For most student-athletes the dream of being involved on a collegiate team is over after their four semesters of playing with the team, but Marissa Rangel, senior liberal arts major, manages to have the glory of preparing for graduation and coaching as a student assistant for Wesleyan’s volleyball and softball programs.
Christy Clawson, head volleyball coach, said Rangel is a great asset to the team as a recent volleyball player and coach.
“She is an intelligent volleyball player,” Clawson said. “She knows the game, and the fact that she has played with some of these guys [returning volleyball players] before, they respect her opinion and she gives them good feedback about what she sees that they can correct.”
Clawson said the players go to Rangel and ask what they need to change or do differently.
“I wouldn’t just let any student be an assistant. She’s been there, and she gets it,” Clawson said. “She [Rangel] has a very high volleyball I.Q. She understands the game and the concept of the game.”
Clawson said if she had to pick one quality that stands out the most about Rangel is that she is relatable to the team.
“She can relate to them on a different level than myself or my assistants,” Clawson said.
Clawson said when it comes to a student coach the quality that holds importance over any other is knowing the game.
“Most players don’t get it [the game], but it is a developmental process,” Clawson said. “Some will graduate as seniors and still really not grasp the concept of the game and be able to play the game ahead in their mind and act out on the court. [Rangel] does that very well.”
Stephanie Dominguez, junior mass communication major, said when she found out that Rangel was going to be a student assistant, she was relieved, because the team had just lost its assistant coach, who meant a lot to the team.
“Marissa is the missing puzzle piece we needed this year to keep us all glued together. Personally she’s like my safety blanket, someone I can trust without a doubt,” Dominguez said.
Not only has Rangel made an impact on her coaches, but she has made an impact on team players like Dominguez
Rangel said what she likes most about being a coach is she gets to share her knowledge of volleyball with others and help them get better. She said the most important thing in her job is patience.
“Patience is the biggest thing I have learned,” Rangel said. “Yes in the beginning it was extremely hard to transition from player to coach, because at any moment I just wanted to throw a jersey on and play.”
Rangel has learned to differentiate her player mind-set and coach mind-set, but she has not done it alone.
“I owe both coach Shannon Gower and Clawson a huge thanks for allowing me to get the experience and be a coach with them,” Rangel said.
Rangel said she is excited to graduate this year, but she is bittersweet about leaving behind the first collegiate team she has coached.
“After I graduate I am hoping to attend graduate school with a graduate assistant position,” Rangel said. “I am excited to graduate and have the diploma and to feel accomplished, but I’m pretty sad about leaving the team.”