KANSAS CITY, Mo. — New Stanford assistant women’s volleyball coach Alisha Glass Childress hit the ground running at a job she never expected to have.
Which is no small thing, considering that the Olympic setter is seven months pregnant with her second child while husband Josh Childress is playing basketball in Japan.
After the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the former Penn State star from Michigan wasn’t sure what she wanted to do.
“There was a lot up in the air,” Childress said while recruiting at the Triple Crown NIT. “I knew if I did want to play I’d want to start a family so that maybe I’d have kid number one and then maybe go back to playing. But I enjoyed motherhood and that life and being at home and being with my husband. That was really good.”
Josh Childress, coincidentally, played his college basketball at Stanford. His pro career has included stops with four NBA teams and stints in Europe. Kid number one, by the way, is Maya and is 18 months old.
“She’s awesome, and we said if she’s so awesome, let’s do it again,” Childress said with a hearty laugh.
Number two, a girl, is due in April.
The 6-foot 30-year-old was coaching a high school team in Irvine, Calif., and last summer was an assistant on the USA Pan Am Cup team that won gold in the Dominican Republic.
She said she enjoyed coaching in high school.
“And I was trying to figure out what I was going to connect with that and motherhood and then I got connected to Kevin.”
“I wanted somebody to train setters and who better than Alisha? I want someone to come in and work with (senior All-American setter) Jenna Gray, someone who knows what it’s like to win national championships, repeat as national champion,” Hambly said.
Of course, Stanford has won two of the last three NCAA titles and made it to the national semifinals in 2017. While at Penn State, Glass won three NCAA titles in a row, from 2007-09.
“Her resume spoke for itself,” Hambly said. “And especially for Jenna, no one knows better what it’s like to try to win three national championships in your career. We’re trying to win it again next year. Everyone knows that’s the case.
“That’s how it started, but then when I met her and we started talking, it was a no-brainer because she’s just great people and she fits culturally so well at Stanford.”
Childress was equally impressed.
“When we started chatting it seemed more and more like a direction I should go in and a path that I should pursue,” she said.
“That’s how I got there. I happened very quickly.”
Childress and Maya flew to Japan to see her husband for 10 days, got back, and moved to Palo Alto just two weeks ago.
Childress, who pro volleyball career included playing for teams in Brazil, Poland, Italy, and Puerto Rico, made a point to talk to, among others, her former coach at Penn State, Salima Rockwell.
She, too, was an All-American at Penn State and was an Olympic alternate in 1996. Rockwell is out of college coaching and lives in Austin, Texas, and was also at the TCS NIT.
“We’re like-minded individuals and as a female going through it and having a family and knowing how to find that balance talking to her was important,” Childress said. “She knows Kevin and she knows me well and she was able to give me a really good perspective on what the opportunity might look like and how I would adapt. She definitely helped with the process.”
Childress is excited to work with the setters, but understands there’s more to her new job than just that.
“The setters, the offense, those are things I’ll be able to bring to the table,” she said. “Obviously Denise (Corlett) is on staff, but having another young female that’s more recently gone through the process to be a sounding board.
“There’s the on-the-court stuff, but also wanting to be available for them and be a resource for them off the court.”