Follett back on familiar court for Seneca Valley volleyball
It was the perfect storm for former Seneca Valley volleyball standout Dan Follett that led him to become the new coach of the team he once played for.
Six years after his scholastic career ended, Follett is back at his alma mater.
A stellar career as a Raider that concluded in 2007 was followed by a four-year run as a player for Juniata College.
A successful playing career was followed by a chance to coach Division I women's volleyball at Mercer University in Georgia. Follett coached at Mercer for two years while working on his master's degree in education leadership and administration to go with his degree in history education.
“It just happened that I was moving back to the area, when my mom told me that the position at Seneca Valley opened up,” Follett said. “She sent me the link, and I still know a lot of the kids and people.
“I was not planning on this, but when the athletic director (Heather Lewis) called me for an interview, things just lined up perfectly.”
Follett said it was fate that things worked out in this fashion. Now that he's back, the transition has been an easy one.
“My philosophy is hard work and discipline,” Follett said. “I was athletically gifted, but I still had to play hard and smart. I stress team and character over results. You can succeed with positive influences, and I want the players to be better people.”
Follett's background with Seneca Valley was part of the reason he was so intriguing to Lewis.
“It is great to have such an accomplished alum with such experience at this relatively young age,” Lewis said. “To have him back giving back to the community with his energy and optimism … it is so much fun to see him work with the kids with such passion. He has a focused plan for each day.”
Coming from Seneca Valley, Follett knows what it means to be a student-athlete and what it takes to succeed in college.
“I learned about hard work and discipline, and it takes more than just playing to succeed,” he said. “You have to put in the time.”
Follett said his college coaching experience helped him transfer his knowledge to Seneca Valley's players.
“It helped me to understand why I did the things I did as a player,” Follett said. “Transferring the knowledge will help me successfully help them take it in.”
With the season taking shape, Follett said he is excited to see the players grow while under the tutelage of his staff.
“I look forward to the future and understand that the results will probably not come immediately,” he said.
Lewis noted that the team graduated double-digit seniors from last year's team and that Follett is taking on a bit of a rebuilding project.
“Dan cares deeply about the program and wants to put his mark on it,” Lewis said. “He knows this is a process, and I couldn't be more pleased and excited to have such a great mentor for the kids.”
Jerry Clark is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.