Feisty, passionate and intense. Not only does she motivate her team through her excitement for the game, but also through her deep-seated need for victory. Her intense drive to be the best pumps up the team and makes them want to play better than ever before.
The “fatherly figure.”
Laid back, relaxed and calm. His reassurance of the team’s ability calms the Wolverines in even the most intense situations. He doesn’t yell; he doesn’t scream. He just shows support and helps them whenever and however he can.
When it comes to coaching, it’s a simple question of relaxation versus intensity. Because of the dynamically different temperaments of its head coaches, the Michigan women’s volleyball team has the best of both worlds. Never having to settle for a single answer, it has the privilege of two completely opposite, yet completely essential coaching techniques as resolutions.
“Mark is pretty laid back,” senior Erin Moore said. “He’s just kind of like, ‘You guys are fine. Relax, you can handle it.’ And Leisa is very in your face. She gets really intense. I think they complement each other very well. Mark is laid back and Leisa is intense. In the gym that’s awesome. You need one of each.”
Maybe it’s true. Maybe opposites do attract. It appears that Leisa’s intense vigor and passion for the game completely complement Mark’s calm, levelheaded reasoning.
The marriage between the coaches adds a different kind of atmosphere to the Wolverines. With a husband, a wife and a three-year-old son running around all the time, the circumstances seem more like a family than anything else. Practices are fun, games are even better and memories off the court last a lifetime.
“We were in Prague this past preseason for a couple weeks,” Moore said. “We did this toboggan thing, and it was absolutely hilarious. Mark and Leisa went on it together in this tiny little sled. We were dying. Because you never see it. I mean, they’re not usually affectionate with each other so we all started dying laughing.”
Not only can Mark and Leisa bring fun and adventure to tobogganing, but they also add excitement to the team wherever they go. From family dinners at their place to friendly competition on the court, their down-to-earth nature allows much interaction with the players. Although that kind of interaction isn’t written into their job descriptions, it’s something they’ve done to go above and beyond their coaching titles. It’s something that brings the team closer together and something that each of the girls fully appreciates.
“Their relationship is great,” freshman Megan Bowman said. “It definitely gives us a family atmosphere. We’re all here together 100 percent of the time. I think we spend more time together than we do apart. It’s good to know you can rely on them for anything. It’s as if they’re the parents, and we’re the kids.”
The family-like closeness that this team shares has become an important part of its game. Trusting teammates can have a great impact on how the game is played. When they learn to trust and respect each other, they play as a team. And when they play together, they win together.
“Friendship-wise, we all get along,” Moore said. “This is the closest my team has been in all my four years. We trust each other a lot. And as far as the coaches go, I’ve gone to them with issues that I’ve had, and I have no problems trusting them. We respect each other a lot, and I think that’s the number one rule.”
The head coaches do everything they can to keep a positive and upbeat environment for the girls. Because they each have a long and involved history of volleyball, the players feed off of their passion and knowledge. It gives teammates endless reassurance to know that their coaches are giving absolutely everything they’ve got.
“It’s definitely a positive atmosphere,” junior Jennifer Gandolph said. “You know both of them are so into it. Volleyball is their lives – both of them. It’s definitely reassuring that it’s everything to them, and they’ll put anything into it and do anything they can to make it as good as possible. It’s a great thing to have them have a relationship with us and then with each other within volleyball.”
The coaches have a relationship with each other, the game and their players. Each one of these energetic interactions adds something unique and special to Michigan’s volleyball team. They will play along side of the players and dig every ball that comes their way. Or the Rosens will invite the team over for dinner. Their complementing temperaments and dedication to each other do something different for the team. They give the Wolverines something else to be proud of.