Taylor Mims’ unhindered passion

Coffee and rap music help the student-athlete get pumped before games against opposing teams

JACOB MOORE, Former Evergreen sports editor

Junior outside hitter Taylor Mims began her collegiate experience with the idea of becoming a veterinary technician because she used to own horses and chickens. A lot has changed since her freshman year.

“I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be,” Mims said. “I was like ‘I can’t do all these labs.’ ”

Of course, when you’re a student-athlete like Mims is, becoming a vet­erinary technician can interfere with her sport. Half of her time spent at WSU is geared toward playing vol­leyball, she said.

While a lot has changed, Mims’ passion for volleyball remains.

The defensive standout is now a part of the sport management depart­ment. Mims doesn’t have her future mapped out completely, but the ath­lete hinted at wanting to play profes­sional volleyball.

She is also interested in what Director of Athletics Bill Moos does.

“His job and what he does every day is really cool,” Mims said. “That’s my higher-set goal.”

Growing up participating in vol­leyball, basketball and track, Mims earned 10 combined varsity letters in high school. Her volleyball Head Coach Jeff Carroll, who has since retired, nudged her into competing at the collegiate level.

Mims traveled nearly 600 miles from Billings, Montana, to Pullman with Carroll’s suggestion of taking that next step.

“A lot of people already assume that because I’m from Montana,” she said, “that I’m going to be so country.”

That’s not the case.

Her music playlist consists of the “digital underground” and artists like Future, Lil Uzi Vert and Gucci Mane.

“Our coaches aren’t really fond of our stuff,” Mims said with a laugh.

Junior middle blocker Claire Martin and Mims will usually listen to their choice of music in the locker room to get amped up before a game — but first, they need a Dutch Bros. coffee.

“Before a game, since my fresh­men year, [Martin and I] would speed over to Dutch Bros., get a coffee, come here and play music in the locker room,” Mims said. “That’s our main ritual. Get your Dutch Bros. coffee, get to the gym, get hyped up.”

Currently, WSU volleyball holds an 11-2 record — tied for the second-most wins in the Pac-12 with rival No. 7 University of Washington. The Cougs lost to the Huskies to open Pac- 12 play Wednesday, but there’s still plenty of time to make up ground.

“I know that we’re a defensive team — our block is huge,” Mims said. “To maintain that, we have to have a championship mindset. We have to just go out at it every single game, don’t hold anything back and act like [we] don’t have anything to lose.”

Mims added that acting like there’s nothing to lose in one of the most competitive volleyball conferences is difficult, but it can be done. To avoid getting too comfortable, the Cougs take on every opponent with the same approach, she said.

If there’s one thing the team needs to work on, though, it is bringing all the individuals together, Mims said.

“On the court, we all have different jobs to do, but I think we want to do a better job of coming together and get­ting on the same page,” she said. “We all have a great mindset, I just think we need to do a better job of starting over and resetting after every point.”

As the Cougs continue to fight for the top spot in the Pac-12, Mims continues to fight for her sport, team and coaches.

“[Head Coach Jen Greeny] is some­one I can just go talk to like a par­ent,” Mims said. “Her and Burdette [Greeny] and Shannon [Hunt] are people I can go to anytime and feel comfortable with. Those three have set a big example of what I want to be when I grow up.”

She may have changed locations, majors and career paths, but Mims’ love for volleyball, her “favorite sport,” remains.