Having a full-time job as a third-grade teacher at Success Academy in the Bronx and being a mother with a small child hasn’t dimmed Dalliana Toussaint’s love of volleyball. This fall, she has returned to her alma mater, City College of New York (CCNY), to coach the women’s volleyball team.
“I adore volleyball. It’s the passion for it. I definitely enjoy teaching the skills. I love working with kids,” said Toussaint, who has coached volleyball at various levels for about eight years, including two seasons leading CCNY from 2014–15.
CCNY competes at the Division III level. The student-athletes don’t have athletic scholarships and like many individuals attending City University of New York (CUNY) institutions, they have obligations outside of college—but their love of volleyball and competition fuels them. Toussaint can identify with that, having been a Division III player herself and feeling not only passion for the sport, but also the bond of being on a team. “Also, you get to do a bit of traveling,” said Toussaint.
“It feels great being back,” added Toussaint, who in 2018 was inducted into the CCNY Alumni Varsity Association Athletics Hall of Fame. “We’ll continue doing what we do, representing the school. Getting the girls hopefully ready for a championship. That’s the goal.”
Toussaint said she can see the positive energy that the players have and their mutually supportive attitudes. When it’s practice or match time, they shut out everything else and focus on volleyball. Then, it’s back to school, work, and family. The team continues to work on raising their level of play.
“It’s definitely bringing back the nostalgia of playing and then coaching,” said Toussaint, who took time off from volleyball after giving birth to her son three years ago. “When I was asked to coach again, I said sure. It’s cool to have the opportunity to do it again. I’m also coaching some club volleyball. I feel like I was waiting to return.”
She also loves being a teacher, and that includes teaching the student-athletes on CCNY’s team. Toussaint could envision herself coaching full-time at the Division I or II level if the right opportunity arose.
The CCNY volleyball team is currently 3–3. The Beavers are next in action tonight with an away match at the College of Mount Saint Vincent.