College of Coastal Georgia News
By Colleen O'Connell
Kyra White initially didn't want to attend a college that was more than three hours away from her home on the southwest side of Chicago. She was close to her family and wanted to have the chance to easily get home when she wanted.
Then she saw a notification on her recruiting page. Someone from the College of Coastal Georgia had looked at her playing film.
"I thought I would never go here because I originally wanted to a max of three hours from home. But something about Coastal made me think it would be so much fun to be in a vacation spot for school," recalled White.
White and her family made the trip to Brunswick two weeks after that first contact. Much to White's surprise, she loved the campus and the area and decided to commit to the college that was many hours and a time zone away from home.
"It was huge for me. The other schools I was looking at did not grab my attention the way Coastal did," said White. "It was automatic. I knew I wanted to come here, which is crazy because it's 16 hours away from home and that was something I did not want to do. But I love it here, so it was worth it.
"Everyone on the team was so inviting to me and it made me truly feel like I was at home," added White.
In her first three years as a Mariner, White has been instrumental in helping to elevate the young program to new heights both on and off the court.
Statistically, she's already reached the 1000-kill plateau. White will enter her senior season with 1,002 kills – just 238 fewer from program record holder Allie Shannon, who is also one of White's role models (the other is standout Cayley Meiners).
Academically, White takes her studies seriously. As a result, she, along with teammate Alexis Downey, was named a 2017 Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete in December.
As one of the team's captains, she's been trusted to carry on the family-like legacy that Coastal Georgia volleyball embraces.
"We would do anything for each other," said White. "We are there to support each other when times are hard. That's definitely the program I came into and that what we've always wanted it to be. We want this to be a family."
Her hard work and leadership throughout the entire 2017-18 school year was recently recognized by the Coastal Georgia Athletic Department. White was named the 2018 Female Student-Athlete of the Year as voted on by the department's head coaches and administrative staff.
"I'm not someone who focuses on awards," said White. "This meant so much to me that others not only recognized my accomplishments, but how I am as a person. I'm so honored that I was selected. It's was so shocking. It was awesome to be nominated, but then surprising to actually win. I did not expect it at all."
"Kyra's iact on the court has always been her consistency, determination to win and her ability to stay focused and calm during the highs and lows of a match," explained second-year head coach Leah Mihm. "Off the court, Kyra is an exemplary student, works two jobs, interns on Sea Island and is always available when I or a teammate needs her. She works hard in the classroom and weight room and has set a high bar for her team. I truly value her as an athlete, captain and person."
White still has one more year left at Coastal Georgia. Although the 2017 season did not necessary end how she and her teammates wanted, they are focused on the upcoming season that begins in August. And they already have a goal in mind.
"We want to be the conference champions for sure," White stated matter-of-factly. "We are a little disappointed we didn't get a chance to win it this past season, but last year was more of a growing season. We had two starting freshman as a freshman and libero, which are key spots on the floor. This year we're going to come out strong. Since we didn't graduate anyone, we'll have that advantage. With our new freshmen, we are going to have a huge team, which gives us depth and the opportunity to grow."
While that is the near-future focus, White has started to think about what comes after she graduates from Coastal Georgia. She's majoring in business with a marketing concentration, and loves her internship in event planning on Sea Island. Although she's keeping her career options open, White is really hoping to stick with event planning. However, one thing is for certain – location.
"I want to stay in the South; I don't want to go back to the cold weather. I love it down here," said the native-Midwesterner White with a smile and a laugh. "Everyone is so friendly down here in the South. Everyone says hello when you walk by."
Originally published on CoastalGeorgiaSports.com.