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Meet the coach: Mary Tendler

by Conor O'Neill,
  • Photo courtesy of Elon University Media Relations.

Going into her eighth season as the Phoenix head coach, Mary Tendler has had the Phoenix improving every season.

Last season, it improved so much the team recorded the highest win total since moving to Division I.

"I think every year since Coach (Tendler) has been here, we've gotten better, so we're looking to improve our record and get longer winning streaks," junior outside hitter Caroline Lemke said.

To improve in the win column, the Phoenix will need Tendler to keep the team on an even keel, according to Lemke.

"Within our team, it's a great mix of high energy and calm and composed, and coach brings both of those," Lemke said.

One of Tendler's showcases of her high energy came this summer at the program's summer volleyball camp for youth volleyball players.

Tendler created, sang and danced to a rap version of The Lonely Island's "I'm on a Boat."
There was just one catch; instead of being on a boat, the lyrics were tailored around being on a volleyball court.

"She's right on the money" on emulating T-Pain, senior outside hitter Lauren Copenhagen said.

On a more serious note, Lemke said usually it is Tendler's job to make sure the Phoenix stays focused.

"I think she gets a kick out of us more than anything else," Lemke said. "We can be kind of silly and goofy, and she gets entertained by us. Sometimes she can tell us, 'Hey, chill out a little. Come back down and play the game.'"

And when Tendler tells the team to play the game, it listens.

"She knows the game better than anyone I've ever been around," Lemke said. "She understands what's going on and is great at telling you how to fix things."