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What does an athlete do when playing days are done? Most find a way to stay connected to the lifeline they have had running through them for most of their lives. Often it is through coaching and in 2010 when Georgetown College's Amy Barmore crossed the stage for graduation, she knew she wanted to continue to be involved in volleyball.
The Louisville, Ky. native (Male High School) re-wrote the record books in four seasons in the Orange & Black. Barmore had already started giving lessons and coaching club while at Georgetown, but wanted another challenge. She jumped in as an assistant for Tates Creek High School and then Scott County High School. Two years ago, the door opened for her to come back to the Georgetown sidelines as the Tigers assistant.
But tomorrow she leaves with another challenge and the goal of returning to the playing surface.
"Nick (Griffin, Georgetown's head coach) brought this all on," Barmore said with a laugh. "He came to me at the start of preseason and told me he had a goal for me – to try out for the U.S. Women's National team, and he gave me no option. He said he was flying me out there and I was doing this."
Griffin was Barmore's coach her senior year, when the Tigers advanced to the NAIA National Tournament Finals – only the second team east of the Missouri to advance that far.
"Amy is one of the truly special individuals, and I knew giving her this challenge was exactly what she needed. I think she is one of the best female athletes to have come through Georgetown," Griffin said. "She's too good not to give this a shot and even though she hasn't been playing, her time on the sidelines has made her even better if that is possible to imagine."
From 2006-09, Barmore became the Tigers' all-time digs leader with 2,804 (next closest 154 away) and her 270 aces also tops the all-time list. She is second in most games played with 624. The libero is also listed six times for season records. She is sixth and seventh for single-season in aces with 85 (2007) and 84 (2009). She is third, fifth and 10th with digs in a season with 806 (2006), 761 (2009) and 672 respectively (2007). Her 5.27 digs per game average in 2006 is third for a single-season.
"I've gained a new perspective," Barmore said of coaching. "I relied on my athletic ability a lot more after playing so long, but now getting back out there and working with the mindset of playing again, I can see I read the game a bit differently. I feel like I'm a better player because I've coached for so long. Now I just need to make sure I shift my mindset from coach to player when I'm back on the court."
Physical fitness has always been important to Barmore. She has been instrumental in designing workouts over the past two seasons for Georgetown. Then she intensified what she does personally as she prepared for the tryouts Feb. 21-23 in Colorado Springs. Since everyone returned to campus, Griffin and all the volleyball players have been helping smooth out the final aspects of Barmore's game.
"Before this challenge was there I was working out to work out," Barmore said. "But once all the players got back we've been doing 6 am workouts and they've been serving to me, while Nick has been hitting to me. It is killing my body, but every day I'm trying to do something and working on getting faster and stronger."
There will be 248 athletes from 106 colleges and universities participating in the three-day tryout for two teams – U.S. Women's National Team and the U.S. Collegiate National Teams program. Live streaming will occur 2 pm MT, 4 pm in Georgetown, Friday. Click here to view. Three-time Olympic gold medalist and U.S. Olympic Hall of Famer Karch Kiraly and the U.S. Women's National Team staff will lead the tryout process.
"It is exciting to see her training like this again," Griffin said. "She's really hard on herself, and she expects me to challenge her as well, so that's what we do every day. I know she will represent very well. We are all very proud of her and this is just another nod to the tradition rich program we have at Georgetown."
This team will be the team training for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games.
"We are supposed to know something in March on whether we made the team, and after that I'm not sure what the commitment will be," Barmore said. "I'm going in there to play libero and after watching the 2012 Olympic Games, I knew I could play with them and bring something to the U.S. team.
"I'm nervous about being ready. It is a lot of work and I'm not shy of work."
Barmore has been playing volleyball since fifth grade. Was a standout athlete at Male High School – playing volleyball and basketball – before choosing to focus on volleyball at Georgetown.