Led by Beth Van Fleet, Georgia State beach volleyball prepping for success in 2021

Coach Beth Van Fleet’s journey brought her all across the country to California before coming to Georgia State. Photo Submitted by GSU Athletics

In the early stages of our childhoods, it’s safe to say we have big dreams and aspirations about what our life will look like when we grow older. We want to become heroes, doctors, lawyers, basketball or football players or somehow be on television.  

Individuals tend to find their passion at that age as well, and if lucky enough, they go on to have great careers. Georgia State volleyball head coach Beth Van Fleet found her niche and love for volleyball at a young age. 

“I just started playing and quickly really bought into the game and loved it,” Van Fleet said. “I really could see myself playing in college. I had the opportunity to come here to Georgia State and play on the indoor volleyball team on scholarship, which was an incredible opportunity.” 

Van Fleet was a star on the court during her college days. After college, she set out on a journey to San Diego, California, with one of her college teams whose goal was to play beach volleyball.  

“I graduated from Georgia State with a degree in marketing. I worked here in Atlanta for about two years for an advertising firm, and then packed up and moved to California and played on the AVP for eight years,” Van Fleet said. 

In California, Van Fleet learned beach volleyball, and spent countless hours perfecting her craft. She went through painful and harsh moments to prepare her for her future passion.  

“It was painful, humbling and incredibly rewarding,” Van Fleet said.

After spending time in California, word got out that Georgia State was thinking about adding a beach volleyball team to the sports program. Sure enough, they did, which led to Van Fleet’s hiring.  

In just three seasons as the Panthers’ head coach, the beach volleyball team has finished with records over 20 plus wins.  In 2016, Van Fleet led the team to a program-high of 26 wins. 

She led the program in 2018 to 22 regular season win victories

During those same three years as the head coach, Van Fleet racked up two Coach of the Year awards honoring her hard work and dedication to her student-athletes and the tremendous work she has established with her team.  

“Those rewards are incredibly meaningful because that’s coming from the students,” Van Fleet said. “I think it was really neat they went into the meeting and nominated me and gave a reason as to why I should be nominated.”  

The amount of determination and joy Van Fleet puts into perfecting her teaching skills and craft is a clear indication that she deserved the awards. 

“That to me is incredible when you see the people who you invest in so much every day,” Van Fleet said. “Those were really special awards to me.”