Camry Willardson was dressed from head to toe in University of Utah apparel as she confirmed with her coaches over the phone that she would play volleyball for BYU.
Willardson came from a die-hard Utah football family that prepared her to compete competitively at a collegiate Division I level. But instead of playing for the U, she decided to become a Cougar.
“We were sure to snap a photo (of Willardson in her Utah gear),” Willardson’s brother and former Utah football player Bradon Godfrey said. “We like to give her grief about it.”
Willardson’s family wasn’t always a fan of Utah. In fact, it wasn’t until her older brother began to play football for Utah that “they were totally converted and baptized Utah fans,” Godfrey said.
Willardson and her family often attended her brother’s football games, something that eventually became crucial in preparation for her sport’s career.
“I had always dreamed of playing Division I volleyball because I had seen him play football,” Willardson said. “He was just really excited for me that I would have similar opportunities in playing Division I volleyball at BYU.”
Playing volleyball for No. 15 BYU is one way that Willardson is following the steps of her older brother. Godfrey also knows what it’s like to play for a one of the best teams in the nation. He played in the 2009 Sugar Bowl for the University of Utah, who defeated Alabama that year.
“I watched him succeed at the highest level and I wanted that for myself,” Willardson said. “I wanted to be like him and be able to have those same experiences that he had.”
Willardson and Godfrey have always had a close relationship. Godfrey now supports his sister by rooting for his sister’s team.
On one occasion, Godfrey attended a BYU volleyball team banquet. As the only Utah fan at the dinner, the BYU coaches brought him to the front, gave him a BYU T-shirt and made him sing the Cougar fight song.
“I kept that shirt and I showed up at the Utah game the next season and I wore the shirt to the game just to show her I was there to support her,” Godfrey said. “It is the only piece of BYU apparel I own.”
Willardson said that Godfrey’s support has given her confidence in playing volleyball. But despite the support, they are always willing to make the rivalry a fun topic within the family.
“It’s always a joke about being rival schools and my family will always be huge Utah football fans, but now they are huge BYU volleyball fans,” Willardson said in an email.
Willardson is doing an excellent job at following in her brother’s footsteps as she leads the nationally ranked BYU women’s volleyball team in assists this season.
“Camry is a great leader for us,” BYU women’s volleyball coach Heather Olmstead said. “She is a good example to her teammates. She is a competitor. She is a fighter. She is a leader on the team.”