Jenae Dowling Q&A
More Volleyball Q&A's - -
By Sean Cartell - UK Media Relations
Jenae Dowling, a four-year letterwinner at the University of Nebraska, is in her first season as an assistant volleyball coach at the University of Kentucky. Dowling brings a high-level of both academic and athletic success to the Wildcats and hopes to translate her experiences on the court to the bench in helping lead UK to a championship level. She recently sat down with UK Media Relations to discuss her new job and the upcoming season.
Q: This is your first collegiate coaching job. Talk about your decision to go into coaching and your decision to join the coaching staff at UK?
A: “I’ve always had a passion for volleyball and I knew that I wanted to get into coaching someday. I had been talking to [UK Coach] Craig [Skinner] about getting into coaching and when he got the head job at Kentucky, he asked me to apply. Craig is one of the best coaches in the country and I think coaching is a very fulfilling profession.”
Q: Talk about the opportunity to work with your former coach Craig Skinner.
A: “Playing for Craig was unbelievable. He made us, as athletes, work hard and love the game. That motivates me—I want to be the kind of coach that Craig is. He has such a deep knowledge of the game and I have learned so many things about the game both playing for him and coaching with him. He’s got a great family, he approaches his job with an outstanding work ethic and he makes work fun.”
Q: You played at such a high level of volleyball at Nebraska. How is your success as a player going to help the team be successful?
A: “So much of being successful is having a winning mentality. To win, you have to have the mindset to win and know what it feels like. It takes knowing the mental strains that you are going to have to go through in order to be great.”
Q: What is it going to take for the UK volleyball program to reach a championship level?
A: “We have all of the tools we need in order to be successful. We have an extremely talented group of athletes. The core group of our returning players has tremendous potential. They are great girls and great athletes. The athletics department is so committed to making this program great. The Kentucky fans are great and we really are going to count on their support.”
Q: What most impresses you about the University of Kentucky?
A: “The athletics department has really impressed me. They have given us everything we need to make the program successful. [Athletics Director] Mitch Barnhart and [Assistant Athletics Director] Lisa Peterson have really worked to make sure we have everything that we need and they really believe in us. Mitch is working really hard to make sure that every program here at UK is great. We have everything we need from the support to the funding to the trust they have in our program. The support system is great. The athletes have so many different people to lean on and there are not many places that have all the various support systems.”
Q: You were always known as a stellar student during your playing days at Nebraska. Talk about how important academics are to the total student-athlete experience?
A: “Academics are the main reason our student-athletes are in college. You are a student first and an athlete second. Being a student-athlete is so demanding. It’s like having a full time job and going to school at the same time. The CATS program is unbelievable. It gives our athletes the peace of mind that they have a great support system behind them. They are so good at working with our student-athletes at their time management and helping them to balance everything.”
Q: What are your goals as a coaching staff for the team this season?
A: “We want to take the athletes to a level that they have never been at before. We believe in this team so much. Coming in, we knew the support and facilities were outstanding, but we didn’t know much about the team that was already in place. When we got here we were so impressed with the team. We’re very blessed with the returnees to this year’s team. We want to show them how to win and make them believe that they can.”
Q: What do you say to the Kentucky fans who are thinking about coming to a match this season?
A: “We want the fans to come out and experience a high level of volleyball. They will see a team that loves to play and loves to play for each other. They have fun on the court and love what they are doing. We feel that the fans are going to see this right away. It is so important to love what you are doing and our team does that. They are a great group of kids who have fun and bring a lot of energy to the game—that’s going to show on the court.”