Longhorn legends: Volleyball Hall of Honor inductee Demetria Sance
When Demetria "Dee" Sance finished her volleyball career at The University of Texas in 1998, she left as one of the best all-around player in college volleyball. Though it has been seven years since she last donned a Longhorn jersey, none of that has changed.
"Being inducted is a huge honor because it is something that I never expected, having as much fun as I did when I was playing for Texas," Sance said.
Fun indeed. After coming to the Forty Acres from John Jay High School in San Antonio, Sance put together one of the most memorable first-year performances in the history of the sport, being tabbed as the 1995 Southwest Conference Freshman of the Year, All-Time Southwest Conference Freshman of the Year, National Freshman of the Year, and earning Freshman All-American honors.
From there, Sance continued to dominate the court, not only earning all conference and NCAA Regional All-Tournament honors all four years, but also American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America honors, becoming only the eighth women's volleyball player to accomplish such a feat. Sance left Texas as the career record holder in kills (2,013), attacks (4,783), and digs (1,614). Moreover, Sance was inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and voted to the seven-member Big 12 10th Anniversary Team in 2005.
After finishing her eligibility, Sance played with the USA Women's Volleyball National Team, helping the team to a fourth-place finish in the 2000 Summer Olympics, and spent one year playing professionally in Rome. But in the end, even with all those accomplishments under her belt, Sance found herself returning to school to earn her degree in kinesiology.
"I think my greatest achievement was graduating from UT," Sance said. "I think that was huge because I left Texas after my senior season to continue playing volleyball. It was two and a half years before I returned to the classroom, and it was a big change of pace to go back and finish.
"I think it is important for female athletes to get their degree because there is only so much we can do as an athlete in order to make a living. I knew that I could not play volleyball for the rest of my life, and even if I played for 10 years, that wouldn't set me up for what I wanted to be at an older age."
Now, instead of playing volleyball, Sance spends most of her time on the sideline as the head coach of the Wagner High School volleyball team in San Antonio.
"My favorite thing is giving back to the sport of volleyball and I really like coaching the minority demographic," Sance explained. "Generally volleyball is not a minority sport, so I really like giving back to those who are unable to afford the club volleyball expenses."
Furthermore, Dee has taken her influence as a coach beyond the game of volleyball and into the lives of her students. Every now and then, the keen eye might spot Sance in the stands at home volleyball matches surrounded by a flock of high school teenagers, namely her players.
"I take my team up to Austin for a game every year. This year we went to watch the Colorado game, and I took my seniors to watch the Missouri game," Sance said. "I like for them to see the game at the next level, and I especially want them to strive and go play in college, if not go to college."
For Dee, her own mother was the biggest influence on her volleyball career.
"My mother played volleyball and coached at John Jay my freshman year," Sance said. "Every time I step on the court, no matter how old I am, I still hear her coaching voice in the background."
This time around, though, when Sance is enshrined in the Hall of Honor, the voice she hears will be something different, it will be the voice of a proud mother.