WSU Women’s Volleyball | Photo provided by Allie Matters
After a record-breaking season for Wright State volleyball, Head Coach Allie Matters has been named Horizon League coach of the year.
Where it all started
Matters has only been head coach of WSU’s volleyball team for two years, but she has a long history of volleyball, leading back to her roots in Buffalo, New York.
With so many great examples to look up to, Matters started playing volleyball at the early age of eight years old, and began travel ball at age 11.
“My mom played, my aunt played at West Virginia my uncle played at Penn State. So it’s just kind of been in my family,” said Matters.
After high school, Matters played at Seton Hall University where she was an outside hitter and a libero for her team.
“It’s nice to have experience of playing two different positions in college,” said Matters. “ I find it just easier to relate to my student-athletes in those positions now.”
Volleyball was always something that she took seriously. She was always a captain, and a leader from a young age.
Continuing her love of volleyball
Although it seems as if she was destined for a coaching position, Matters didn’t always see it as part of her future.
After graduating college, Matters thought she wanted to go into pharmaceutical sales, but ultimately decided volleyball was not something that she could let go of so easily.
“After I graduated and volleyball was no longer a part of my life, I was like, ‘I don’t know if I can do this,’” said Matters. “I couldn’t imagine myself in pharmaceutical sales, I couldn’t imagine myself at a desk job.”
Matters then ended up with an assistant coaching position at Seton Hall for six years, and it wasn’t until she came to WSU in 2018 that she was able to be head coach.
“I didn’t want to just take a job to take it you know,” said Matters. “There was a lot of openings when I was an assistant at Seton Hall, but the Wright State job – there were a lot of reasons why I was attracted to it. So it worked out for me and it was a good fit.”
Although it wasn’t always in her plans, as soon as Matters got a taste of coaching, she knew it was where she was meant to be.
For Matters, volleyball was always an outlet and a stress-free environment. She knew the game well, she was good at it and it was a huge source of confidence. Volleyball was always a good experience and she wanted that for all of her student-athletes as well.
“You almost want to give back to the sport that gave you so much,” said Matters.
Matters places a high importance on family in her life, and she brings the family value to her team.
“I have a younger sister and I’m very close with her,” said Matters. “So it’s kind of like you want to treat these student athletes like you would want someone to treat your sister, your younger cousins. For me it’s like a mentorship.”
Matters doesn’t have any children of her own, but in a way, her student athletes are her kids just the same. Overseeing all of their issues and their struggles is just as much a part of her job as coaching them on the court. She sees them through the lowest of their lows and the highest of their highs.
“They don’t like when we call them kids or, you know, girls because they’re not, they’re young women,” said Matters. “But, I think that it’s a very rewarding job and I love my student athletes and I love my team.”
Destined for success
Coming into the head coaching position, Matters knew that she had a talented team. She knew many of the athletes from recruiting and she had high expectations, but her team has absolutely blown her away with all of their success this season.
One of Matters’ favorite things about being a coach is watching the growth of her players.
“What inspires me is just being able to watch them grow, and then to see them graduate and go out into the real world – it’s the best part of the job,” said Matters.
According to Matters, one of the unique qualities of Wright State is the ‘blue-collared-ness’ atmosphere that brings everyone together as a family.
“Everybody’s really down to earth and humble and, I don’t want to say nothing comes easy here, but if you want something you have to work for it,” said Matters. “Our facilities are wonderful. We have really good administrators and staff members and everybody’s here for the same reason.”
Living in the moment
This season has been a season of many firsts for the volleyball team and for WSU. As Horizon league champions, hosts of the NCAA tournament and now the first volleyball team at WSU to have an at-large bid, Matters and her team have made history in more ways than one.
As they head to Purdue, Matters is telling her team to soak it all up and try to enjoy the moment. Win or lose, they made it to the NCAA tournament, and that alone is enough.
“I just want them to enjoy everything,” said Matters. “As a college kid you just plan everything whether it’s next month or the month after that and so I just want them to enjoy the moment for what it is and just compete and leave it all on the court because there’s really nothing else we can do at this point.”
Matters, it seems, is following her own advice as well. Many people ask for what is next, but she is happy right where she is – at Wright State.
“I’m just living in the moment,” said Matters. “I have what I need here at Wright State.”