“It was probably about three games in when I stared to feel comfortable,” Dean said. “During that game, our coach then (Dave Kuykendall) pulled me aside and yelled at me for being too nervous. He told me, ‘You are better than most of the guys on the court. Play like it.’ After that, I started playing the girls’ game that came naturally to me, and it worked.”
He continued to break out as a sophomore, earning All-MVC honors. Again playing libero, he led the Warriors with 281 serves received and was third in digs (163) and aces (27).
But he faced a new challenge heading into last season, as Kuykendall stepped down due to work commitments and football coach E.J. Perry, a former state volleyball champion coach in Salem, took over as head man.
“We really went in not knowing what to expect,” Dean said. “I had talked to my friends from Salem and they said he was very intense. I was nervous. It was almost like going back to my freshman year and trying out again. But it soon became natural with Coach Perry.”
Moving to outside hitter, he averaged 15 kills, six digs and four blocks a match last spring, again earning All-MVC honors. This year he’s playing with his freshman brother Devin.
“It’s a little bit weird having my brother there,” Alec admitted. “I try to push him, but I don’t want to push him too hard just because he’s my brother. He’s exactly like me out there when I was a freshman. He grew up playing with the girls, too, so he is learning the boys’ game. I like having him out there. I know I can trust him.”