Annett Davis, the head coach of both The Master’s University women’s indoor volleyball team and the beach volleyball team, will be inducted into the California Beach Volleyball Association (CBVA) Hall of Fame on Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Hermosa Beach Historical Society in Hermosa Beach, Calif.
Davis and her playing partner, Jenny Johnson Jordan, the first African Americans to make the U.S. Olympic beach volleyball team, finished fifth in beach volleyball at the 2000 Olympics held in Sydney, Australia. Before that she was a two-time All-American indoor player at UCLA and played professionally in Greece.
According to the CBVA.com website, each fall, the Hall of Fame committee solicits nominations from the beach volleyball community for the next class of inductees. The committee considers each nominee’s historical finishes, contributions to the game, and eligibility to create a slate. The slate is voted on by the past Hall of Famers to select their newest class of peers.
The Hall of Fame committee is a Who’s Who of beach volleyball greatness, including Holly McPeak, Sinjin Smith and Randy Stoklos.
“What we did, Jenny and I, shouldn’t have happened,” Davis said. “You don’t go from never playing (beach volleyball) to making it to the Olympics and doing as well as we did. God put us there. We were there for a reason.”
Davis started at UCLA in 1991 and had an immediate impact on the nation’s best team. She was named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year in 1991 when the Bruins won the national championship. In 1994 she was named the conference Player of the Year and collected her second All-American team nod. Yet, despite the popularity of beach volleyball, her toes had yet to touch competitive sand.
“After graduating from UCLA, I spent a year overseas (playing professionally in Greece),” she said. “I came back from that and started training with the US national team, but I didn’t like the feel. So I switched to the beach. There is a lot more freedom (in beach volleyball)… You get to choose your coaches, when you practice, and I got to choose my best friend as a partner.”
Annett and Jenny met as freshmen on the UCLA team and, as Annett puts it, “… immediately became best friends.” Both were outside hitters; both played in three NCAA championship matches; both were gifted athletically, could jump really well and were fast. Transitioning from a team of six on the court to just two, let alone with an unstable floor beneath you, was a challenge. For two attackers, setting and defending was the toughest transition, especially because, as Annett put it, “You have to defend the whole court.”
Initially they trained with some of the best in the US. But as Annett and Jenny got better, they began to beat those better teams, and soon those “better teams” didn’t want to train with them anymore.
Ultimately, they spent 13 years together as a team, traveling the world as part of the FIVB Tour, not to mention the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Despite the demanding schedule and so much time on the road, the priorities were quite clear for the two best friends.
“God was first, our family second, and volleyball was a distant third,” Davis said as she reflected on her tour years. “And through the years of traveling the world, we would have Bible studies and invite whoever. There were players from countries that didn’t know the Lord. Many times, it was the first time someone had ever heard the gospel or seen a Bible. So we were in a place where, if we were going to be successful, we were going to talk about God. For me, that’s what glorified Him. For us, that was our whole thing.”
She is reminded of when a world-famous athlete told her how she could have won gold if only she would have made volleyball her priority. But for Annett Davis, there are no regrets, for she has been and continues to be true to her calling.
“I’m very happy with how it turned out and wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said. “I’m not going to sacrifice my beliefs for my sport. Obviously, you don’t see all the fruit, but you do hear about some who were led to Christ. So for me that is the best thing. And to be able to do it with my best friend is a memory that will last a lifetime.”
To learn more about TMU Athletics, visit gomustangs.com.
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