Lora Sarich Q&A Interview
Riverdale, NY - Newly minted Manhattan Volleyball Coach Lora Sarich took over the program just over two weeks ago. Kelsey LaCour from the Athletic Communications office recently sat down with Sarich for a brief Q&A.
Q: "Where are you from?
Sarich: Originally from Bellevue, Nebraska. What was your route to get to Manhattan College?"
Sarich: "I played at the University of Toledo for four years under the leadership of Kent Miller, he was a very thorough coach that taught fundamentals wins matches. This sparked my interest in coaching. After my sophomore year, my assistant, Regan Adams, had taken over as head coach at the University of West Georgia. I stayed in contact with her and she asked me to be her assistant once I graduated from Toledo. This is where I began coaching and it was a pivotal point for my coaching career. It was extremely different than being a player but she helped mentor me into being the coach I am today. Our team worked very hard and won the Gulf South Conference championship for the first time in school history. This is when I knew I wanted to continue to coach and impact student-athletes. Following West Georgia, I became the director of operations at the University of Georgia where I also coached their club team. Coaching the UGA club team was where I was truly on my own for the very first time in my coaching career. I was fortunate to have coaches who impacted me and that allowed me to ‘try out’ my coaching philosophies.
With that hard working group of ladies we were able to win the National Championship for Collegiate Club Volleyball Championships (NVCF). After working at UGA, I was then a volunteer assistant at Ole Miss, and from there I was an assistant at Austin Peay which was a fast transition because my fiancé was a coach and I worked alongside of him. I then started the program at Point University before subsequently taking over at the University of Northwestern Ohio. While this has been quite the journey to get to Manhattan, I truly believe that each stop along the way has made me the coach I am today. I am thankful for all of people who have impacted my volleyball and coaching career as without each stop I would not be the coach that I am today.
Q: "How do you plan on building the program/culture at Manhattan College?
Sarich: "I have always believed when you are looking to create a culture, it starts with recruiting and buy-in, not only from the student-athletes but also from their families. I want to create a home away from home, be their mentor. I understand that building that culture will take time, takes patience and doesn't happen overnight. Hard work needs to be put in and you need to get to know each individual piece of the puzzle. Being able to start a program from scratch was a neat thing to see ... it was all me. While there are always questions with the transition of a new coach, I am excited to lead by example and put the time in so we can get everyone on the same page with a common goal. I want everyone involved with the program to have a phenomenal experience."
Q: "What kind of player do you look for when recruiting?"
Sarich: "I always look for the competitive drive in a recruit. I want student-athletes that want to continue to learn and advance their fundamental skills. I am looking for well rounded athletes who will continue to bring our play to a higher level."
Q: "How will your experience working at such high major programs help with your time at Manhattan College?"
Sarich: I feel my time at Georgia and Ole Miss (i.e. being in the SEC) opened my eyes to recruiting at a high level. It has helped me to create a network with coaches will help me recruit at Manhattan College.
Q: "What are your hobbies outside of volleyball?"
Sarich: "I enjoy painting, shopping and exploring new places because I love to travel. I’ve been to 42 of the 50 states, England, Cyprus, Bahamas, Mexico and several places on cruises."
Q: "What excited you most about living in New York City?"
Sarich: "There’s so much to do! I think just exploring the different areas, sightseeing, Broadway, professional sports and above all but becoming a New Yorker!"
Q: "What would say your coaching philosophy is?"
Sarich: "We will work hard in the classroom and on the court. We will set goals and formulate a specific vision and then work hard and smart every day to make that dream a reality. We must establish basic skills in order to advance and reach our potential as a team while maintaining a structured offensive and defensive system.
Q: "Does coaching bring you as much satisfaction as playing did?"
Sarich: "Without a doubt! It’s different but still extremely satisfying. I try to put all the knowledge and experiences from when I was a player that could and will benefit the team ... By that, I mean the 'I wish' or 'If I would have known' situations. I will try to further develop each player as I would have wanted to be developed. The end goal is to see the players flourish and to be able to share that with them on and off the court. That to me is the one of the most rewarding things about coaching.
Q: "What do you envision for the future of Manhattan Volleyball and how do you plan to achieve those goals?"
Sarich: "I would like to get Manhattan volleyball to have a competitive culture in the gym while creating goals that we can achieve every day. They have had success in the past but I would definitely like to win the MAAC Title and get back to the NCAA tournament. I think we have a strong recruiting class coming in and with a large returning group that is working hard these goals are achievable."
Q: "Why Manhattan College?"
Sarich: "Why not Manhattan College! It has great resources, an awesome location and I think it’s a place that allows student-athletes to grow. I have fantastic support from the administration which will allow the program to reach its full potential and achieve the level of excellence that I envision. That coupled with the support on campus and Jasper tradition makes it a truely special place."