The following was written by Charlie Foy, special to the Outlook.
Maranatha High School recently filled two voids with the hiring of Nina Vincent, an experienced coach who isn’t afraid to take over the varsity girls’ and boys’ volleyball programs this year.
Volleyball has been a major part of Vincent’s life. She grew up in upstate New York playing the sport in the backyard with family. Her older siblings became role models, and she imitated their every move. They played right-handed, and despite being a lefty, Vincent taught herself to play like her older siblings.
Vincent quickly became a star on her high school team and was noticed by Manhattan College, which gave her a full scholarship.
As Vincent grew older, she grew more competitive and never shied away from a challenge. With a lifelong dream of making the Olympics, Vincent tried out for the team and made it to the second round of Olympics trials.
Then after her playing career ended, Vincent naturally pursued coaching to remain on the court.
“I began coaching at the same time that I began teaching,” Vincent said. “It was a fun way to continue to be involved with the sport I love even after although I no longer played competitively. For me, coaching stems from the love of the playing. I get just as excited for my players as I did when I was on the court.”
Vincent was a natural as a coach, and while coaching a public school in New York, Vincent led the team to three state championships. Despite her accomplishments, Vincent said she is most proud of the growth she’s seen in her players, and she hopes to bring that development to Maranatha. Vincent sees plenty of potential in a girls’ squad that includes only one senior and is focused on improving the team rather than setting specific goals.
“My goal this season is to really hone in on all around skills and game IQ,” Vincent said. “I am a stickler for proper form and with a young team, I will definitely be concentrating on that. I will be working on creating a team that is defensively strong and plays a smart game. You don’t score by hitting the hardest. The ball just has to hit the floor.”
When Vincent moved to Pasadena four years ago, she found a job at High Point Academy as a coach and math teacher. Last year, she coached the junior varsity team at La Salle and assisted the varsity team guided by Tiare Tuitama.
Next year, however, will be a totally new experience for Vincent, and she couldn’t be more excited.
“Everyone at Maranatha has been so welcoming and helpful,” Vincent said. “After meeting a handful of the students, I can definitely see the influence and guidance of the wonderful faculty and staff members I have met so far.”