The volleyball Warriors were emotionally flat and in trouble. And then they brought in a setter who provided a boost in a comeback victory.
That setter was Alex Jones last night.
That setter was Daniel Rasay in 2002.
In both situations, there was no questioning the skills and leadership of the starters — Jennings Franciskovic last night, Kimo Tuyay back then. But sometimes, a coach needs to shake it up.
That’s been the case historically at UH. Carl English was a bench player when he was summoned in the 2001 WAC basketball tournament. He ended up being the tournament’s most outstanding player after leading UH to the NCAAA tournament.
UH football, which opens spring practice on Saturday, has had numerous unheralded players embrace their moments under the lights. Quarterback Timmy Chang would go on to set NCAA passing records, but it was his understudy, Jason Whieldon, who helped the Warriors beat Alabama in 2003. In 2008, it was third-string quarterback Inoke Funaki who helped UH beat Fresno State on the road.
Jones, who joined UH after being cut by Cal State Northridge, possesses the leadership gene. In fall training, he was named a co-captain despite not having a starting role. He is viewed as a future coach.
Rasay already is a coach. After serving as Menlo’s women’s coach, he joined the Stanford men’s staff, first as a volunteer assistant and then as a full-time coach. He is on the short list for coaching jobs.
In sports, the next hero could be the one on the sideline.