Former Coyote earns awards at Fairmont
For The Madera Tribune
Former Madera Coyote volleyball standout Courtney (Taubert) Materazzi, left, celebrates with her Fairmont State University women’s volleyball team. She has helped lead her team to a number of awards during her seven-year reign as the head coach.
Since becoming the head women’s volleyball coach at Fairmont State University in West Virginia Courtney (Taubert) Materazzi has been able to pay homage to both of her parents.
For four straight seasons, the FSU women’s Volleyball team have earned American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Awards, sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps after obtaining a 3.68 team grade point average with 12 students recording a 4.0 last season. This achievement pays homage to Materazzi’s mother, Mardi, a longtime school teacher in Madera.
“It’s something that has sort of gained importance to our program as each year has passed,” Materazzi said. “It has becomes that expectation element rather than a wouldn’t it be nice sort of thing. We were missing the mark the previous two years. Our study hall benchmark was 3.0 in order to get out of study hall. The captains at the time, 2015, said to up our study hall requirement to guarantee to get this award. I told them I was good with a 3.0, but if you wanted to do this to get this award, I think it’s awesome. We upped that base GPA and it has had some high impact and great results. They worked really hard and are so proud every time they have earned it.”
Most recently, the FSU women’s volleyball team earned the AVCA Voting Community Award as one of 19 Div. II teams to have every athlete and staff member register and vote in the 2020 election. This pays homage to Materazzi’s father, Jim, who was a longtime city department head.
“The voting thing was a cool initiative the AVCA wanted to make to all of the athletes,” Materazzi said. “The NCAA put together a really great website that took everyone that logged on through the registration process. It was not very time consuming. It was not about party affiliation. It was about educating yourself on how impactful it can be to use your voice. The AVCA wanted to take it a step further and do this award to hold coaches, teams and departments accountable that this is something that we celebrate and promote. It should be something that we’re about at the college level. Let’s remind them of that.”
Materazzi thought that the 2020 election was one that her players could get involved with and through the process found out a lot of them were already going through the steps to get registered.
“I sent out that information,” she said. “We are from a lot of contiguous states in West Virginia. We made sure the registration was done and what the absentee ballot looked like or if they were going to go home and vote. We got them thinking about it. The players embraced it. When we brought up the idea, a lot of them were already registered.”
During one of the Zoom meetings with her players, she left some time to let the players have a discussion about the election and it turned into a 30 minute session.
“It was after the first debate,” she said. “We told them it was on the news and took some time to ask if anyone wanted to talk about it. The team just ran with it. They talked about different sites they followed. They took this couple of minutes planned and took about 30 minutes sharing resources they came across. It was an unintended self-educational session specifically for this demographic. It was just awesome.”
Materazzi was content to sit back and watch her players have an educated discussion about the upcoming elections.
“It was awesome to watch,” she said. “It was so cool to be reminded to think about these subjects you don’t talk about. To just to be so simple to talk about it and watch them run with it, it showed how much it was needed and sometimes we overanalyze things and let them be to take care of themselves.”
She said she was pretty sure she was going to get a good turnout from her players voting, but wasn’t sure about getting all of them to vote.
“I could kind of see because of side conversations we had we had interest, involvement and awareness,” Materazzi said. “When the AVCA put out this option to earn this award, I put this in our group chat that we could be about. If there’s any reservations, I understand, I told them it’s not about political affiliation, but it’s the awareness of how to use our voice. I was surprised that everyone voted, but not really because this generation is very in tuned with what is going on around them.”
Another award that Materazzi is proud of is receiving the AVCA Academic Award for the fourth year in a row after achieving a GPA of over 3.0.
“This last spring, we had eight 4.0’s,” she sadi. “With everything that happened by going online and trying to navigate that, I was so impressed with how well everyone did when that structure went out the window.”
Because of the accomplishments of the past teams, its is only natural for the next team to not only receive the award, but to improve on the team GPA.
“There’s definitely a competitive element to it,” she said. “The team gets excited to get the award. They want the reputation and the hallmark and that academic stigma to be about them. I love it. I think it sets them up for so many elements of their life aver volleyball ends. I love that it continues a tradition and alliance of players they haven’t even played with. They have all heard the story of the team members who wanted to put that baseline for study hall. They didn’t play with those individuals, but they know that is where it started. It’s cool to see these elements that connect the teams. It’s something that strings us together.”
Like many other colleges throughout the nation, Materazzi is at a standstill when it comes to her volleyball season. Normally, she would be gearing up for the postseason, but now, her season will start in the spring semester.
“There’s anticipation and appreciation for the season,” she said. “ It’s something we didn’t get to do that was normalized. We play volleyball in the fall, that’s what we do. To not have that be there really changed our mindsets and tested our adaptability. It’s definitely different, but the first minute we stepped on the court, the first minute we got back together as a team, that moment felt so special because there was an appreciation we got that moment.”
However, like many other colleges, Fairmont State will be starting finals and giving students the rest of the semester off until he spring semester starts in January.
“We did practices during the semester with modifications,” she said. “We mixed in volleyball, conditioning, pool workouts and sports psych session. We did our workouts outside because it was a healthier way to go with COVID. It was different for us because we’re not used to conditioning in the fall. It was a beautiful fall and we lucked out.”
Materazzi was an All-League player for the Coyotes before she graduated in 2004. She played volleyball for Cal State Monterey Bay before heading out to West Virginia. She was one of first of the recent generation of Madera Coyote volleyball players signing to college with the most recent signing of Isabella Saucedo with Southern Utah University.
“I think it’s so cool,” she said. “You look at signing days and we didn’t have that when I was in high school. It’s cool to feel like a door handle that was found for us. It really speaks to the opportunity the athletes are taking and the work the high school coaches are doing to just create those moments if they are putting the work for it.”
She has been the head coach for the past six years and has a 120-72 coaching record at Fairmont State. Her husband, Cristian, is the assistant women’s soccer coach at Fairmont State.