Since he took over the head coaching reins from Geoff Carlston in 2003, Brady Starkey has built the Concordia University Golden Bears volleyball team into a national power and led the St. Paul based school to six straight Division II national championships.
Starkey was interviewed Friday night after the top ranked Golden Bears came back from a two sets to one deficit to beat the second ranked Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs three sets to two.
He described the keys to the program's success as having a lot of talented kids and a good pool to recruit from.
Starkey described the influence Carlston had on his ability to get his athletes to make changes in their game. "You have to make sure kids are trying to change bad habits," he said.
He also mentioned about how he goes about recruiting high school players to wear the dark blue and gold Concordia uniform. He looks for tough, low maintenance players who fit the team's style of play. "We reap the rewards of that," he said.
One of two freshman on the Golden Bears (and also interviewed in the next article) is Riley Hanson, from Nevis.
Starkey describes Hanson, who started Friday's UMD match on her style of play. "She was pretty polished coming in."
Another freshman Starkey talked about was Emma Lange, from Caledonia. According to Starkey, she has processed a lot of information well.
"She's going to be a fantastic collegiate player," he said.
Walt Weaver, long-time Apple Valley and Lakeville North head coach, whose daughter Cassie is a senior on the Golden Bears gave his views on her playing on a successful team. "She's loved every minute of it."
He also described Starkey's amazing championship run. "No one will ever do what Brady has done again."
Starkey describe Minnesota high school volleyball as some of the best in the country along with California and Texas. "Minnesota is right up there."
Can the Golden Bears go for their seventh straight title in December? There's plenty of season left.