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LuCinda McMillan


The Daily Reflector

Thursday, October 12, 2017

First-year coach LuCinda McMillan’s North Pitt volleyball team has a chance to earn at least a share of its conference championship tonight. McMillan, who played collegiately at East Carolina, chatted with Reflector prep sports beat writer Jordan Anders this week about taking over the Panthers program and the biggest adjustment of being a first-year coach.

Q: How long has volleyball been a part of your life?

A: I got into volleyball about the fifth grade, because my older sister (Lakeya) played in the seventh grade and I just started playing with her.

Q: Are you originally from Greenville?

A: No, I’m from Durham. I came here because ECU recruited me for volleyball.

Q: What years did you play at East Carolina?

A: I was there from 1997-2001.

Q: What do you remember about your playing days?

A: I had a lot of good memories and made a lot of good relationships, and I really developed my game at ECU, because all of my years playing up until college, I played outside. When I got to ECU, my coach told me if I wanted to play, then I had to play middle, so i had to learn a whole different aspect of the game. I enjoyed that, because as a middle, you’re very involved in the game, so my love for volleyball grew because my involvement grew. Just great memories.

Q: How did you get into coaching?

A: When I graduated in 2001, I started coaching and actually moved down to Atlanta and coached down there for two years. Then, I came back to Greenville to pursue my master’s in public health at ECU, and I was introduced to the club CPVC in about 2010, then I coached until that folded in 2015.

Q: What about the opportunity at North Pitt? How did that come about?

A: I wanted to get back into coaching because I missed it, but one of my old players had reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in that vacancy. ... I applied for it, met (principal Maurice) Harris, met (athletic director Matt) Goddard and the other administrative staff and they brought me on board.

Q: You’re almost through your first season. What has this year been like?

A: It’s been a great experience. They’re a great group of girls at North Pitt. Hard-working, humble, and just hungry. The experience has been very enjoyable, and it’s just flown by. I cannot believe senior night is (tonight). I can’t wrap my head around that. Hopefully we can finish strong and carry this momentum over into the conference tournament and the state playoffs.

Q: Has there been any part of taking over this program that surprised you at all?

A: I think it was a little surprised how welcoming they were. Having played under (former coach Amanda) Morris for so long, I didn’t know how they would receive a new coach, but the parents, the athletes have all been very warm and receptive. It’s been a great experience.

Q: Did you think this team would be going into the final night of the regular season with a chance to share the conference title?

A: To be honest, no. I thought we would win it right out. That was my intention and my goal. I didn’t want to share the title. [laughs]

Q: But you had confidence this team was going to be competing for a league championship?

A: Absolutely.

Q: Why?

A: Because I saw a little bit of what they had in open gym, and I knew it was something I could work with. With their hunger and my direction, I felt like I could steer them in the right direction.

Q: Why has this team played so well this season?

A: I think their leadership. The leadership has helped the most, and the respect the teammates have for the leaders on this team. A lot of them lead by example. They don’t just talk the talk. They walk it, and that’s huge. I think that leadership has helped us the most.

If you have a suggestion for a player to be featured in Prep Spotlight, contact Jordan Anders at janders@reflector.com, 252-329-9594 or follow @ReflectorJordan on Twitter.