Former setter now a Division III assistant coach

Kyra Coundourides, a 2018 alumna, is the assistant coach at Baldwin Wallace University, where her parents played.

Then senior setter Kyra Coundourides serves the ball during the Owls’ 3-1 loss to East Carolina on Oct. 6 2017 at McGonigle Hall. | MIKE NGUYEN / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Kyra Coundourides never thought she would be involved with volleyball again after graduating. 

“Volleyball has always held a special place in my heart, but I was ready to branch out and try new things,” said Coundourides, a former Temple University setter and 2018 exercise and sport science alumna.

Coundourides, however, is still immersed in women’s volleyball as the assistant coach at Baldwin Wallace University, a Division III school in Berea, Ohio.

After playing her first two seasons at Virginia Tech, Coundourides transferred to Temple in 2016. She played a pivotal role in the Owls’ offense and served as a strong leader during her two seasons at Temple, coach Bakeer Ganesharatnam said. She recorded 2,360 assists at Temple and earned second-team American Athletic Conference honors last year.

While completing an internship at Villanova’s strength and conditioning program after graduation, she continued to look for her next job. Searching for her next chapter in life led her right back to what she loves most: volleyball. 

Coundourides said she reconnected with her high school coach Scott Carter, who now coaches Baldwin Wallace. He’d offered Coundourides a job during her senior year, but she didn’t take it. After she originally turned it down, Coundourides asked in August if the offer still stood. Carter quickly welcomed her on board the coaching staff, she said. 

Coundourides’s parents, Karol and Stacy Coundourides, both played volleyball at Baldwin Wallace. Kyra Coundourides knew she had a legacy at the school, but did not think she would ever coach there. 

Kyra Coundourides had her first as a coach in 2011 when she began giving private lessons to children at The Academy for Volleyball Cleveland. She mentored players in every position, but she mostly worked with setters. During her time there, she coached one of her teams to a regional championship. 

One of the toughest transitions to coaching is learning all aspects of the game, Kyra Coundourides said. 

Coaches have to make sure the team is in sync and balance players’ personalities, Ganesharatnam said.

“Kyra being a setter, she’s been exposed to some of those qualities that you need to become a good coach, so I think she will make this transition very well,” he added.

Kyra Coundourides said playing for Temple taught her about working with different styles of play and personalities, due to playing with such a diverse roster. Temple’s roster features players from Europe and from across the United States, including several from Hawaii. 

“That taught me how to be adaptable and understanding to all types of personalities and styles of play,” Kyra Coundourides said. “Now as a coach learning all of that at Temple has helped me work with all of these different styles of play and personalities at Baldwin Wallace.” 

Kyra Coundourides’s time at Temple under Ganesharatnam taught her leadership and discipline, which she has carried over to her coaching career, she said.

“She was always very personal on the court, making eye contact and trying to always motivate us on the court,” senior defensive specialist Mia Heirakuji said. 

“She really understands the game,” senior setter Hannah Vandegrift said. “She knows when to push the girls and when not to push so I think coaching is a good path for her.”

Baldwin Wallace is 25-3 this season with Coundourides as an assistant coach. Coundourides sees herself coaching there for a long time and plans to pursue a master’s degree in physician’s assistant studies at the university. 

“I love coaching these girls because I love coaching athletes who play for the love of the game,” Kyra Coundourides said. “They push day in and day out through good and bad times and play because they simply love volleyball. I admire that.” 

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