By Rachael Williamson
CCC Journalism Program
Camden County College instructor Joan Braid celebrates her 35th year coaching this year. Braid has been an instructor at CCC for the past four years, but her experience as a coach began long before.
Braid grew up in Springfield, Pa., and graduated from Springfield High School in 1979. That summer, she received her first opportunity as a basketball coach for the high school.
Braid went on to study at West Chester University. She continued to coach high school students in lacrosse, basketball and volleyball.
After graduating from college in 1984, Braid began playing volleyball for an indoor women’s league and traveled up and down the East Coast, playing beach volleyball.
It was during this time that she was offered her next coaching opportunity. She began coaching her first volleyball club team in Quaker City, Pa., and in 1998 Braid founded Freedom Volleyball Club in Media, Pa.
That year, Braid helped start AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) volleyball in the Mid-Atlantic Region. What began as only seven members grew to more than 1,500 members during the seven years that Braid was a part of the AAU.
Braid was rewarded for her involvement in the AAU. In 2005, she received the AAU Jack Shatz Award for her contribution to the sport of volleyball.
In 2001, Braid decided to explore coaching volleyball at the college level. She became the volunteer assistant coach at Villanova University.
In 2002, she became the head coach at Bryn Mawr College. At the time, Bryn Mawr did not have a good record, but the challenge was what drew her in. Braid spent seven years coaching at the college.
In 2011, she began instructing at CCC and the students have enjoyed her coaching methods. “She’s very energetic, she communicates well and she listens to us.” says Dorothy Ikeemeka, a student at CCC.
Braid became head coach at Cheyney University in 2012. Cheyney’s record when she arrived was 8-361. “I couldn’t think of a better school to take,” says Braid. “It was the best challenge ever.” In the past year, the team has had five wins and won its first division match.
She’s unsure if Cheyney is her last stop or her second-to-last stop. Braid says, “The journey has been a blast so far.”