Marian names Mayssa Cook as new head coach
The Marian volleyball program has its new head coach and the Mustangs are hoping this one is around for a while. Mayssa Cook will be taking over the Marian volleyball program, become Marian’s third coach in three seasons. “I am…
The Marian volleyball program has its new head coach and the Mustangs are hoping this one is around for a while.
Mayssa Cook will be taking over the Marian volleyball program, become Marian’s third coach in three seasons.
“I am very excited about this opportunity. I hope to make a big difference for all the players, including those seniors who have one more year to play,” Cook said. “I want them to end their time at Marian on a high note with a positive experience.”
The Mustangs were led by Angela Kalczynski in 2016 before making a change to Lauren Duquette in 2017. Duquette led the Mustangs to the Class A runner-up championship, but is moving on to become an assistant at Oakland University, where she competed in college.
That left the door open for a competitive coaching search for Marian, with Cook able to land the gig.
“I was really excited when I got the job because I know there were some really capable and qualified coaches that applied,” Cook said. “I have Catholic League experience and know the other schools quite well, which I think was in my favor.”
Cook was previously the head coach of Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard for four seasons and she led the Irish to the Class B state championship in 2015 with a perfect 42-0 record.
“At Gabriel Richard, it was a program that nobody knew about, especially when it came to volleyball. My coaching staff and I helped put Gabriel Richard on the map in terms of getting noticed,” Cook said. “Marian is already an established volleyball program, which is nice. You don’t have to go out and sell yourself or the school. Marian has a great history.”
A former player at Schoolcraft and Wayne State University, Cook knows the challenges of playing for multiple head coaches in a short time and that will be the first challenge she has to face at Marian.
“That can be difficult for players. I experienced that when I was in college. I had three different coaches over my last three years. It’s different having to adjust to a new style and a new mindset. Not even just in terms of strategy, but also just in terms of a coach and their attitude,” Cook said. “Based on the previous coaches, I don’t think it will be a drastic adjustment for the girls.”
Cook also spends time coaching the 15 Mizuno and 11 Mizuno teams for Michigan Elite Volleyball Academy. She is confident in her ability to connect with her new players and Marian and make the transition an easy one for them.
“I am pretty strict when it comes to certain things, but pretty lenient and laid back when it comes to the struggles of a student-athlete,” Cook said. “I have been there myself. Volleyball is important for these girls, but it’s not the most important thing. I think the kids will find that I understand that I support their academics as well as the importance of family time and try to create a good balance of that so the kids don’t feel like volleyball is a burden on their time and they feel like it’s a place to have fun and grow.”
Cook won’t be lacking in talent this fall at Marian. The team returns 2019 setter Maddie Dowd (Georgetown) as well as 2019 outside hitter Sarah Cavanaugh and 2020 outside hitter Christine Audette.
“Marian already has some great players and I believe that I will bring in a really advanced offense. Every year it is tweaked based on the players that you have and their abilities, but I hope to run more advanced plays that will throw most high school teams off,” Cook said. “I have had a lot of success developing defensive players. In volleyball, the team that makes the fewest mistakes tends to win so if our defense is able to play clean and keep more balls off the floor, it gives us a great chance to win.”