Flores-Cloud settles in as EWU volleyball gears up for new season


EWU volleyball head coach Leslie Flores-Cloud answers questions from the media on June 25. | Jeremy Burnham for The Easterner

By Jeremy Burnham, Managing Editor

Less than two months before the start of the 2018 volleyball season, newly hired EWU head coach Leslie Flores-Cloud would like more time to prepare, but she’s not going to rush things.

“I think everyone wants more time,” Flores-Cloud said. “But I’m not going to push anything. If I don’t find both staff members I want, I have no problem waiting because I want the right fit. This is a program I want to grow.  I am going to be here for a while, so I want the right people working with me.”

EWU athletic director Lynn Hickey hired Flores-Cloud on June 15. Ten days later, Flores-Cloud was in Cheney being introduced to the media.

“The first thing we have asked her to do is add some stability to the program,” Hickey said.

Stability is not something that the program has had much of lately. The team struggled to retain players under former head coach Michael King. In 2017, the team returned seven of the 13 players eligible for another season. This season, the Eagles only return six players, despite only graduating three players at the end of last season.

Flores-Cloud said player retention will be a priority moving forward.

“I think the way I coach and the way I mentor, girls want to stay and play.” Flores-Cloud said. “The girls have to know that I care about them off the court first. I’ll push them on the court to be more successful. I really care about each and every one of the young women.“

Despite the shortage of returning players, Flores-Cloud says the team has a roster ready to compete.

“Recruiting is done,” Flores-Cloud said.  “We have a total of 13 [players] coming in for fall. We have six returners and seven newbies. One of the newbies is a transfer who I was actually recruiting at Drake.”

Flores-Cloud still has two assistant coaching positions to fill. She will have final say on who to hire.

“The head coaches hire the assistant coaches,” Hickey said. “We’ll be part of the interview process, but that’s her decision.”

The season starts in late August.