By KATELYN MASSARELLI
Competitors are designed for the sole purpose of competing and putting forth their maximum effort in order to reach their full potential. For senior sports management major Cody Liner, competing does not necessarily mean being an athlete, but instead being the driving force behind what makes a great competitor.
Upon being accepted to UT four years ago, he knew he wanted to be a part of something bigger than himself that would allow him to examine the sports world in all its nature. When Liner learned that the volleyball team was looking to fill the student assistant coaching position, he knew it would be the opportunity he needed to begin his deeper exploration.
“I knew from a young age that I loved sports and I wanted to work in sports,” Liner said. “I come from a sports-oriented family where we were watching sports constantly.”
Volleyball, in particular, has been a part of his life since he was 14 years old. He was a part of his high school and club team before going into coaching alongside his former club coach, after his last high school season. According to Liner, besides wanting to pursue sports management at UT, becoming a student assistant coach played an important role in deciding whether or not he wanted to come to UT, so he could learn about and experience the industry.
“Growing up I always had it in the back of my head that I wanted to be a coach,” Liner said. “I love competing and being a coach I’m still being competitive. No matter what level you’re on you’re still learning, and you get to see people grow. Seeing someone’s growth throughout the years and seeing the life lessons is one major aspect of coaching. You want to be successful but, you want to have an impact.”
Liner takes his position on the team seriously and throughout the years has created a united relationship between him, the players, and the coaching staff. According to volleyball head coach Chris Catanach, he is well respected by the players and has learned a lot about the business.
“Cody has grown into an outstanding assistant,” Catanach said. “He is a self-starter, very organized, always on time and he does very good work. We are going to sorely miss him after this year.”
Outside of the volleyball team, he has coached club volleyball for Tampa Bay One, which recently merged with Rogue Volleyball, and also interns for the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. On top of classes, Liner had to learn to balance his time to be successful in all endeavors.
Being his final season as a student assistant coach, he recalls his experiences with the women and coaching staff as some of his best. One memory he treasures from being a student assistant coach was his sophomore year when the team won the 2014 National Championship. It wasn’t the win that made it special but seeing everything come together after a long season.
According to Liner, he was given the opportunity to see the results of his hard work paying off, and is thankful to be apart of an elite program.
“It’s bittersweet and very emotional [to be in my final season],” Liner said. “I’ve put in a lot of work and seeing it come to an end is very sad, but I’m moving on to the future but not leaving [the experiences] behind because I’m taking it with me.”
Katelyn Massarelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org