Oct. 30, 2001
Hailing from Brandon, Florida, Dawn Hough is six feet, two inches of volleyball talent. With her prowess on the court and breaking personal records time and again, you never would have guessed that this blonde beauty had not always dreamed of playing volleyball at the collegiate level.
"Volleyball was something I enjoyed and played for fun, then I found out I had options. I was always a Seminole fan growing up... my dad was a Gator fan and it was a competition thing. Then when I found out they (Florida State) were interested, I came up here and loved it. I followed up on it, and I liked Coach Reynaud a lot."
Other universities recruited Hough, but she is a "family-girl" and chose not to go on any other school visits. The majority of the colleges showing great interest were in California, and she wanted to stay in Florida where she'd be closer to her parents, brothers and sisters, and niece and nephews.
Besides being a Seminole fan, Coach Cecile Reynaud was also a major factor in Hough's decision to compete with Florida State.
"A lot of the coaches called and said, 'This is our university, we're known for this.' But Coach called and said, 'How's your family? How's your niece?' She knew, she remembered, she was at a more personal level. She is very good about caring about us, about injuries, about our academics. She'll do anything to help us with our major. She's just a very good, personable person, you can talk to her about anything."
Although she would probably play in the professional league that is starting if given the opportunity, Hough reiterates that she is very family-oriented and would like to move back to Brandon, where her entire family lives within a five-minute radius of one another. Her goals are to coach in a high school volleyball program and to "send some girl to a D1 school on a scholarship just like my coach did."
Until then, however, Hough has some college living to do. Although they usually do not have a definite destination, she and her group of friends just like to hang out together. Her favorite restaurant is Momo's, and on sunny afternoons you are likely to find her catching some rays at the pool by her apartment building. Hough also spends quite a bit of time at the library studying, although oftentimes it is just to concentrate on something other than volleyball or guys.
"Volleyball," in fact, was the immediate answer to what stresses Hough out the most, as well as school, injuries, bad practices, and when something is going on with her family. Her roommates (teammates Jennifer Anderson, Kristin Frye, and Alex Sevillano), however, are very supportive and offer great conversation and stress relief. In fact, the team is what Hough considers to be her biggest motivation.
"I am very positive to other people, but very negative about myself. A lot of times I am really down on myself, and my teammates are really good about seeing that in my face and then picking me up. That's really my biggest motivation. Also, I really just want to do great for my family."
Driving over four hours for every Florida State home game, as well as making even longer trips for away games, Hough's parents are huge fans of their daughter and of the Seminole squad.
"I just want to thank my parents for everything. They're... amazing. I didn't play for four and a half weeks because of my stress fracture, and they still made it to every game."
Just coming off of her injury, Hough is excited to be back on the court with her teammates. After playing harder teams at the beginning of the season, she was surprised that the team had not performed as well as she had anticipated in the first round of the ACC match-ups, but she believes they now know what to expect and will perform better the second half. What Hough has learned and experienced while playing volleyball at Florida State is something she will always value, as well as lessons about life and college in general.
"There is so much I've learned in college that I wish I would have known before. I've grown up so much, my whole outlook on life has changed. I'm excited to get to the real world and work for high school volleyball."
Until then, we'll be cheering on #14 on the court with the rest of her garnet and gold teammates.