VB | Bible To Be Inducted Into SMC Hall Of Fame
Saint Mary's women's volleyball great Mandy Bible will be inducted into the Saint Mary's Hall of Fame on Saturday
MORAGA, Calif. - It's a journey not yet completed, but Mandy Bible has finally found a place where she truly belongs.
From Santa Barbara to Moraga to Slovenia and back, volleyball has taken Bible around the world. On Saturday, the sport that brought her to Saint Mary's will etch her name into Gaels history, as the former student-athlete turned SMC assistant coach will be inducted into the Saint Mary's Athletics Hall of Fame.
The 2018 Saint Mary's College Alumni Association will host its annual Alumni Awards on Saturday evening, with a live stream of the proceedings starting at 6:30 p.m. The awards show will be streamed live on Facebook, viewable by clicking here. The awards ceremony precedes Saturday night's SMC men's basketball game versus Portland tipping off at 8 p.m.
On top of her Saint Mary's Athletics Hall of Fame recognition, Bible will also be inducted into the West Coast Conference Hall of Honor during this season's WCC Basketball Championship Tournament in Las Vegas in March.
Bible will be just the third women's volleyball player inducted into the Saint Mary's Hall of Fame and first in more than a decade, following Yvonne Millette (Class of 1984) inducted in 1997 and Ana Robles ('85) inducted in 2005. The 1985 NAIA national champion Saint Mary's women's volleyball team was inducted in 2007.
"It's really cool," said Bible about the honor. "Kind of crazy, but also really happy and honored that they're putting a volleyball player in.
"Of course, I'm going to say thank you, but the honor really, truly in my heart goes to everyone who helped me get there, and the team, because (in) volleyball, I literally cannot just score the ball. I have to pass it or I have to get someone to pass it to me. So it means a ton and I hope that all my ex-teammates and coaches and everyone knows that it's for everybody. I'm just a name."
Bible's name appears in the Saint Mary's record book 32 different times, across single match, single season and career records, mostly in the areas of assists and service aces, but you'll also find her name pop up a couple of times in blocking and attacks.
Bible is undoubtedly the greatest setter Saint Mary's has ever seen, and one of the best players in Gaels history period. She owns three of the top-four SMC single season records for assists, including the top-two. Her career record of 5,362 assists is over 1,000 more than the next best. And her career assists per set average of 12.47 is over two assists more than the No. 2 spot. She's also No. 3 in career block assists (400), fourth in total career blocks (425), and her career attack percentage of .288 is seventh all-time.
Bible was part of three consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament for the Gaels from 2003-05. The 2004 team went 25-4 and made an appearance in the Sweet 16 - cementing it as one of the best SMC volleyball teams of all time.
"I think it's cool," said Saint Mary's head coach Rob Browning, Bible's former coach and current boss and mentor. "There's no question: She's the No. 1 person to go in. She is absolutely the No. 1 person that should go in there. For all the right reasons. Because of her academic and athletic success, because of what she means to her teammates and her current team, because of everything she's done in Saint Mary's in all the different areas where she's been involved, and her post-Saint Mary's career also. It means a lot because there have been a lot of really good players who have come here, and she was on one of the most successful teams (2004).
COMING TO MORAGA
"The funny thing is, being from Southern California, I had no idea where Saint Mary's was until I got recruited here," said Bible about her decision to come to Saint Mary's. "I was on a recruiting trip to Cal, and the coach here said, 'Come check out Saint Mary's while you're here, it's really close.'
"Pull onto campus and I was like, 'Wow. I love it.' Just that moment like you found something. You found a treasure in the middle of nowhere. I wanted to stay in California, I wanted a small school with classrooms that I could get to know my professor, and that made my choice."
It's fair to say Bible made the right choice, as not only would she rewrite the SMC record books while making three trips to the NCAA Tournament during her career, but she would also become a three-time all-West Coast Conference First Team member and a WCC All-Academic Team honoree.
"The story of those years in general was there was no big stud, no Gatorade Player of the Year, there wasn't anyone who was being highly recruited anywhere else," said Bible. "There was just a bunch of players who wanted to prove something. We put that together in the gym with our work ethic and suffering together, pushing through, and it paid off."
BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
Bible faced a head coaching change midway through her career. Something as drastic as that could derail a student-athlete's career, messing with comfort and familiarity. But when Browning was hired as the Gaels' new head coach in 2005, replacing Jon Stevenson, Bible and Browning didn't miss a beat.
"I had the best of both worlds because Jon was my coach coming in for two years," said Bible. "He was an amazing coach, and he kind of took the clay and molded it, worked me through all those drills and got me to where I needed to be to compete in Division I and the West Coast Conference. And then Rob comes in, and he continues that, but also helped us as a team and as people. Still today, he's one of my biggest mentors. I learn things from him daily, hourly."
"Extremely fortunate for me (to have Mandy for two years)," said Browning. "She was the catalyst in the team. Even as a sophomore, she was the catalyst on the team. She just has the personality, the leadership qualities. And the thing that's so impressive about her leadership is that she's able to do it within the team. She's a blue-collar member of the team and a leader of the team."
RETURNING TO HER ROOTS
A decade after Browning had arrived on campus to begin his tenure at Saint Mary's, Bible also made a return. Bible spent several years playing professional volleyball in Europe, but in the early 2010s she was pondering a return to the Bay Area. So in 2015, Bible was hired as Browning's assistant coach. She has since helped raise the profile of both the indoor and beach volleyball programs in just her first three years.
"Rob called me and said I have an assistant coach position opening up," said Bible about the opportunity to return to SMC presenting itself. "I was tentative for sure because I had never considered coaching as a career long-term. Mostly because I was worried about the control issue. I had been a setter for so long, a player for so long. (If) you want something to change you can change it, or you can try. And I couldn't really see myself on the sidelines in that role.
"But he said to think about it, and the more I thought about it, coming home back to Saint Mary's, living in The Bay, being a part of it all again, it was too much not to at least try it. And of course... he was right. I tried it, and honestly, I love my job so much. I can't imagine what I would be doing if I wasn't coaching."
"When a position opened up here and I knew she was thinking about coming back to the Bay Area, I called her 10 seconds later," said Browning. "I was like, 'I know who I'm calling, I don't need to interview her or anything, I just need to talk her into it. Can you please come do this with us, you'll be great.' I'm so glad that opportunity came up and she was available."
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