Conn College volleyball coach Edmed is quiet, yet effective

Connecticut College volleyball coach Josh Edmed, right, has already coached his team in its first NESCAC championship game and will now coach the Camels in the NCAA tournament for the first time, as well.
Connecticut College volleyball coach Josh Edmed, right, has already coached his team in its first NESCAC championship game and will now coach the Camels in the NCAA tournament for the first time, as well. Sean D. Elliot/ The Day Buy Photo

New London - Josh Edmed is as laid back as Sunday morning.

Even during the New England Small College Athletic Conference volleyball tournament championship match on Sunday, Edmed remained subdued, never raising his voice except to be heard over the din of the standing room only crowd at Luce Field House.

"His heart rate is about 30," Connecticut College athletic director Fran Shields said. "He's just so calm. There's a method to his madness."

Or, in Edmed's case, there's a method to his calmness.

His cool demeanor works just fine with his volleyball program.

Results back that up, as the Camels have been one of the most consistently successful programs at Conn in Edmed's 11 years as head coach. They're hosting their first Division III NCAA tournament match on Friday night, playing Framingham State at 8 p.m. in a regional. Edmed was named the NESCAC coach of the year on Wednesday.

While his players benefit from Edmed's quiet leadership style, they asked him to do one thing differently earlier this season: Express himself a bit more.

Edmed's response was not to start jumping up and down on the sidelines or pumping his fist.

He simply made a loud fashion statement.

During the conference tournament run, Edmed wore colorful, checked pants with white and two shades of Camel blue. "The girls always ask me to express more emotion," Edmed said. "I'm not going to change much. This is as good as it gets."

The Camels (24-3) hope to make a statement this weekend. Backed by a home crowd, they have a good shot at winning their first-round match and reaching the second round, where they would face either MIT (30-5) or UMass-Boston (17-11) on Saturday.

No matter how deep their run, they've already made school history by becoming the first Conn team to play for the NESCAC tournament championship.

They're also on an elite list of Conn programs that have earned an NCAA tournament bid, joining men's soccer, men's tennis, women's lacrosse, women's soccer, men's basketball (twice) and men's lacrosse (twice), which qualified last spring and in 2010.

Much credit goes to Edmed who's tirelessly worked to build the program into a winner. He's has 186 wins in 11 seasons, including racking up at least 18 wins in each of the last six years. The Camels have qualified for seven straight NESCAC tournaments.

"The consistency has been amazing," Shields said.

Edmed has mined the recruiting hotbeds out west to stock his roster with talented players. Five members of his starting group hail from California, including NESCAC player of the year Rachel Schroff (Palos Verdes), conference rookie of the year Caroline Martin (Palo Alto) and Katie Ketcham (San Francisco), an All-NESCAC first team pick.

At the same time, Edmed keeps the focus on the academic side.

"I really see his maturity as a coach, understanding these kids are here to be students first," Shields said. "He's done a good job coaching at a high level and understanding that balance."

Edmed also has mastered the art of managing a team of varied personalities. He gives his athletes the freedom to express themselves.

Senior captain Carly Giuducci spoke on Sunday about the family atmosphere that Edmed has created around the program.

When asked the reason behind their successful run this season, Schroff, a senior captain, pointed to the team's camaraderie. "We have a really great group of girls and we get along really well," he said.

With Edmed's quiet leadership, the program has a firm foundation. An NCAA tournament berth should help provide another springboard for the Camels.

As to whether Edmed will break out his loud pants again for Friday's NCAA tournament opener, well, he hasn't decided. He might have other plans for his pants.

"We need some curtains in the house," Edmed dead-panned.

g.keefe@theday.com

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