For some GPS alumnae, working at one’s alma mater feels a lot like an act of service. For Jasmine Brown ’09, who became the Head Varsity Volleyball Coach this year, the opportunity to return to the school that played such an important role in her life provided the perfect opportunity to give back.
“GPS prepared me for college academically, and the GPS community supported me every step of the way,” she says. “My peers, teachers, and coaches all helped me while I was there. It’s nice to be back on campus and be able to serve as a support for girls at GPS today.”
At GPS, Brown was part of TSSAA State Championship volleyball teams in 2007 and 2008, earning All-Tournament Team honors in 2007 and MVP recognition in 2008. In her senior year, she received highest honorable mention commendation on the PrepVolleyball.com High School All-American Team. A strong advocate for multi-sport participation, Brown was a three-sport star at GPS, lettering all four years in volleyball, basketball, and track. She was the captain of her volleyball and basketball teams during her senior year.
Brown recognizes that girls today are faced with challenges she didn’t contend with as a student, particularly in terms of digital citizenship. “The ages of 14 to 18 are so impressionable, and teachers, coaches, and parents can have a huge positive influence on girls,” she says. “I love stepping into that role.”
The skills Brown learned on the court—how to lead, how to compete, how to show love and respect for others, how to treat others how you want to be treated—helped her in her personal and professional lives. She hopes her athletes make the same connection. “My goal is to build well-rounded young women who can take those skills outside of GPS and into the community,” she says.
Prior to coming to GPS, Brown’s most recent coaching assignment was assisting the women’s volleyball team at the University of Louisville. The Cardinals were co-champs of the ACC in 2017 and advanced to the NCAA tournament. At the end of this most recent season, Brown was named one of only 12 recipients of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) 2017 Coaches 4 Coaches Scholarship to attend the AVCA Convention.
Before coaching at Louisville, Brown was an assistant at Berean Christian School in Knoxville, where her teams won back-to-back district championships and one region title. She was also part of a state semifinalist and region champion squad at Christian Academy of Knoxville in 2013. She played volleyball at the University of Tennessee and was named to the SEC Honor Roll all four years. Her Volunteers qualified for the NCAA tournament four consecutive seasons and won one SEC championship.
Brown also worked closely with her college recruiting coordinator and witnessed the conversations that go on between parents, coaches, and student-athletes at the NCAA Division I level. “I’m grateful for that experience and now I can help our girls better navigate the college recruiting process,” she says.
Looking back on her time at GPS, Brown appreciates the all-girls environment, where she could thrive as a student and volleyball player. She looks forward to helping girls find that same confidence on the court and grow as a team and as individuals.
“I was hesitant before going to GPS as a student but, as soon as I stepped on campus, I fell in love with it because it’s all about the girls,” Brown says. “I was never hesitant to speak up in class, and I always felt valued and supported. GPS gave me confidence in who I am and who I wanted to be going forward.”