Q&A: Seton Hall Volleyball’s Simone Asque

From a championship winner to a program battling for a Big East championship, Simone Asque is joining the Seton Hall coaching staff for the 2018 campaign, but she’s not your everyday assistant coach.

Hall Pass: What’s one thing about Simone Asque that no one knows?

Simone Asque: So I have two sisters, the older one works as a geneticist and the younger one is a lawyer and works for the Environmental Protection Agency, so I’m now a volleyball coach which I think is respectable but I’m going to look into pursuing my masters and adding to my education to compete with them.

HP: Why did you accept the offer to be an assistant at Seton Hall?

SA: There were other options, but primarily when I went to Coastal Carolina I was really happy there. We had a lot of success there, winning a conference championship was awesome. I told the head coach “I like it here, I like being here but if I leave it will be for Seton Hall.” He wanted me to stay there for several years and I was in full agreement for that but I told him if this opportunity came then I was going to take it, and it came.

HP: What specifically stood out about Seton Hall in the decision-making process?

SA: My boyfriend lives not too far from here so that’s part of the reasoning, also the standards of the education. The competitiveness of the athletics program with the Big East conference being as strong as it is. It was pretty much everything that I was looking for in the next step of my career.

HP: Did you have a relationship with (Seton Hall head coach) Allison Yaeger before joining the staff?

SA: I had known of here and I had heard good things but I had never met her, but once I met her it was pretty light work after that and we clicked. I really like what she’s doing with the program.

HP: How demanding was being the recruiting coordinator at Coastal Carolina?

SA: It was 24/7 recruiting.

HP: And what was that like?

SA: We were very heavily recruiting American and domestic players but also internationally. So I would be getting phone calls at three in the afternoon from an American kid, but three o’clock in the morning from a European player when they forgot the time difference. And so I would have to pretend and say “oh it’s no problem I was awake anyway.” I was also very active in finding players across the world. That meant comparing players such as who the best player was in the U.S. and how does she compare to the top player in Bulgaria.

HP: How do you define a model recruit?

SA: Leadership is huge. If they’re touching 10’5” that’s great, but if they’re touching 10’5” and can’t have the wherewithal to have a proper conversation or to learn or to try to get better then we can’t have too much of that kind of kid. Finding the right skill set and athleticism, but definitely leadership was huge because we want to bring in players who were willing and ready to fight for a championship. We were really looking for players who want to play professionally.

HP: What’s your experience been like with the Jamaican national team?

SA: Playing with the Jamaican national team was cool. It was one of those I had because my mother was born in Kingston, Jamaica and there’s a lot of history there on that side of my family. It’s been great because it’s a program that is still developing. We’re trying to learn and grow as a program. For me, having played overseas it was easier for me to come in and have an impact right away. We’re in an interesting spot where we’re picking up speed and momentum and adding strong players who are both Jamaican by descent or also from the island. We’ll see if I can make the team this year, some of it is wear-and-tear on the body and also being able to compete. But if we’re recruiting I’m going to go recruit.

HP: What’s the biggest challenge playing and coaching at the same time?

SA: Some of it is being able to find time to still train or still be in top shape. In practice, we’re training the team so it’s not a time for me to get better it’s a time to help the girls. So, I’m initiating the drills, sometimes I’m jumping in and playing with them so the touches are there for me, but the priority and goal is to help our team get stronger. I’m at that age where I’m phasing out of my playing days, but I’m very competitive so I still have to stay on my toes to not let the girls beat me in practice.

HP: While you were in high school you also played a musical instrument?

SA: Yes, I did.

HP: What was it like playing sports and music together?

SA: When I was 4 or 5 years old I started playing piano. I was always musically inclined, I could play by ear, so I could hear something and just play it. I picked up the violin early, in either grade school or high school, I think. I also played the clarinet for a little bit but I was horrible at that one. I wrote music, I composed music, I was classically trained. Now I taught myself how to play the guitar. But when I was 15 or 16 years old I had to make a choice and I chose sports which I think worked out well.

HP: If you didn’t pursue volleyball do you think you would be an instructor or in an orchestra?

SA: It’s hard to say because everyone is always like “if I would have kept it I would have been this rock star,” I don’t know about that but I definitely would have pursued it more. I probably would have gone to a music school and done that route. I probably would have been a songwriter not so much as a singer. I can carry a tune but I am definitely not Beyoncé. It was definitely something that was my other passion. I’m a big believer in if you follow your passion you’ll never work a day in your life.