Next up in SHEs in Sports is volleyball coach Joy Owino.
Name: Joy Owino
Company: Hume-Fogg/Alliance Volleyball Club
Who are you, where are you from, what do you do? What sport are you involved with? In what way are you involved (player, coach, official, etc)?
My name is Joy Owino and I am originally from Nairobi, Kenya. My family moved to the U.S when I was 2 years old. I grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and attended the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I am currently the head varsity coach at Hume-Fogg Magnet school, and this is my first year. It has been a huge blessing to find a school and group of young women to lead.
What inspired you to a position in sports? What was your path there?
I have always been involved in sports and really got into them when I was in middle school. I became a competitive cheerleader first and then found my passion for volleyball after. My brother was a big contributing factor for cheerleading and my school coach really paved the way for volleyball. I played both all through high school, but because of a sport injury my senior year, I did not get to finish.
What about sports brings you the most joy? What’s most challenging part?
The best part of coaching is the impact I am leaving on my girls. The best part of coaching is the impact I am leaving on my girls. I have been doing this for the last 6 years, and I love when I see girls I have coached come and give me the biggest hugs; it makes my heart happy. As long as I have touched one girl or five girls, I feel like I have done my job as a leader! The most challenging part is getting the girls to believe in my vision and learning to be a better coach. I have had a lot of ups and downs, but in those, I have learned to be a better person and coach from the interactions I have with my girls.
What obstacles have you faced, internal or societal, in your involvement in sports?
I do not feel like I am getting the respect of others because I am so young. I think the biggest obstacle is being a young African American in a sport that I believe is predominately coached by White Americans. I do not say that in a mean way, but I think it is just the way it is. I have learned I have to go the extra mile to prove myself, even when I have the same qualifications as others. I am okay with that because it challenges me to step my game up, and become a better coach. I would also say just being young in general. I get the occasional, “You must be a player”, which for me can be hard because I do not feel like I am getting the respect of others because I am so young.
What advice would you give SHEs considering a career path that involves sports?
Be confident in whatever you do and live for your dream. I am going for my dream and could not be happier. Always have a goal and find a way to obtain it!