Anne Kordes is a fierce competitor as the head volleyball coach at the University of Louisville. But, behind that tough exterior is local girl who grew up “in the business” watching her dad coach. She also is keenly aware of how to take care of people, both on and off the court, personally and professionally. This new mom is a dynamo who is as excited about watching her new baby grow up as she is watching her volleyball babies grow up in their new conference.
How long have you been the Head Volleyball Coach at the University of Louisville? Where did you work before this?
I have been at the University of Louisville for three years. I started my career at the University of Illinois as an assistant coach in 1999. In 2004 I became the head coach at St. Louis University. In 2011 I started at U of L.
When did you realize that you wanted to coach?
High school was when I realized coaching could be a viable career.
As a coach, you wear many hats: mother, therapist, trainer, leader, marketing, sales, recruiting, business woman and coach. Which takes up most of your time?
During the fall, practice and game prep is the most time consuming. You want to watch film on opponents, your own team, as well as individual performances. In the spring semester and summer it’s recruiting; phone calls, trips and hosting visits keeps me the busiest.
Which is your favorite part of your job? Least favorite?
My favorite is the relationships with my players, my staff, their families and our incredible fans. Those people stay in your life forever, so every year your family gets bigger. I don’t like losing, either a recruit or a match. Both can make you sick to your stomach.
Tell us about your team this year and your new conference?
The ACC is one of the premier volleyball conferences in the country, so unlike in years past where we have cruised through our conference season, we will be in for a fight every match. It’s going to provide for exciting volleyball. We have a young team this fall, but they are talented and competitive. I think fans are going to fall in love with their gritty style of play. Plus, with only two seniors, fans will get to connect with this team for the next few years. Check out the schedule at www.gocards.com!
What is your usual work wardrobe?
For practice, I am in decked out in ADIDAS gear, which unlike many apparel companies, has clothing cut for a woman’s shape, which is what I prefer. You can find most of it at our Cardinal Authentic store at Papa John’s stadium or at the YUM center downtown. For matches, I like fitted suits or a beautiful blouse and fitted pants. I love skirts and dresses, but in a match I get excited, so I go from sitting to standing quite a bit and pants are a better option for all the movement. I coach in heels, which I love. I am always in pursuit of a stylish yet, comfortable 2.5 to 3.5 inch heel. Please Facebook me if you have a suggestion!
Explain how you can keep perfectly manicured red nails while playing volleyball? We’d love to know that secret.
I have been a life-long nail biter, so when I started my career at 22 I realized I needed to get fake nails to look professional. I have had them ever since. I always tell the manicurist to cut them as short as possible and round them out. Needless to say, my real nails are a mess and I can’t stand having fake nails put on. It’s time consuming and money not well spent, but I do like the way it looks and with regards to the color, I can’t seem to go away from the Cardinal red. It goes with everything.
How has having a baby changed your perspective?
I believe Mary has made me more patient.
What is the biggest life lesson you have ever learned?
Don’t lie. If you screw up, admit it, take what’s coming, apologize and learn from it.
Who is your mentor?
I have several. I think an important factor in success is to have three to five people to bounce ideas off of before making a big decision. However, my dad is my go-to. He is intelligent, compassionate, experienced and successful. Important characteristics in a mentor.
What is the best advice you have received in business?
Don’t wait until you are in charge to start projecting a reputation as a professional. Dress professionally; establish strong relationships by face-to-face communication with others in your company and your profession. Handwritten notes, gift cards, phone calls to co-workers or clients. A lot of people say, when I am the head coach I am going to do this and that. Why not do those things right now?
If you were not in your current job, what would you secretly love to do?
It’s no secret. I want to perform on stage with any famous singer from the 1990’s. I went to the Barnstable Brown Derby party this year and was most excited to see Salt-N-Pepa perform. Pepa was sick, so I jumped on stage to help Salt because she clearly needed me. I got to sing and dance to “Push It” with Salt in front of 800 people. It was amazing.
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
My hair is curly. I have ringlets. It’s a long story, but a highlighting mishap fried out my curls, so I began straightening treatments at T and Company in St. Matthews. Theresa Acton is the best in the business when it comes to straightening treatments.
What is your favorite place to go eat?
Where do you like to shop?
I love Clodhoppers and I know it can be expensive, but they carry such unique and beautiful items, so if I really love something I will buy it because I know I will wear it to death. With my schedule I shop a lot online at Banana Republic, J Crew, and Nordstrom. All three have great online sales! For accessories I love W&M and Two Chicks. For shoes, I like Von Maur, Macy’s, and Zappo’s. The best shopping experience I have ever had is Century 21 in Manhattan. It’s like a five story TJ MAXX, but all clothes are high end designer. The deals are amazing and the clothes are beautiful. It’s worth a trip to NYC just to shop there.
What is a treat or a luxury you do for yourself?
A real handbag. I bought my first one this summer. The rest have been knockoff’s from Chinatown in NYC.
What is your weakness?
Besides French fries and my constant fear of failure?
What is your favorite thing to do in Louisville?
Best day would be a run in Seneca Park, followed by breakfast at North End Café on Bardstown road, and then meeting up with family and friends at the St. Patty’s Day Parade in the Highlands.
Three things you cannot live without (besides God, family and friends):
- My au pair, Denise.
- Hand-me-down clothes for my daughter from Gretchen Houchin
- Annual trip to the lake with my girlfriends from Assumption.
What are you reading right now?
Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris. It’s hilarious.
What are three of your “favorite” things right now:
- Airplanes with wi-fi
- My daughter’s inability to crawl forward, only backward
More fun than interviewing Anne Kordes is going to her office, which is awash with activity and all sorts of athletes from the University of Louisville. Thank you for generously hosting us and giving us the full tour, Anne!