Former volleyball player Emily Wilson joins coaching staff

Emily Wilson finds “a good way for me being done playing where I still get to be around it.”

Missouri Tigers hitter Emily Wilson swings through the block of Emily Meitz (left) and Gabbi Greenwald (right) at the 2013 Mizzou Classic. Maneater File Photo

She just couldn’t stay away.

Just like last year, Emily Wilson walks into Hearnes Center each day with volleyball tasks ahead. However, this year those tasks have shifted from duties on the court to a job at a desk. Armed with a computer and stash of pens instead of sweaty knee pads and jerseys, Wilson sits at her office chair, the seat of the new operations coordinator.

“With people like Emily who have played for four years and volleyball has been such a big part of her life for so long, it's hard to just walk away from it,” coach Wayne Kreklow said. “I think being involved in the program, being involved with the coaches, still interacting with the players, traveling, being part of the whole deal has been a rewarding experience.”

Her decision to join the program as a coach began after her final playing season concluded. When considering her next step, Wilson was caught between playing overseas and extending her education through graduate school. The decision made itself.

“Playing overseas just kind of fell off, and I was OK with that,” Wilson said. “I was ready to move on from the playing aspect at least.”

Thus Wilson began her grad school applications, considering Mizzou and a few other universities as her next educational destination. Along with her school selection, Wilson grew “nervous” that she wouldn’t be able to find a graduate assistant position.

Initially, she believed her current position would be occupied. Fortunately for Wilson, after a few conversations inquiring about available options, she was offered the job that she didn’t know was available. After reviewing the its heavy load, she was offered the position. Her response was definite.

“I want it,” Wilson said. “I know this is what I want to do.”

Since her hiring, Wilson has made her transition from spandex and serves to receipts and reimbursements. Now, the player Kreklow considered “a solid steady influence” and “the rock” of the team utilizes the same reliability in her new position.

On a day to day basis, Wilson handles a hefty cumulation of emails, phone calls and receipts, all to plan for the trip or game ahead. Despite the precise planning her position requires, Wilson’s experience on the team gives her a leg up.

“Being a player, you know how things run — hotels, food, you know those things go on, but I never knew or appreciated how much work this person did,” Wilson said. “It's a lot but it's very rewarding.”

Although Wilson remains in the same building with the same players and coaches she built “strong relationships with,” their interactions have been somewhat limited and altered given the new dynamic.

“I still love her to death, but because of her position, we’re not allowed to have as close of a relationship just because she’s working and not playing,” junior middle blocker Julia Towler said. “I still love having her around. I love seeing her. I love talking to her. She always brightens my day everytime I see her.”

In spite of her changes in relationships and daily duties, Wilson finds that her job is the perfect transition from playing to professionalism.

“Still being around it is a big reason why I chose to take the position,” Wilson said. “It's hard after playing for so many years, it's really hard to just cut it off. This is a good way for me being done playing where I still get to be around it, around people and at the same time continuing my education.”

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