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Turning Volleyball into a Career

Will Perry '23
Men’s volleyball player Will Perry ’23 not only launched a sportswear brand while at Endicott, but through a Boston College internship, he also found his true calling.
By: Danna Lorch

Years from now when Will Perry thinks back to his Endicott days, the ’70s track by Dr. Hook, “Sharing the Night Together,” will spin on repeat in his head. 

He’ll flashback to his junior year when the song played nonstop in the triple he shared with his two best friends, teammates from the men’s volleyball team. “It was constant fun, no matter what we had gone through during the day and how worn out we were,” he said. 

That same year, during pre-season, the outside hitter tore his ankle and couldn’t make it onto the court, much less move around campus easily, but at least his teammates were together again after limited opportunities to get out and be social the prior year due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Junior year was also when Perry, a sport management major, landed an extraordinary internship as Volunteer Assistant Coach for the Boston College women’s volleyball team. The opportunity came about after Perry took the initiative to network with Endicott alumni in his field. In previous summers, Perry had coached boys’ volleyball at his former club, Bay to Bay Volleyball Club, in California’s Silicon Valley. But coaching players close to his own age was a different challenge. 

“I thought I was in over my head, that I was out of my league and didn’t deserve the job,” he admitted. But everything worked out and then some. “I think I was able to contribute to that program and I’ve also never learned more in a shorter period of time.” 

Will Perry '23

“Over my 11 years as head coach of our program, and through the 20 years in total being a member of Endicott men’s volleyball, Will is one of the most authentic and genuine people I have had the pleasure of knowing,” said George Chapell, Men’s Volleyball Head Coach. “Through his semester-long internship coaching at Boston College, Will’s knowledge of the sport has only been strengthened and we have been able to watch it materialize in his play on the court. He is a natural leader and people gravitate toward him and his energy.” 

The experience confirmed that Perry’s ultimate future play is pursuing a career as a college athletics coach, an all-consuming role that’s as much a lifestyle as it is a job.

Sports have been at the center of Perry’s life from the time he was a newborn wrapped in his mom’s arms at a Stanford basketball game, lulled to sleep by the crowd’s roar. He chose volleyball because, as a taller fellow, he had a natural advantage—and he found a community that embraced him from the start. 

Although he claims that he’s “not the greatest athlete,” he was accepted to Bay to Bay, one of the most competitive clubs in the country, at age 15. “I had the most amazing coaches, and it was the most incredible bonding experience to really go work hard with a group of guys. It’s the people that make volleyball so special and I just never wanted to move away from that,” he said. 

After winning the national championship during his junior year of high school, it became clear that Perry would play in college too. His parents had met in Boston, and he still had family in Massachusetts. Perry wanted a New England school with a strong sport management program where he could play volleyball. “Endicott is tough to beat in terms of location, too,” he added. 

He easily transitioned to college, making solid friendships with teammates that gave him a sense of belonging from the start. He already looks back on the carefree ease of that first fall semester with nostalgia. COVID restrictions were challenging but Perry learned to cultivate resilience, a valuable life skill he’ll carry with him. 

He also dug deep into the B.S. in Sport Management Program. “The sports industry is still a male-dominated sector but our department is really special because the majority of our professors are female,” he said. “Three of them pretty much made my sport management experience here.” They are Boyun Woo, Dina Gentile, and Katherine Kilty, who introduced Perry to bestselling author and motivational speaker Brené Brown’s groundbreaking work on courage in leadership. 

Somehow in between studying, coaching, and being a student-athlete, Perry also launched an athleisure label, Drop Dimes, which he pitched at the 2022 and 2023 Spark Tank, nabbing the second place $3,000 prize at this year’s competition. (The label’s name is a riff on every volleyball player’s goal to pass the ball so accurately it could land on a dime.)

“It started out as just designing custom shorts for Bay to Bay, but quickly expanded into supplying gear to other clubs and having professional athletes rep the designs,” he said. 

One of his latest DropDimes hoodies is printed with “Amor Fati,” a Latin phrase that translates to “love of one’s fate.” At the moment, Perry is embracing his own fate on the court and in life.

He’s considering graduate school next year and the opportunity to play one more year of college volleyball now that he is fully recovered from his previous injuries. 

“I love being a student-athlete,” he said. “All of my purpose and drive goes into going to class, going to work, then showing up and playing volleyball.”