This archived article was written by: Alex Morell
McKenzie Paige Mott was born in Tucson, Ariz. and is a setter on this year’s USU Eastern’s women’s volleyball team. Who like so many of our student athletes has an interesting journey to Eastern, and ultimately almost didn’t come to USU Eastern. If it wasn’t for one coaching change Mott would have never known about the small town of Price.
Mott has always been around the game of volleyball from a young age. Growing up, her mom was a high school volleyball coach for both boys and girls, as well as a girls basketball coach. She’s never known anything different then constantly being in the gym for the sport that both she and her mom love so much.
“I have been around volleyball for as long as I can remember. My mom has coached high school volleyball and basketball ever since I was born. I was basically raised by teenage girls that my mom coached and that of course motivated me to continue in their footsteps of playing volleyball. So I have always been around the sport [volleyball] but I didn’t play competitively until about the sixth grade,” she said.
For Mott volleyball has meant more to her family than just a sport. It has been a sport which helped the family find a common ground and build stronger relationships within the family.
“Volleyball is such a huge part of my family. My mom has coached, I play college , and now both my younger brothers play as well. It has been something that really has brought our family closer together. It’s more than just a sport. Looking back on having my mom as my coach throughout high school, I realize that it has brought us closer together,” she said.
It is evident the love that Mott and her family have for the game of volleyball. Having a mom as a coach is never easy and comes with a lot of pressure and often extra criticism. Although with all these added pressure, Mott will be the first to say that she would have it no other way and loved having her mom as her coach.
“She’s always been there to motivate me, causing me to work harder than anyone else. I give her a lot of credit for the work ethic I’ve gained, and the level of volleyball I am at now. To this day, we still talk on the phone for hours on end strategizing about volleyball ideas about either my team or her team.”
Mott’s devotion to the game of volleyball has essentially made playing collegiate volleyball a reality. After completing a great high school career at Cienega High School in Tucson, Mott started talking to Coach Brittany Lee who was the Coach at Southern Virginia University . After building a great relationship with Coach Lee, Mott got a call from her that would change everything.
Mott received a call from Coach Lee informing her that she had just taken the head coaching job at USU Eastern and that he had a spot for her on the team if she wanted it. Mott quickly committed to come play volleyball in Price, a place she had never before heard of.
“I originally had no idea Price Utah existed, but I am beyond grateful for the opportunities that I have been given here, on and off the Volleyball court,” she said.
It is evident that Mott has always had a love for the game of volleyball and that it runs deep in her family roots.
The team’s goal, “Has been to play with everything we have, every game. Win or lose, we want to be able to say that we played our best. There have been games where we have lost, but left everything out on the court. There have also been times where we have won, where we walked away knowing we could have done better.”
The lady Eagles compete this weekend in its conference tournament on Nov. 3-5 at the College of Southern Idaho. They are confident and ready for the challenge, she said.