Head Coach of the beach volleyball team, Kris Dorn, and Head Coach of the women’s volleyball team, Jennifer Dorn, are both influential parts of the university’s community because of their involvement in the Athletic and Spiritual Formation Departments.
According to Jennifer Dorn, the culture of her team has begun taking shape with the group of 7 seniors who have taken to heart the goal of their group. After listening to feedback from the team, she decided not to incorporate captains this season.
“We are looking to focus more on healthy conflict instead of hiding behind captains,” Dorn said.
The success of the team became apparent when they reached nationals last season, assisting in their present rank of twenty-one in the country. According to Jennifer Dorn, progress is made on a daily basis by taking care of oneself, training mentally, and preparing for practices.
Dorn makes sure to incorporate faith into her coaching style. “I pour a lot of energy into building a healthy sense of community,” she explained. When no longer in season, they continue fellowship in a team bible study. Additionally, Dorn meets with the girls throughout the semester. Creating a sense of vulnerability and openness within the team builds trust, which is something she values highly.
Kris Dorn has similarly found improvement in his beach volleyball team over time. With the largest roster to date, team members have begun to be more open and comfortable with one another, Dorn explained.
“The biggest change is in the team culture. Although we are only in our third season, the team’s roots are much more grounded now,” Kris Dorn said.
GSAC officially accepted beach volleyball as a conference sport and, because they ranked second place last year, the team will be returning to nationals.
“The theme for this year is to continually improve. It has been a true joy to see the girls grow over the years, and I hope that will continue,” Kris Dorn said.
According to Dorn, each player should give input on how the gospel should be incorporated into the team.
“I want this to be a collaborative experience. At the first team meeting of each season, each player says what she wants to gain from the experience. Whether that be accountability or sisterhood, common themes for the year are presented,” he said.
Kris Dorn is involved with the Spiritual Formation Department (SFD) in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and Beyond Athletics Ministry (BAM). BAM, similar to FCA, is a bi-monthly bible study that helps students grow in their relationship with the Lord.
With a baby on the way, upcoming tournaments, and leading BAM, the Dorns are a busy team; however, they are able to manage their responsibilities with ease, according to the couple.
“It is in our hearts to serve the Lord and be stewards of the way God teaches us,” Jennifer Dorn said.
The Dorns hope to be challenging in a positive way to help prepare their athletes for life after graduation.
“People crave authenticity. One of the greatest things that drove us to Vanguard is the healthy challenge within this environment to be vulnerable. Our purpose is to create communities, and we feel we can really do that here,” Kris Dorn said.