Still considered a young program, TCU volleyball has a well- established leader. While only in its sixth season, the Horned Frogs are under the direction of Sandy Troudt, a 23-year veteran of high school, college and international head coaching.
With thousands of hours of on-court experience, Troudt is considered one of the best teachers in the sport. She has an enormous amount of knowledge regarding the sport and has the ability to impart that wisdom on her players.
However, Troudt's focus is more than just winning and losing. Her goal is to build a well-rounded student-athlete-citizen.
"Volleyball only lasts a portion of my players' lives," states Troudt. "I try to give them advice on the court that they can use in situations off the court."
In addition to building well-rounded individuals, Troudt also has developed a reputation of building programs from the ground level, through her remarkable work at Goodland, Kan., Greeley, Colo., the USA Youth National Women's Volleyball programs and, just prior to coming to TCU, Texas Woman's University.
Before beginning her successful coaching career, Troudt was herself a solid collegiate athlete, although she downplays much of her athletic ability. From 1974-78, she played setter and outside hitter for Northern Colorado in Greeley, Colo. She served as the team's captain for her final two seasons.
"The game has changed so much since then," Troudt said. "My strength was in my effort and consistency. No one tried harder and no one wanted to win more than I. I coach with that same attitude."
Troudt completed her undergraduate studies at Northern Colorado in 1978, receiving a bachelor's degree in kinesiology.
Troudt began the first of her 23 years of coaching at Goodland High School, where her teams appeared in four consecutive Kansas state championship tournaments from 1978 through 1982 - including taking home the 1981 state title. From there she returned to her hometown of Greeley to transform the program at Greeley West High School from a 2-19 finisher into a 22-3 state runner-up in only four years. She was recognized as Colorado's District Six Coach of the Year in 1986.
Also in 1986, while at Greeley West High School, Troudt finished her master 's degree in special education from the University of Northern Colorado.
Troudt's national reputation has grown steadily, principally through her success and involvement with the USA Volleyball Junior and Youth National Team programs. In 1994, she spent the summer at the United States Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and took the USA Youth National Team on an international competition tour in Mexico, site of the NORCECA Junior Championships.
"That was a real thrill for me. To be able to go to another country and face that type of competition was incredible. The level of international competition was better than any intercollegiate volleyball in the United States. It was a career highlight for me," Troudt said.
Then, in 1995, Troudt assembled a team that trained in San Diego before travelling to Slovakia, where the team claimed the Slovakia Cup.
Aside from being involved with the USA Volleyball team, Troudt is very active in NCAA circles. She was named to the NCAA District 7 Division I ranking committee for the 1997-1999 term.
Before coming to TCU, Troudt chaired the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division II All-American Committee for four years. She has also been a past member of the AVCA National Ranking Committee and is currently a member serving a term from 2000-02. Troudt has spoken at the 1993, 1998 and 1999 AVCA National Conventions. In 2001, she served as the keynote to the seminar, speaking on using technology in coaching. In addition, she also serves as a faculty member of the American Sports Education Program (ASEP).
Troudt is also currently a member of the United States Volleyball Coaching Accreditation Program (CAP), an elite group of only 40 coaches.
Troudt coached for 10 seasons at Texas Woman's University in Denton before taking the reigns of TCU's upstart program in the fall of 1995. In her decade-long tenure at TWU, she compiled a 194-161 record.
Throughout her years at TWU, Troudt was able to lead a group of players who she defined as overachievers into the national rankings at the Division II level. In 1992, the team was nationally ranked sixth or higher in a region that consisted of 36 teams.
"To be honest, we did not have the financial comforts that many of the programs we competed against had," Troudt said. "That's not an excuse for anything, because we were a good team. But it might have kept us from going to the very top."
In her years as a coach, her teams have excelled in the classroom. During her 15 years as a collegiate head coach, Troudt has seen nearly all of her student-athletes graduate from college. In fact, while she piloted the TWU Pioneers, over 95 percent of her student-athletes graduated.
It's that part of her coaching philosophy that she says helps rejuvenate or build programs.
In 1993, the Texas Woman's volleyball program was nationally recognized as having the top grade-point average for Division II teams.
"I put a real emphasis on the classroom. Most student-athletes aren't afforded the chance to play much after college, so they need to get as much out of college academically as they can," Troudt said. "I am always very proud of the fact that my teams do so well in the classroom."
She had reason to be proud again after her first year at TCU. The team, composed almost entirely of freshmen, earned a 3.2 cumulative team grade point average. And that tradition continues. Five TCU players - Jennifer Cuca, Lindsay Hayes, Jennifer Sebastian, Rachel Shirley and Bethany Toce - were named to the 2000 WAC All-Academic team following last season.
What Troudt expects from her student-athletes is simple: to work hard on the floor and to work hard in class.
In other words, win in everything you do.
Youth national team head coach
1996 4-30, 1-17 WAC (8th)