Name and Team: Branden Smeltzer, 16 Blue
“Day Job”: General Manager, Heavy Duty Bus Parts
· Gold Medal 2007 USAV Boys Jr National Championship (undefeated – 22-0)
· Bronze Medal 2009 USAV Boys Jr National Championship
· Two Time Coach of the Year, Bay League (Southern California)
· Seven Year Head Coach West Torrance High School Boys Volleyball
· California Southern Section CIF Quarterfinals 2008
· Top 5 ranked team in SCVA 10 of 14 seasons
· SCVA Qualifing Tourney Finals five times (no, none of my teams ever won, thankfully - the winners were always cursed at Jr Nationals!)
About Coach Branden
What is your favorite volleyball memory?
Beating Redondo Union High School my last fourth year at West Torrance. I am a Redondo alumni, and West Torrance was always a sub-par team. It took three hard years of recruiting tall kids and stealing basketball players to be competitive enough to beat Redondo, a nationally ranked team every year. My good friend was the head coach of Redondo, and over the years told me I was wasting my time over there until that moment. I was able to setup a great coaching staff and make a high school relevant in a very difficult league – very proud moment!
Tell me about your family.
I am originally from California and my wife, Janna, is from Houston, though moved to California when she was 12. We got smart and moved to Texas at the end of 2012. We have been married over seven years and have a three year old daughter, Brynn. Janna is currently pregnant with twins, so I am halfway to having my own volleyball team. We currently live on Lake Conroe, which we love!
What advice would you give to volleyball players?
1. Find the right place to play: coaching staff matters. Another 15 minutes in the car may be the difference between playing collegiately or not.
2. Try new things at practice. You never know what you can do until you try.
3. Make the changes your coach tells you to do and stick with it.
4. Work hard at every touch of the ball, and to do whatever it takes to make the players around you better.
Who was/is your role model and why? (Can be volleyball-related, but doesn’t have to be)
My mom. She did whatever it took to make sure my sister and I were cared for while she also progressed her professional career into a CEO position. She properly balanced family life with hard work, and has been extremely successful in life.
What is your favorite food?
Authentic Chinese food
What is your favorite book?
What is your favorite song?
You Found Me (The Fray)
What would your friends say are your 2 biggest strengths and 2 biggest weaknesses, and why?
I actually asked several of them and received an almost identical answer:
1. Work ethic - Every position I have held since I was 18 has brought me to a senior management position.
2. I am a very compassionate person.
1. I worry too much about what more I can do instead of what I do and/ or have done.
2. I take on work as part of my self-identity.
Do you have any pets? Tell us about them.
I have an almost 11 year old Miniature Australian Shepherd named Cooper, who is my wife's and my "love fern." I got him right when she and I started dating.
Why did you choose to coach at TAV Houston?
A couple years ago I had recently left another club that was not the right fit for me and was shopping at Wal Mart very early in the morning, on my way to the airport, and saw Joe shopping. He gave me his business card, and here I am.