Ask Rocky Olfert how the Columbia Bible College (CBC) Bearcats volleyball team managed to land a U.S. national beach volleyball champion on their roster, and he’ll tell you it was nothing short of an act of God. Micah Briscoe’s journey to CBC might be called immaculate recruitment.
“I think God had his hand on this,” said Olfert, the CBC men’s volleyball coach, reflecting on the unlikely chain of events that brought Briscoe from Phoenix, Ariz., to Abbotsford, B.C. “Before we knew it, Micah and his dad were driving up from Arizona.”
As recruiting processes go, Briscoe’s was quite the last-minute job. Olfert had been hired by CBC over the summer to serve as athletic director and men’s volleyball coach, and when he arrived on campus in mid-August to start work, he realized that the cupboard was nearly bare in terms of recruiting.
Meanwhile, Briscoe was looking for a Christian college where he could play volleyball. Tuition at most schools in the southwestern U.S. was extremely expensive, so he started to look north of the border, and sent Olfert an email with a link to a YouTube highlight video.
Olfert was initially skeptical, but he gave Briscoe a call a couple of days before classes started to gauge his interest. Already enrolled at Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, Briscoe dropped his classes the day before the refund deadline, packed up his car, and made a run for the border.
Briscoe boasts a unique volleyball pedigree, in that he learned the game on beach courts before moving indoors. He’s got plenty of sand success on his resume – in August, Briscoe and partner Keali’iokekai Bertelmann won gold in the U20 men’s division at the USA Beach Tour Championships in Huntington Beach, Cal.
Briscoe is still a relative novice to the indoor six-man game, but Olfert is confident his beach-honed skills will translate well to the hardcourt. “I think he’ll be a good college player,” Olfert said.
Olfert’s confidence in Briscoe is such that he was in the starting lineup when the Bearcats opened the B.C. Colleges’ Athletic Association regular season against the UBC-Okanagan Heat.
“We’re really going to rely on [returning players Matt Kaminski and Phil Wiens] this year,” Olfert noted. “We definitely lack experience, but the guys have really worked hard and pulled together.”