Volleyball teams receive new lounge

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The BYU volleyball teams have never had a lounge space of their own since the program began in 1969, but that recently changed with the construction of the Carl McGown Volleyball Suite in the Smith Fieldhouse.

“It feels good to be recognized for the hard work we put in,” said libero Mary Lake. “It’s not about the equipment or facilities, but it’s really nice that we’re recognized and that people are so supportive of our program.”

The new suite is composed of several offices and two lounges — one for the men’s team and one for the women’s team — that include a ping pong table, several TVs, an Xbox and comfortable lounge chairs.

“I love it,” said outside hitter McKenna Miller. “We’ve only had it for a week but I don’t know how we functioned without it before. I don’t know what I did to kill time in between classes or practice.”

This space allows the volleyball teams to have a space of their own where they can watch film and relax before and after games.

“It’s so nice,” Lake said. “We definitely have a lot of talks about how we can’t take that for granted and how we need to use it to come together as a team.”

The suite was previously used by the football team and as a basketball meeting room.

A donation from Gregory and Julie Cook allowed the volleyball teams to reconstruct and turn the space into a place of their own.

Gregory Cook is a founding executive and president of DoTerra in the Greater China area and began sponsoring the BYU women’s volleyball program in 2014.

“The (women’s) team had a particularly good year and went to the national finals,” Cook said. “It was at that time we really got to know some of the players and coaches and realized just how special this program was.”

Cook first heard about the renovation idea from Bryan Carpenter, a member of the BYU athletic development team.

“We knew how amazing of a team we had, and so it just made sense that they would need a place to do homework, to bond and to really become a successful team,” Cook said.

The lounge was named after the late Carl McGown, who was the BYU men’s volleyball head coach from 1990 to 2002.

He led the team to two NCAA national championships and was a three-time Olympic Gold Medal coach, two-time national coach of the year and a 2010 AVCA Hall of Fame inductee.

McGown passed away last December.

The men’s volleyball team had a record of 25-6 and reached the national championship game last season, while the women’s team currently has a record of 11-1.

“They (the women) are doing amazing,” Cook said. “There is really a group of talented women this season, and we can’t wait to see how far they go.”