Viterbo, Thompson make perfect match with inception of men’s volleyball program
LA CROSSE, Wis. — Brett Thompson during his time at West Salem High School was a three-year starter on the varsity basketball team. He was also a four-year letter winner in track and field that included winning the 2015 WIAA Division 2 state championship in the high jump.
But Thompson had a passion for another sport. An affection so strong that he joined a club team on the other side of the state during basketball season in order to compete.
“Our practices were Sunday night 7-9 p.m. So I’d leave around 2:30 Sundays, drive all the way up to Appleton, practice for two hours, drive all the way back and get home around midnight or 1:00 a.m. depending on how the roads were and then go to school Monday morning.”
That passion was to play volleyball.
“I mean volleyball is the center of my life, it has been for a very long time.”
The top challenge for Dave Simon after being named the first head coach for Viterbo’s men’s volleyball team was to fill a roster. He quickly targeted Thompson.
“Brett was a unique kind of guy. He was one of the few guys from this area that has a lot of volleyball experience as a high schooler. We just talked to him and said, ‘Hey do you want to come pioneer men’s volleyball here as a varsity sport. We could really use somebody like you with your experience and with your leadership.”
“This is just kind of a way to get it kick-started for this side of the state so I hope it keeps developing and moving down this way so eventually we will have high school teams in this area,” said Thompson.
This first-year program knows it will experience many baby steps while in it’s infancy.
“Start building a culture here, start building an awareness of men’s volleyball in the area and in the state,” according to Simon.
“We’re going to take lumps,” admits Thompson. “But ultimately it’s going to lead us to being a nationally ranked program at some point in the near future whether that’ll be with some of us or without we’re starting the foundation for it now.”
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