Warren County seems to keep calling back Bethany Fye. When she finished her college volleyball career and followed by completing her degree in Psychology this spring, Fye began mapping out her next steps. The same place that lured her from Wisconsin as a teenager was able to draw her in again, as Fye is back to her familiar stomping grounds.
The former superstar Lady Pioneer is again roaming Charlie Dalton Gym this fall as an assistant coach of the WCHS volleyball team. It comes on the heels of an impressive run at Asbury University, where Fye was a four-year standout at the collegiate level. The former Eagle soared back to McMinnville though, a place she’s always felt a welcoming embrace.
“I loved graduating from Warren County High School and I loved my teachers. I’ve loved how I have been welcomed back as an assistant. It’s just a community aspect with all the people and how I feel loved all the time,” said Fye, who moved to Warren County in middle school and quickly became a local volleyball sensation. “The community of volleyball (keeps me coming back). Not only these girls and coach E (Erin Blalock), but volleyball in general is a fun sport to play so I always want to be involved and around it.”
It was a no-brainer for Blalock to bring Bethany back in the fold when the coach realized the program’s leader in kills was going to be in the area. Fye brings a wealth of knowledge to the Lady Pioneers, including experience in playing the region, something she helped lead the program to in each of her last two years (2016-17).
Fye can also step into the shoes of younger players and realize how hard it is to make the transition to a higher level. It wasn’t long ago when she was a wide-eyed freshman in Kentucky getting a crash course in college volleyball.
“We came in for two weeks in the preseason and straight practiced constantly. It was a lot of finding out how college volleyball worked and going from there,” said Fye about her introduction to Asbury. “I got to play varsity in my freshman year as a middle and it was very scary at first. It was a lot faster play and we had a lot of great girls.
“We had a senior setter who took me under her wing and taught me the ropes of college volleyball. It was learning curve, especially in the sense where it’s not high balls at the time and you’re setting 1’s, setting 31s, back-setting and everything is a quicker pace.”
Fye, who works in Dowelltown and is soon to be wed to her college sweetheart, caught on quickly with the Eagles. In her first two seasons, she was a front-row middle who piled up kills and led the program in blocks both years.
By the time she was a junior, Fye was asked to change her game. There was some thought she could be a setter – “We got some recruits at the last minute,” Fye said with a laugh about the prospects of setting – before she settled into playing the full rotation for the Eagles. The added responsibility tested her on the court, particularly her conditioning.
“Endurance is a really big thing - You have to have the endurance and be able to read the ball (when playing a full rotation),” said Fye. “Being a middle-back and a middle-front, I was running sideline-to-sideline a lot, blocking and playing back row. I had to learn when I needed a rest and when I could push through.
“Overall, the reading of the game – being able to read the ball – is probably the biggest difference when playing the front and back row.”
By last fall when she was wrapping up her career, Fye was back on the front row full time and hammering away. She contributed 195 points in 22 matches, including 132 kills. She also added 71 blocks and 67 digs and was honored with the 2021 NCCAA Scholar Athlete Award.
Fye was lucky enough to play all four years, with COVID-19 only dealing some blows in terms of cancellations throughout the 2020-21 seasons. Looking back, Fye recalls a match during her sophomore year as one of the biggest highlights.
“We made it to the very end before falling the finals in the conference tournament,” recalled Fye about her 2019 season. “It was a highlight because it was such a fun game to play. It was the first time we had taken Kokomo to five sets and there was so much energy on the court.
“We had an awesome setter and she knew where to put the ball, how to read and how our hitters were. It was a really big blessing to play in that match.”
Now, Fye has to adjust to being the spectator on gamedays. It’s not going to be easy, but one other detail during coaching has been the tougher pill to swallow for the first-year assistant coach.
“I’m actually coaching a lot of girls that are younger siblings of players I played with, so it’s weird to think about because they were in middle school or elementary school back when I was playing,” laughed Fye.
Overall though, Fye has nothing but great things to say about being back with her favorite sport, saying, “It’s really fun to have a different perspective (coming from playing) and being able to coach girls the game I love has been really awesome.”
It hasn’t taken long for the Lady Pioneers to love playing for Fye too.
This is the sixth in our series of Security Federal College Spotlights coming this summer. If there is an athlete you’d like to see featured, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dillon Haley, football at Maryville: https://www.wcsportsauthority.com/post/security-federal-college-spotlight-dillon-haley
Brooks Helton, baseball at Trevecca: https://www.wcsportsauthority.com/post/security-federal-college-spotlight-brooks-helton
Will Cantrell, baseball at Bryan College: https://www.wcsportsauthority.com/post/security-federal-college-spotlight-will-cantrell
Bracton Womack, golf at TTU: https://www.wcsportsauthority.com/post/security-federal-college-spotlight-bracton-womack
Emily Mikkola, softball at TWU: https://www.wcsportsauthority.com/post/security-federal-college-spotlight-emily-mikkola