

Published 12:29 am Sunday, August 2, 2009

Coaching is teaching, and Billina Donaldson’s classroom is Southeastern Ohio.

Normally, Donaldson is the second-year head volleyball coach at the University of Rio Grande. But during the summer she expands her walls with volleyball camps, whether at Rio Grande or at high schools throughout the Southeast Ohio.

“I’m on a mission,” said Donaldson as she was finishing up a camp last week for Ironton High School.

“I want to teach a whole different mindset of volleyball throughout Southeast Ohio. I want kids to approach the game in a different way. I want to encourage them on training for volleyball and thinking volleyball outside of volleyball season.”

The camp at Ironton was the eighth stop on a 10-camp schedule this summer. Two camps were held at Rio Grande and the others at various high schools. She says the camps have a two-fold purpose.

“I want to teach the game of volleyball and I get a chance to know the players in Southeast Ohio,” said Donaldson. “We had around 80 kids at our camp on campus and I knew everyone’s name before the end of the first day.”

Donaldson admits to being obsessive compulsive. She is a stickler for detail, even down to the terminology.

“I want kids to say pass instead of bump and I want them to know that it’s a kill, not a spike,” said Donaldson.

It’s called a kill instead of a spike? Donaldson should know. She’s had enough kills during her playing career.

Donaldson was a four-year starter at Rio Grande and a two-time All-American. Considered the best volleyball player in school history, Donaldson set NAIA records for most kills in a match (55) and most kills per game in a season (6.85) in 1993.

Donaldson was instrumental in a school-record for consecutive matches won (40) in 1991. She posted 20 kills on 19 occasions and is sixth all-time in NAIA history with career kills (2,512).

After her playing career ended, she served as an assistant to coach Patsy Fields at Rio Grande before coaching stops at Shawnee State University and Wellston High School as an assistant and then taking over as a head coach at Hanover United and Jackson high schools.

The 77th member of the Rio Grande Athletic Hall of Fame, Donaldson just wants to spread the word to her enlarged classroom.

“Basketball, softball and track are great sports, but volleyball is a lot of fun, too. I’d like to see girls playing more than one sport instead of limiting themselves,” said Donaldson.