This past spring, Lasell College senior Tristan Davis extended the Lasers’ lead to 17-10 in the final set over the host Emerson Lions with his 10th kill of the men’s volleyball match.
Two months later, Davis exchanged his blue Lasell jersey for a purple Emerson polo. Fresh out of college, he is the newest addition to head coach Ben Read’s staff for both the men’s and women’s volleyball teams.
“Overall, I felt like he’d be a great fit for us,” Read said. “He has a great volleyball background, his team finished up nationally ranked for most of last year, [and he] has experience in the middle as well as outside hitter, something that could be valuable for our team.”
Originally from Rochester, New York, Davis also coached high school players back home. His experience living near Boston while attending Lasell influenced his decision to join the Lions and begin coaching in New England.
“I love the area of Boston [that] Emerson is in, for starters,” Davis said. “Being right near the Common, the campus is beautiful, and I really like working with the athletes here. They’re all extremely hardworking, really kind kids.”
In his first months with Emerson, Davis has been learning how to speak as a coach to collegiate athletes and relay information that can translate on the court. He credits Read for helping him get acclimated to his position within the program.
“He’s been a really good mentor just because he’s extremely hands-on and incredibly hardworking,” Davis said.
Between the current women’s volleyball season and the upcoming men’s campaign in January, Davis already has his hands full with the new job.
“We’ve got him on the road,” Read said. “He’s been recruiting at boys and girls nationals, emailing, making phone calls, obviously helping every day with practice, working [on] video breakdown. He’s a good set of eyes to have at practice and good voice to go ahead and talk to both the men’s and women’s teams.”
Having played against Davis for the past three years, senior Nick Rusk said he initially felt a bit strange about having a former opponent as Emerson’s new assistant coach. But he said the team quickly welcomed Davis and can sense the impact he will have on the program.
“He’s been giving lots of good insight, he knows the competition well, he knows the game well, he knows the positions well,” Rusk said. “He’s a breath of fresh air.”
Despite being hired only three months ago, Davis has recognized the different ways in which he can contribute to both teams. He brings his noticeable physical attributes to the table, standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 205 lbs, but Davis said he feels his intelligence and countless hours of practice will also help out the Lions.
“I’ve been playing since the seventh grade and I know what it takes to win at the next level,” Davis said. “I think my volleyball IQ and giving them the knowledge I have from the experiences I’ve been through will benefit the teams.”
At Lasell, Davis was part of the 2015 GNAC championship team that qualified for the NCAA tournament. He was the the single-season leader in aces on a team that was nationally ranked in the top 15 for most of the season, and finished 12th in the country last year. Against Emerson, he averaged 9.5 kills and one ace in each match.
As a journalism major, it is Davis’ long term goal to turn writing into a career. Still, Davis said he's content for the time being and that he might want to continue coaching in the future.
“I’ve been looking for other writing jobs, whether it’s just creating web content or doing copywriting, just sort of trying to get my foot in the door,” Davis said. “Just because I want to stay in the area, coaching has really been a great opportunity for me to make a little money, but I’ve found that it’s something I like more and more as I’ve done it.”