When Michigan volleyball coach Mark Rosen and his wife,
associate coach Leisa Rosen, were expecting their son Brady, they
had dinner in Hawaii with two collegiate volleyball legends to
discuss the challenge of raising a child while working
side-by-side. Across the table were Texas A&M coaches John and
Laurie Corbelli.

“The Corbelli’s were awesome,” Rosen said about their familial
advice. “They had many ideas and perspectives for us.”

This weekend, the couples will unite once again but under very
different circumstances.

On Saturday evening, they may trade advice over dinner but only
after they coach their teams against each other during the
Michigan/Pepsi Challenge at Cliff Keen Arena.

For the first time ever, the Rosen-led Wolverines (1-2) will
battle Corbellis’s No. 29 Texas A&M Aggies (3-0).

Surprisingly more common than one would think, there are
currently five husband-wife coaching tandems in Division I-A
volleyball. All having been very successful.

“When it works between the husband and wife it’s because the
personalities are very different,” Rosen said. “Leisa and I are
really different. All of the husband-wife staffs are very
different, but we make each other much better coaches.”

And if coaching against friends isn’t hard enough, Michigan also
faces No. 15 Louisville (1-2), led by Mark Rosen’s long-time mentor
Leonid Yelin.

Learning under Yelin, Rosen developed his own unique coaching
style and won the Division II National Championship as head coach
of Northern Michigan in ’94. And he would have won a second in ’95
if not for Yelin’s Barry University team which, according to Rosen,
made significant coaching adjustments to win the championship match
3-1.

“We won 27 straight matches in ’95 and had a great team,” Rosen
said. “It wasn’t like we lost the game, they beat us.”

The two battled again, most recently, during the first round of
the 2000 NCAA Tournament. This time, Rosen was victorious, winning
3-1.

But Rosen assures that the past will remain in the past when the
two teams play each other on Sunday.

“Over the years we have developed this good rivalry,” Rosen
said. “But I try not to get wrapped up in all of that. It is just
nice to play friends.”

No, Rosen doesn’t have any ties with the coach of Michigan’s
third opponent this weekend, Murray State. In fact, his Wolverines
have never played the Racers.

“Murray state is a darkhorse, and they probably will be the
sleeper team in this year’s tourney,” Rosen said. “They are going
to be a lot better than anyone thinks.”

The Wolverines, though 11-2 at home last season, could be in
danger of dropping all three matches if they can’t improve their
serving and consistency.

But coach Rosen is more interested in team development than
beating old friends.

“We need to just get better,” Rosen said. “We can’t get wrapped
up in wins and losses. Our focus is less on the results this
weekend and more on the process of improvement.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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