Alumni Share Favorite Volleyball Moments

Despite The University of Texas’ reputation as a football powerhouse, a new creed echoed during last year’s championship-winning season for Texas Volleyball: “Texas is a volleyball school.”

And maybe that’s always been true. The team’s all-time record speaks for itself: Texas Volleyball has won more than 75 percent of its games since its establishment in 1974, and Gregory Gym has hosted thousands of volleyball fans for all but nine of the team’s 49 years of play.

Many alumni have fond memories of watching the volleyball team play, and some can even trace the trajectory of their lives back to Gregory Gym. The Alcalde collected these stories to celebrate the lasting impact of the sport and cheer the Longhorns on to another spectacular season.

Peak attendance at Gregory Gym has reached more than 5,300 spectators.

One of my first work study jobs at UT was for Coach Mick Haley, who led the Horns to their first national championship [in 1981]. I was an equipment manager. I blew up the volleyballs and washed the uniforms. Fast forward to 2022, and I have the honor of photographing the Horns’ championship run at Greg. I’m still smiling thinking about all the wonderful and unique memories at Greg. There’s no place like it. Point Texas and Hook ’em Horns.”
—Tony Galindo, ’84

I’m a Minnesota fan living here in Austin, and my favorite Texas Volleyball memory is Minnesota winning the regional at Gregory Gym in 2019. I’ve seen so many Minnesota-Texas matches in the past few years, and they’re almost always a great time, great atmosphere, and a truly unique experience for an away fan! The staff, the students, and the entire production value with those matches are so special and well done. Hook ’em and go Gophers!” (Editor’s note: We’ll allow it, just this once.)
—Damion White  

Noonan-Terry (left) and Aldrich, BJ ’01, MBA ’11, Life Member.

I was the Feature Twirler for UT from 1993–2001. Some of my favorite memories are from performing during timeouts at the UT volleyball games. Here I am pictured with Erin Aldrich—a dual sport (volleyball and high jump) Longhorn champion, Big XII Player of the Year, collegiate jumping record holder, and former member of the U.S. Olympic Track Team and U.S. Volleyball National Team.   

Texas Volleyball games are so exciting—the athleticism, the atmosphere, the awesomeness! My husband and I love being season ticket holders and taking our 10-year-old son to games so he can experience the thrill that we enjoyed when we were in college. 
—Coral Noonan-Terry, BS ’98, MA ’99, PhD ’01, Life Member 

Garcia (fourth from left) at his 8th birthday party.

I worked for Texas Athletics for 30 years, so both of our children [with Frank Garcia, BS ’82, Life Member] were raised at Gregory Gym, the Erwin Center, and McCombs Field—regular season events, postseason events, and even some postseason travel trips with the teams.    

In 2007, our third grade son, Jeremy Garcia, was obsessed with the Texas Volleyball team. The Athletics Department used to host birthday parties complete with party favors, Hook ’Em visits, and more, and of course, that’s how he wanted to celebrate his birthday. Little did we know that at the ripe old age of 8 years old, Jeremy was charting his future career path.  

Jeremy proceeded to manage numerous sports teams throughout high school, while Coach Jerritt was ‘recruiting’ him to be his Super Manager at Texas. And that’s exactly how he spent his college years, learning from the best coaching staff and players in the country—in his element.  

Upon graduation from Texas, Jeremy, BBA ’20, Life Member, served a volunteer coaching stint at none other than Penn State under Head Coach Russ Rose. Then, in the spring of 2022, he was hired as an assistant coach at Duke University! Now in his second year at Duke, he is the assistant coach and recruiting coordinator of their volleyball program. None of this would have been possible without the encouragement, advice, and unending support of the Texas staff: Jerritt Elliott, Tonya Johnson, Erik Sullivan, and Jesse Sultzer.”
—Stephanie DeMunbrun, BS ’82, Life Member 

Phillips and the St. Andrew’s Episcopal School volleyball team.
Thompson and Hook ’Em.
Gary and Maureen’s youngest daughter, Katelyn Thompson (second from right), with friends at the 2022 Volley for the Cure game.

My late wife Maureen graduated with her master’s of architecture in 1997. Our son Taylor has two younger sisters, both of whom played volleyball at St. Andrew’s Episcopal School here in Austin. Over the past seven years, they have raised almost $75,000 together with their teammates for the Side-Out Foundation that invests in metastatic breast cancer research, the disease that took their mom. Molly Phillips was the first recipient of the Maureen Thompson Memorial Service Award, a national Side-Out award going to a high school or collegiate volleyball player who excels on and off the court, in memory of my wife. Molly was an intern for the Side-Out Foundation in the summer of 2022 and continues as a Side-Out Ambassador.” Read more about the Thompsons’ story in the Alcalde here.
—Gary Thompson, JD ’00

Here’s a photo of Kevin Thibodeau, BA ’89, Life Member, and myself with Coach Jerritt Elliott (far left) in Omaha after the 2022 National Championship. We’ve been to all of Coach Elliott’s Final Four games, and Kevin was going to them back in the ’90s.”
—Rodney Phillips, BBA ’90, Life Member

CREDITS: From top, Texas Athletics; courtesy of Coral Noonan-Terry; courtesy of Stephanie DeMunbrun; courtesy of Gary Thompson (3); courtesy of Rodney Phillips


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