Coaching a labor of love: Davis is ready to lead the successful WolfPack program


Andrew Kicmol / Clarion

Ashley Davis is taking the reigns of the Madison College volleyball program after serving as assistant coach for the past five years.

Andrew Kicmol, Staff Writer

Ashley Davis may be new to her head coaching job at Madison College, but coaching volleyball has been a labor of love for her for the past 14 years. Whether it was when she was going to school or working, she’s always had a hand in coaching, and it’s no different now as she takes her new role.

Head-coaching will be only a part time job, so Davis has a full-time job as a program on policy analyst for the state of Wisconsin as well. Davis is used to being busy, but for her, it’s all about the coaching.

“I’ve always had a busy schedule where it feels unusual if I have off time where I’m not coaching,” said Davis.

Davis grew up in Indiana and played basketball. It wasn’t until seventh grade when she tried playing volleyball. She fell in love with the sport and decided from there that she wanted to play volleyball more than basketball.

After being on the volleyball team in seventh grade, Davis didn’t make the team in eighth, but this didn’t deter her passion for the sport. She tried out the following year as a freshman in high school, marking the start of an impressive high school career, and the last time she would be without volleyball.

By the end of her high school career, she won all-conference honorable mention honors, as well as all state academic honorable mention recognition.

Her talent as a volleyball player and her high academics led her to be recruited by Lawrence University in Appleton. Davis earned a degree in mathematics from Lawrence, but it was the love of coaching that Davis would really take to heart.

While still a student at age 19, Davis started coaching with a local club team, the Appleton Excel. She applied to be an assistant coach, but ended up as a head coach instead. She instantly became hooked on coaching. While continually balancing other school or work commitments, Davis always found somewhere to coach.

After moving from Appleton to Madison, she continued to coach at the club level, coaching with the Oregon Acers and the Wisconsin Performance.

In 2012, a new opportunity presented itself when Madison College coach Toby Parker put out a call for assistant coaches. Davis looking for a new challenge that would push her to get better, decided to contact Parker.

“I want to try coaching at the next level, this will be a nice challenge for me,” Davis said she told Parker. After being hired, Davis had the opportunity to learn under the winningest coach in volleyball program history.

Parker gave Davis the flexibility to coach her own way, even allowing her the freedom to come up with her own drills at practice. At Madison College, Davis found what she wanted to do with her coaching career.

“After that first season as an assistant coach at Madison College, I realized that coaching the sport at the college level was what I wanted to do,” Davis said.

Her growth and success under coach Parker gained her recognition from the American Volleyball Coaches Association.

In 2015 Davis would end up winning the organization’s Minority Coaches Award. That award would allow Davis to travel to a Division 1 college volleyball tournament and learn from coaches at the highest level.

All this lead to her being chosen as the next head coach of women’s volleyball at Madison College.

Athletic Director Steve Hauser saw Davis as a good fit for the program, adding that she has been a good representative of the

department and the college. After a conversation with Davis, Hauser offered her the job as head coach.

Replacing coach Parker as the head coach won’t be easy. As head coach, he won back-to-back NJCAA Division 3 titles and posted a 331-81 career record.

“I do not have small shoes to fill,” said Davis. “(There are) a lot of expectations and expectations I expect to uphold,” Davis said.