Graduating from Greenville College in 2012 and moving across the country for graduate school, Janell Schulz (nee Crow) received her Ph.D. from the California School of Professional Psychology in San Diego. She obtained her Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is now working for an outpatient private clinical practice in Oklahoma, which is where she lives with her husband.
While working towards the life she has now, Schulz was a psychology major and a setter for the Greenville College Women’s Volleyball Team. Entering the program as a freshman in 2008, Schulz was coached by Tom Ackerman. The team had small numbers and no junior varsity squad. In 2009, Ackerman heavily recruited strong players to benefit the program, so there were enough athletes to finally be able to create a junior varsity team. Schulz was able to play on the new junior varsity team for her sophomore season. Ackerman continued to recruit many talented players and build the GC Volleyball program, so Schulz’s junior year was full of success. In Schulz’s junior year, the team won the conference tournament and went to nationals for the first time in Greenville history. The team broke several records that year and had women receive the Player of the Year and Newcomer of the Year awards. Schulz was the first setter to take a team to the NCAA tournament. She and her team were also successful during Schulz’s senior year even though they had lost many starters from the previous year.
“She just wanted to learn, wanted to improve, and wanted to get better… She was one of my favorite kids to coach ever. We had a really good relationship, so we communicated the most during matches… the team loved her. She was a very humble human. She was very inclusive, and I miss having her on the team.”-Coach Tom Ackerman
When Schulz was a part of the GC Volleyball Program, the team focused on friendly competition. At practices, the women would compete for their positions while motivating each other to get better. The team emphasized self-improvement. Although the athletes were competing against one another, they still became a family that had cohesion and trust among them. The women challenged one another to be better.
Through her four years of being a Lady Panther and playing under Ackerman, Schulz was prepared for her future and gained valuable knowledge. From Ackerman, Schulz learned the importance of communication. She was taught the value of being open, honest, and upfront with people. She uses these philosophies when coaching her own teams. Schulz has successfully coached for Gravity Volleyball Club, Club Escondido, and Epic Volleyball Club. The GC Volleyball Program also taught Schulz the value of friendship. The program exemplified what true friendship should look like and set up expectations for Schulz’s future friendships.
Reflecting on her experience in the program, Schulz explained, “I took a lot from the way Coach and Jill taught. They didn’t yell, they didn’t talk down to you, and they didn’t just constantly criticize you. They knew what your potential was and were really good about communicating that — like communicating ‘I’m going to be hard on you, but it’s because I see this in you.’ So I kind of carried that over when I started coaching my players. Just being in constant communication with them, explaining why I wanted them to do certain things and making sure they understood. I think that helps in life in general — that communication style — just being very open, honest, and upfront with people.”
The Greenville Women’s Volleyball Program and its family-like atmosphere and open-style of communication led Janell Schulz to great things. Schulz’s four years in the program were very successful and preparatory for her future in psychology. The GC Volleyball Program shaped Schulz into the psychologist and coach that she is today.