Coach Profile: Dawnis Guerva3 min read

Stacy Torres & Patricia Nguyen, Staff Writer & Sports Editor

De Anza College women’s volleyball head coach Dawnis Guevara lives and breathes volleyball. Guevara plays about three to four times a week on top of coaching the volleyball team and teaching physical fitness classes.

“It’s the best sport ever because it’s the ultimate team sport and a sport you can play for life,” Guevara said.

When she was in high school, Guevara played volleyball, basketball, softball and ran track and field. Volleyball was the one sport that left a lasting impression.

She received a scholarship from San Jose State University, where she excelled in the sport and received a masters in sociology.

Originally, her plan was a career in helping juveniles. She got an internship at juvenile hall in Santa Clara while maintaining a side job coaching a club team.

Even though her love for volleyball was always there, she didn’t realize she could make a lifelong career out of it until she helped coach the women’s team at San Jose City College.

After that, Guevara knew coaching was the way to go. She went back to school to receive a masters in health and physical education and recreation.

“I love where I’m at. A great school, wonderful career, the people I get to work with and the students here are awesome. Best decision of my life.” Guevara said.

Now Guevara is a successful volleyball coach with seven conference championships under her belt and has been named Coach of the Year for the Coast Conference six times. The next conference game, Wednesday Oct. 23 at 6:30 p.m., will be a breast cancer fundraiser game where all proceeds go towards the Dig Pink!: Side-Out foundation.

What got you into volleyball? Where did it all begin?

Probably my brothers and sisters, so I started really young. We were always a sports oriented family. Going into freshman year [of high school], I was at a team camp at SJSU, where one of the team coaches asked me to play on the club team, which is something you normally have to try out for but they liked how I played.

So volleyball runs in your family?

Yes, even my husband and my children play. We usually pair up with the kids and play a doubles game on the sand.

What accomplishments in coaching are you most proud of ?

The effect I have on student athletes lives more so than just in volleyball, being able to help kids find their way and teach them lifelong skills. Plus all the kids I got to know, a lot of life transformations. Most [of] my assistant coaches have played for me. It’s neat that everything goes back around.

How do you and the team deal with losing a volleyball match?

Not good! (laughs) It depends on how we lose, because we never want to lose. Most of the time we’re learning from it, so if it’s a loss where I don’t feel the kids gave it their all, I’m a lot more frustrated. If they put their best effort and they lose, then hopefully we can learn from that.

What challenges have you faced pursuing your sport?

I think the most challenging has been the psychological component of coaching. Getting to know the personality of players, what makes them tick and how can we motivate them. Freshman year, you’re spending a lot of time learning about the players. I can teach the game but trying to get those kids to be the best that they can be is challenging.