Ole Miss Volleyball head coach Steven McRoberts hasn’t thought much about what his reaction will be once he reaches 500 wins in his career as a coach. But McRoberts has to be thinking about it at least a little bit after the Rebels won three games in two days to capture their second-consecutive Magnolia Invitational Championship–wins which give him a total of 499 victories.
“I don’t think it changes a whole lot,” McRoberts said when asked about the feeling of reaching 500 career wins. “It will be nice, and again it just kind of shows that you had longevity in your sport and I am thankful that after 19 years I’m still coaching and I have been able to move up and coach in the SEC.”
The road to 500
Starting out at Lubbock Christian, then making his way to Central Arkansas, Tulsa and now Ole Miss, McRoberts has followed the same fundamental tenet everywhere he has been: If his players and coaches buy into the program, he believes everything will go in a positive direction.
As a result, McRoberts is on the threshold of his 500th win. While he is thankful for all of his achievements, the Rebels head coach refuses to take all the credit. Instead, he praises all the coaches on his staff (past and present) and players he has had a chance to coach.
“There are a lot of people who have been a part of it, a big part of this run,” McRoberts said. “Any time a coach has been blessed to win like I have, you have had great players–all the way from Lubbock Christian University when I was NAIA, to Central Arkansas, to Tulsa, to here. I am just proud to be their coach.”
“I got great assistant coaches that have done a lot of the work to help me get those wins,” McRoberts continued. “It’s just one of those things that takes place in sports. If you’re the head coach, they put the win next to your name and put the loss next to your name. There are so many people, when it does happen, that I am going to be thanking because this isn’t about me. It’s about everything we teach in our program.”
Making an impact at Ole Miss
When McRoberts stepped onto the University of Mississippi campus in 2014, he brought experience and leadership to a volleyball program that was in need of a new face and fresh start. He delivered with a 22-10 record to end the 2014-15 season, which was the best record in seven years for the program. The Rebels equaled their most home wins last season (12-4) and had their best start in program history (14-0).
Despite his success, McRoberts doesn’t like the attention focused on him. After Saturday night’s 3-0 win over Northwestern State, he said the players deserve more of the credit since they are the ones out there going to battle.
“I am not the one out there serving the ball and digging it and getting kills and assists and blocks,” McRoberts said. “That’s what the players are doing, and I am blessed to be here at Ole Miss to do it, to hopefully do it Tuesday,” he said of reaching his 500th victory. “And hopefully this is where I can keep those wins going.”
McRoberts’ chances of reaching his 500th win are in great hands with senior middle blockers Nakeyta Clair and Ty Laporte, sophomore outside hitters Lexi Thompson and Kate Gibson, freshman right side hitter Kathryn Cather and junior setter Aubrie Edie playing at such a high level.
In the Magnolia Invitational, Clair recorded 38 kills, Gibson had 28, Thompson and Cather each had 26 and Laporte had 20. As a team, Ole Miss hit .328 and held its opponents to .179 in attacks.
McRoberts will have a chance to join the 500-wins club when Ole Miss takes on McNeese State Tuesday morning at 11 a.m., followed by a 7 p.m. matchup against Tennessee-Martin.
Hotty Toddy to Coach McRoberts as he approaches this memorable milestone!
(Feature image credit: Joshua McCoy, Ole Miss Athletics)