Are you looking for an intelligent, novel and candid athlete who knows what it means to be a team player? Then bring that search to an end because Candice Hairston is the woman for the job! The 5 feet 9 player for the Dillard University Lady Devils volleyball team embodies the qualities necessary to be a good leader.
Born and raised in Arlington, Texas, Hairston began playing volleyball as an adolescent.
"I started playing volleyball when I was in the sixth grade," Hairston said.
Hairston played at Adams Middle School and transferred to Workman Middle School. She also played left-front outside hitter at Sam Houston High School in Arlington for four years.
When it comes to Hairston and volleyball, it’s like mother, like daughter.
"I wanted to follow my mother’s footsteps, but I have more of a passion for volleyball than she did," said Hairston. Her mother, Wanda Hairston, played volleyball throughout her high school career in Little Rock, Ark.
According to Hairston, volleyball is a sport that contains varying suspense.
"It’s fun because you never know what’s going to happen. You have to be on your ‘A’ game at all times," Hairston said.
Before the game, Hairston usually prays and listens to gospel music. Artists such as Karen Clark-Sheard and Kirk Franklin mentally prepare her for the game.
"We also listen to some get crunk music as a team," she said.
Songs like "Goodies" by Ciara and Petey Pablo and "Go DJ" by Lil’ Wayne really get Hairston’s blood flowing.
Motivation, trustworthiness, leadership and dedication are some of the qualities, according to Hairston, that it takes in order to be a well-rounded athlete.
"You have to have a heart for the sport. You also need endurance and must be committed to the team," Hairston said.
"I feel that I am a team player. I try to keep it real with all of my teammates," Hairston said. Fellow teammate Stephanie Willis agrees.
"She is a cool person, smart player and a great athlete," Willis said. "She’s my girl both on and off the court."
Some of Hairston’s role models include head coach Javonne Butler and senior teammate Cicely Ozen. She believes that Butler is one of the best coaches ever.
"I love Coach Butler! She actually cares about us. She’s like a mother," Hairston said.
For Hairston, Ozen is like the big sister she never had.
"In spite of the trials she’s been through, she shows that she can still overcome and do something positive," Hairston said.
Looking forward to traveling and team gatherings, Hairston hopes to make it to the Regional Conference Championships.