Family key selling point for WSU volleyball

Burdette Greeny talks recruiting internationally and transfer athletes



WSU volleyball associate head coach Burdette Greeny celebrates after sweeping Utah, Nov. 18.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Editor-in-chief

WSU volleyball has an aura around them that players and coaches alike attribute to the familial aspect of the team and the school as a whole. 

Someone integral in pitching the idea of family and maintaining it is Burdette Greeny, associate head coach and recruiting coordinator of WSU volleyball. As the recruiting coordinator, his role is to observe and recruit players around the world that would fit the team and then convince them to come to Pullman.

“I need to have my hand on the pulse on what is out there for players, not only in Washington and the west coast but in the U.S. and Internationally. I need to know what our team needs to go out and build a roster,” he said. 

The process of being a recruiter is watching players and identifying who is good, then identifying if they are interested in coming to the states and WSU, he said.

Despite having success during the coaching tenure of Jen and Burdette Greeny, there is a challenge in recruiting in-state. There is more exposure to UW and their profile is higher than WSU’s, Burdette said. 

For that reason, it oftentimes feels easier to recruit internationally than from within the state, he said.

That international recruiting is seen in the current members of the team as Pia Timmer, Magda Jehlarova, Argentina Ung, Weronika Wojdyla and the newest Coug Iman Isanovic are all international players. 

For Burdette, it becomes difficult to recruit internationally as players cannot come and visit the campus. He said it makes it more interesting as he has to bring Pullman to them. 

His pitch surrounds the grand idea that the team and WSU are a family, one that works well with the values shared in Europe, he said. 

“I personally think that the family unit is stronger in Europe than it is in the U.S. and I sell the family aspect of WSU to the players and their families,” Burdette said. 

Pullman is a vital part of the pitch of family. We are unique in the size of our town. If you want to be anonymous, you go to a bigger town, but if you come here, you will be known, he said.  

Current members of the team also play a vital role in selling that idea of family, as they are what makes that family whole with each new addition to the team. 

We encourage our current athletes to reach out and interact with recruits because one of the top things that recruits always say they are looking for is a sense of belonging and knowing the teams’ vibe, Burdette said. 

That pitch of family becomes easy to make with the coaching staff that is currently running things. Burdette, Jen and assistant coach Shannon Hunt each attended WSU in the ’90s and were student-athletes in their own right. 

“A big thing I try to explain to recruits is Jen and the success she had. She chose volleyball and she chose WSU. With her, Shannon and myself, we all chose WSU because it felt like family,” Burdette said. 

Libero Karly Basham and setter Ung are two players that shared the sentiment of the family aspect of the team being like nothing they have ever been a part of before. 

This is by far the closest team I’ve ever been on. Having this team dynamic has set such a good culture and atmosphere for this team,” Basham said.

“It makes me feel a lot less pressure to be perfect, they are my best friends and I know they will be honest with me. When they see that I might get stressed they talk to me and make me feel better,” Ung said.

Even more so, on Thanksgiving 2022, Jen and Burdette hosted the team over for dinner as the players stayed in Pullman over the one-week break for their home matches. 

It is not only international athletes that the pitch of family is vital for, Burdette said.

He described the program as a fresh light that helps transfer athletes fall in love with the game of volleyball again. With recent successes such as Basham, Laura Jansen and Isanovic, that fresh light is in full force.