Student, volleyball coach offers ‘physical presence at practice’


Matthew Nobert - The State Hornet

Sacramento State assistant volleyball coach John Fluette instructs senior Julia Wright during practice Sept. 6 at Colberg Court. Fluette is also a student at Sac State studying environmental studies.

Dayla Cook

Students are familiar with living life with a lot on their plates by way of balancing school, work, family, internships, relationships and teams — as Sacramento State student John Fluette is aware.

Fluette has never known a life that didn’t involve a volleyball and a net. His parents played the sport while he was growing up and as soon as teams were available, he signed up to play.

The Antelope native began his volleyball career in middle school and continued to play throughout high school. Afterwards he began to play for the men’s club volleyball team at Sac State. In his five seasons, he had been named a two-time All-American, four-time all league selection and served as team captain for two years.

In July, Sac State women’s volleyball coach Ruben Volta announced that Fluette would be the team’s newest assistant coach for the 2017 season. Volta, who has led the team for the past nine seasons, is confident in the newest addition to his coaching staff.

“Obviously he plays on the men’s club team here, so for us it was someone who knows the game of volleyball really well,” Volta said. “He’s a really good player. He’s someone who gave us a physical presence at practice, too. Someone that could facilitate drills for us (and) he just did a really good job of that for us.”

With multiple seasons on the club team, Fluette is bringing his skill to the women’s volleyball court. Fluette receives high praise from Sac State players such as senior setter and 2016 first team all-Big Sky Conference selection Kennedy Kurtz.

“He was by far one of the best players on the club team for the past five years,” Kurtz said. “That’s why we respect him a lot because he as a player is really good himself.”

Fluette said his two years as a volunteer helped cultivate his path towards his official title. However, as a student, mentoring his peers from a faculty standpoint was daunting. The task of occupying a leadership position amongst those who he called friends brought recognition to the dynamic of the team.

“The only concern we had coming into this season was that I was only a student the last couple seasons and we were friends outside of school,” Fluette said. “But it’s OK and it’s worked out really well because they knew the situation (and) we all knew that we could handle it.”

Although he has had a remarkable career as a club athlete, transitioning from player to coach was an eye-opening experience, Fluette said.

“You see a lot of different things that you don’t see as a player because when you’re playing you don’t focus on a lot of things that you think you should, or are told to,” Fluette said. “I’ve realized things that I did as a player that I never realized a coach would see.”

Fluette said he doesn’t play very much anymore after almost breaking his ankle while playing last season, but with his environmental studies degree in sight and graduation just a few semesters away, Fluette’s got plenty to balance on his plate.