EKU volleyball head coach Johnna Bazzani cheers on her team from the sidelines during a match in the 2021 season. 

Johnna Bazzani comes from a family of coaches, which led her to her coaching career at Eastern Kentucky University.

“I don’t think I’ve done anything besides sports in my lifetime,” Bazzani said.

Bazzani’s parents are both former college athletes. While she was growing up, she always knew that she wanted to be a coach. Her family was extremely supportive of her throughout her volleyball career and now in her coaching career. Coming from a competitive household, she has a competitive nature herself. Her mom was a college athlete and a high school athletic director and just retired. Bazzani’s mom’s career showed Bazzani that women could work in high positions. She showed a lot of passion for her work, setting an example for Bazzani throughout her life. 

“She pushed me to be my best,” Bazzani said. 

Bazzani started her career at EKU in 2014 as a graduate assistant. Then, from 2015 to 2018 she transitioned into a full time assistant role. She then moved her way up to being the head coach of indoor volleyball in 2019. 

Bazzani grew up in Redlands, California, and played volleyball at San Diego State University. She got her Bachelor of Arts in communications there in 2014 and her Master of Science in sports administration from EKU in 2016. While playing volleyball at San Diego State, she was chosen as the team MVP in her sophomore and senior seasons. She also has been the honorable mention All-American and two-time Mountain West Conference setter of the year. Bazzani then became head coach at EKU in 2019. Her most proud accomplishment in her career was becoming a head volleyball coach at such a young age. 

 “It’s in my blood,” Bazzani said. 

Bazzani still sees how her mother supported her playing career as an example as she coaches. She is constantly pushing her girls to be their best and play their best. 

“I want them to be successful in life and not just volleyball,” Bazzani said. 

Molly Michalak is a sophomore on the EKU volleyball team. She looks up to Bazzani as a coach and continues to play her best.

“She expects us to go out there and play our best and do what we do best,” said Michalak. 

The team sticks together whether they win or lose. 

“We celebrate the highs and mourn the lows together,” Bazzani said. 

Bazzani has a strong relationship with her staff at EKU. She considers her staff her family. She wants them to know the program is not just her program; it’s about them as well. 

“[We] really get each other,” said Bazzani.

Bazzani pushes the idea of being a family and not just a team. She wants them to build relationships with each other personally and not just about volleyball. Creating deeper connections will help them as a team mentally and physically. 

In her life, Bazzani is most proud of becoming a mother. Her son is the light of her life. She has a busy life when it comes to being a college sports coach but she always puts time aside for her family. Watching her son grow up is a joy for her and she loves being able to share her family, not only with the team, but with the university. 

“The day my son was born was one of the best days of my life,” said Bazzani. 

Bazzani is an accomplished woman who cares deeply about her team. She pushes them to be their best and is there for them. However, she acknowledged the program is about the team as a whole.

“The EKU volleyball program is not just about me,” said Bazzani.  


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