CW / Hannah Saad
For most, working for your mother is completely out of the question, but for UA women’s volleyball assistant coach Megan Ailshie, it’s a dream come true.
In 2011, Ailshie started her collegiate volleyball career as an outside hitter at East Tennessee State University (ETSU) under Lindsey Devine, Alshie’s mother, who had been named the head coach in 2003.
The decision to play under her mother was easy for Ailshie.
“Family is a huge and important part of my life, so when I was deciding on schools I wanted to go somewhere that my mom and dad would get to see me play,” Ailshie said.
While at ETSU Ailshie set and shattered many records in their volleyball program and in the Atlantic Sun division including 5,650 career attack attempts, 1,940 career kills, the most double-doubles in a season (25) and in the conference (15) and the most attack attempts in a season (1,586). Ailshie credited her success to her mother.
“She was extremely hard on me because she held me at a high standard,” Ailshie said.
Not only is Ailshie a record holder, but she is also highly decorated as a three-time First Team All-Atlantic Sun honoree, two-time conference player of the year, AVCA All-Region (2012 and 2013), AVCA Division-1 All-American (2012) and led her team to its first NCAA Tournament appearance and conference championship (2013) twice.
“It was definitely a special couple years of my life that I will always remember,” Ailshie said.
Ailshie graduated from ETSU with her bachelor’s degree in physical education in 2014 and the opportunity to play professional volleyball overseas.
“The coaching style was a little bit different than the international game,” Ailshie said about adapting to playing for someone aside from her mom. “Having someone to teach me new things was a huge plus that helped me grow as a person.”
Ailshie played with Hylte VBK in Sweden for a year where her team was second in the Swedish Volleyball League. After playing professionally Ailshie decided that it was her turn to follow in her mother’s footsteps.
“I wanted to get my foot in the door with coaching,” Ailshie said.
In 2015, Ailshie became a volunteer assistant coach under her mom at ETSU and then became the girls’ head volleyball coach at her alma mater, Dobyns-Bennet High School in Kingsport, Tennessee, in 2016.
“I get to pass on information and knowledge to future players and players we have in our program,” Ailshie said.
In 2018, Coach Devine was hired as the head volleyball coach at the University, ending her 16-year coaching career at ETSU. In 2019, Ailshie joined her mom as an assistant coach at the Capstone.
“We show our relationship with the girls, so they understand how a mother-daughter relationship can be and how well we do work together,” Ailshie said. “Especially with the other members of our staff, we’re a big family.”
The Devine duo has been inseparable in the volleyball world since Ailshie was young and there’s no sign of them stopping.
“[Our relationship is] something special, and to be able to share those memories and experiences on the court and in the professional world with someone that you are close to is amazing,” Ailshie said.