Volleyball coach teaches more than just the game
ON STANDS NOW: For his players, AU volleyball coach Barry Goldberg teaches more than the game.
AU’s head volleyball coach Barry Goldberg has accrued more than 600 career wins, 13 conference championships and 12 NCAA tournament appearances in the last 16 years.
However, what is not listed in the records or painted on posters is Goldberg’s impact on players during his 25-year career at AU.
“Coach is similar to a father figure,” senior outside hitter Julie Crum said. “He’s not just concerned with making us better volleyball players, but he wants us to be better people too.”
Goldberg is never short of wisdom for his volleyball players both on and off the court.
“Coach has taught me so many lessons, but the most important one he has taught me is when to let go, when to stop worrying and just let God take care of the rest,” senior middle blocker Morgan Hendrix said.
Goldberg’s wisdom comes from a long history of playing and coaching volleyball. He played volleyball at the University of Pittsburgh, making the team his freshman year after initially being cut during tryouts. He eventually became captain of the nationally ranked team his junior year.
“Playing on a higher-level collegiate team has helped me to identify what needs to go on for these players to be successful, both on and off the court,” Goldberg said.
Goldberg graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in communication and rhetoric in 1984. After college, he played competitive beach volleyball in southern California for two years, hoping to make it a professional career. However, he decided to return to his alma mater in 1986 to both serve as an assistant women’s volleyball coach and pursue a master’s in counseling education.
He later went on to lead a successful D.C. under-18 club volleyball team to a top 20 finish in the nation. Georgetown University took note and brought him on as an assistant coach in 1988.
A year later, Goldberg became the head volleyball coach at AU and has since created a program that fosters hardworking, dedicated athletes.
“I’m happy he’s stayed here all this time, he’s certainly had opportunities to go to bigger programs with the success he’s had,” Director of Athletics and Recreation Billy Walker said. “We’ve been very fortunate that he has stayed at American and has been a hallmark of our sports program here.”
Goldberg said he has enjoyed his time at the University, remarking that AU’s athletic program is unique.
“This university funds sports for the education of it, much more so than the business of it,” he said. “And that’s why it’s different compared to some of the bigger schools.”
Despite Goldberg’s many commitments, he still finds time to keep in touch with and lend a hand to former players.
“He helped me out with my job search,” alumna Rebecca Heath, a former volleyball player, said. “He’s kinda like my geeky dad.”
While Goldberg anticipated his 600th win against Fresno State on Sept. 20, he was more interested in what lay ahead.
“Everyone came up to me after the game congratulating me on my 600th win, but all I could really think of is that we had Xavier the very next day,” he said.
Goldberg listed the 2005 Patriot League Championship against the U.S. Military Academy as his most memorable moment at AU. The Eagles were down two sets to one and losing 22-10 in the fourth game, but managed to win the match 30-28, finishing the game with a dominant fifth match.
“I remember when I left that game I felt like I was driving back from the scene of a crime,” he said. “Because we stole it from them.”
Despite his career success, Goldberg will be remembered his commitment to helping volleyball players grow.
“I just love having that caring person when I’m away from home and at school that can support me in everything that I do,” Hendrix said.