From Athlete to Coach, Cayte Brown talks the best of both worlds

Coach Cayte Brown ’08 is one of Collegiate’s most active coaches. She is known to our community as an alumni, coach and employee. Coach Cayte is more than our school’s alumni relations coordinator; she is a true team player. She sat down with the Oak Connection to talk about her experience as a dual-season coach and former student-athlete.

Tell us a little about yourself?

As a long time member of the Collegiate family, I played soccer, volleyball and was a member of the cheerleading team.  After graduating in 2008, I attended James Madison University, where I received a degree in Business Marketing.  I currently work as the alumni relations coordinator in the development office at our school.  I have been married to my husband, D.J., for a little over two years, and we are expecting our first baby in March 2016.

What was your reaction when you were told you were the Coach of the Month for November?

I am very honored to be the Coach of the Month for November. Over the last few years at Collegiate, I have dedicated my time to improving the volleyball and cheerleading programs and have seen great growth in both sports. 

How did you come to coach volleyball and cheerleading at Collegiate?

When I started working at the school, I knew I wanted to get involved with coaching if my work schedule allowed. I love being able to meet the Middle School girls and their families, especially if they are new to the school. Over the past three seasons, I have witnessed our athletes grow into amazing young women and continue their volleyball interests onto the next level.

This will be my second season with the varsity cheerleading team.  During my time as a student at Collegiate, cheerleading was a very competitive team to be on.  Upon my return, I saw the level the team was performing at, and I knew I had to do something about it and turn the program around.

How has your playing experience prepared you for coaching?

Playing volleyball and cheerleading has prepared me extremely well to be a coach.  So much of what I teach to the athletes are lessons and drills I learned as a player.  Coaching a sport is not all about giving skills on how to be good at the sport you are playing; it’s also about teaching life lessons. I find that component to be important, especially at the middle school level.  Things like responsibility, communication, teamwork and overall attitude are things we touch a lot of in volleyball and cheerleading.

What are/were some of your goals for the team this year? Did they achieve them?

With volleyball, I had specific goals for the teams, but when I saw the number of girls that came out for the season, we had to readjust our strategy.  A team of nine or 10 is much different than 15 or 16; there were a total of 31 girls that played volleyball this season and with that number, my goal was to engage everyone and make them love the sport.  They came to practice and games with a big smile on their face, positive attitudes and willingness to learn.  Overall, it was a great season, and we accomplished a lot in a short amount of time.

My goals for the cheering team are very different. With expectations set high for the cheering team, I am looking forward to improving the skills of the cheerleaders and to compete in at least one competition this season.

What is it like to coach multiple sports in different seasons at Collegiate?

Other than being time consuming, coaching two sports at Collegiate is very rewarding. To be able to see the student athletes improve over the course of a season and being a mentor to these young people makes me feel great. I love being able to help navigate the both the young men and women on their high school course and make the best experience possible for them at Collegiate.

Is there one piece of advice that was given to you that you hope to pass along to your student-athletes? If so, what is it and why is it important to pass along?

If I could pass along one piece of advice to all my student-athletes, it would be to never give up and have the confidence in yourself to get out there and try.  In life, you never know if you can do something until you try!

When you’re not coaching, what do you do?

When I’m not coaching during the spring season, I usually end up watching a lot of baseball games.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to? Why?

I have had many great coaches throughout my life.  Some of the best life lessons and memories I have throughout my time as an athlete were from Mrs. Anne Curtis.  Her joy for the sport and her enthusiastic attitude is contagious and something I have remembered over the years.  I try to embrace her and think “what would Mrs. Curtis do?” whenever I’m weighing my options on what to do!

 

Nov. 20, 2015