Throwback Thursday--Molly LaMere
Oct. 14, 2010
Molly LaMere Haggerty (Volleyball, 1998-01)
LaMere Haggerty was a standout setter for the Jayhawk volleyball team. LaMere Haggerty still ranks third on the KU all-time assists chart with 4,108 career assists. She also sits in second place on the single-season assists chart with 1,471 assists during the 1999 season. LaMere Haggerty is currently the head volleyball coach at Blue Valley Northwest High School in Overland Park, Kan. She is married to Ryan Haggerty and the couple are expecting their first child.
It’s been almost 10 years since you last played volleyball for KU. What do you miss most about it?
“I think definitely just being a part of the KU program and having the privilege of saying I was a part of the volleyball team and that I was a Jayhawk. It was such a great experience and it’s not one that everyone has under their belts, so it just kind of gives you a sense of pride that you can take with you for the rest of your life.”
Since leaving the court, you have become a coach at the high school level (Lawrence High & Blue Valley Northwest), what’s the biggest challenge of going from player to coach?
“The biggest challenge is just that they don’t have the same mindset as me. They have different motives for going out for the same sport that you did. A lot of it for them is recreational or just supporting their school. For me it was a working for a scholarship or trying to get better so I could play beyond the high school level. Some of them just enjoy playing the game, which isn’t a bad thing, but they aren’t as competitive I was and aren’t playing for the same reasons. It’s something that I’ve come to understand and just try to accept.”
Have you had any players during that time frame that have reminded you of the way you played the game?
“Absolutely and I wish I could have a whole team full of them because I really relate to them well. Especially the kids that are gung-ho and really practice hard and want their team to get better. The ones that aren’t concerned about wins or losses as much as they are with the whole team getting better are the ones I really enjoy coaching because I relate to them the best.”
Have you been back to Horejsi to watch a match recently?
“This year I haven’t but I have always gone to at least two or three matches by this time. I usually always go to the Jayhawk Tournament and then to see them play Nebraska or Missouri but this year my girls have had matches on those nights. We do try to take our girls at least once a year to watch KU play. This year we’re planning to watch the KU-Texas game (Oct. 20th).”
Your first year at KU was also Coach (Ray) Bechard’s first, how has the program changed since the two of you arrived in Lawrence?
“I had heard a lot of things about the program before I even got there (in 1998), so I had no idea what to except. I came from a high school with a coach who was very demanding and he pushed us. Coach Bechard was the same way, because he was a great technical coach. He made sure we were doing certain things and we were doing them correctly. It was a unique experience both starting our first years at the same time and just to see where they are at now and to see him have so much success with all the changes and steps he’s made, it’s pretty exciting.”
If you had any advice to give to current Jayhawk volleyball players, what would it be?
“I would definitely say to just take advantage of every experience you have to get on the court and get better. It’s important to live in the moment and it’s such a fun thing to look back on and say I played for the Jayhawks in that program. It gives you a sense of pride and when you’re in the moment, you aren’t able to appreciate it but there are just so many wonderful memories to take away from it. It’s such a gift to be out there and you don’t realize it until you are done, so I’d say just enjoy it and take advantage of every opportunity you are given.”
Looking back, what was the highlight of your playing career at KU?
“Easily my senior night (in 2001), beating Texas at home. We hadn’t beaten them home or away during my career. We upset them and it was super exciting because it was such a great team win. It was also awesome because my family was there in the stands.”
You still hold the KU record for assists per game avg. in a season with 12.95 in 2000 and 12.90 in 1999. Are you surprised those records have lasted a decade?
“Absolutely, because there have been so many more setters that have come through the program that have been way more athletic or talented than I was so I am surprised that it’s is still standing. I’m sure though it will get broken soon though and when it does I’ll be happy because it means we (as a program) are getting better.”
You recently got married. How did you meet your husband and will you be starting a family soon?
“Interesting story, but my husband (Ryan Haggerty) and I met though a guy named Trent Jones who was one of the volunteer assistants for KU volleyball and also my roommate at the time. His (Trent’s) fiancée was my best friend and his best man was Ryan, so we met through the whole wedding process. His best man, was Ryan Haggerty. I have to say it’s pretty fun to have that connection with one of my best friends. We met that way when I had finished college and we were married in July of 2009. We’re currently expecting a little baby boy who’s due on January 20th.”
Will you encourage your son to play the game you once did?
“If that’s what he wants to do, then absolutely. Ryan and I have a passion for the sport. He (Ryan) played from fourth grade all throughout college and we even still play together. When he gets old enough to make the choice, whatever he wants to d,o he’ll be able to, but he’ll definitely be pushed in that direction.”
You said you still play with your husband, how often and what level of competition do you compete at?
“I play in several different recreation leagues. I play in an all-women’s recreation league in Shawnee Mission one day a week. I also compete in a co-ed league with Ryan and some of his friends and I even play in a grass volleyball league one night a week. Probably the most competitive league I play in is a women’s club league. We’re pretty serious about it and we’ve even gone to nationals with some former KU and UMKC players on the team. We’re called the ‘KC Third Degree’ but I don’t play on it now, of course, because I’m huge and expecting. That experience has probably been the most fun though, because it’s at such a higher level than the average recreation league.”
Would you like to coach collegiately someday?
“No, I don’t really have any want or need to coach at that level only because I love volleyball and I want the younger group of girls so I can teach them about the game. I also love teaching and it’s my number one thing that I wanted to do ever since I was a little kid so for that to be taken away from me would be very sad. The demands collegiate coaching has on you with all the hours and the traveling isn’t very appealing, plus it doesn’t lend you enough time to spend with your family. Of course I will never say never, but for me to make that jump it would have to be the right situation or the right place, but right now I just really enjoy my job and my coaching responsibilities.”