Inherited athleticism

Freshman Stacie Baldwin developed volleyball savvy from her mother, who was captain of nationally-ranked squad in 1978

Debra (Buchannan) Baldwin was inducted into the Delaware County Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.

All parents pass along certain gifts to their children. Some get quick reflexes or a sense of humor.

Freshman Stacie Baldwin got athletic ability and a great deal of volleyball savvy from her mother, Debra, who also played volleyball for Ball State.

When the younger Baldwin stepped on to the floor earlier this year for the women's volleyball team, Stacie and Debra became the first mother-daughter duo to have played volleyball at Ball State.

The elder Baldwin, formerly Debra Buchannan, played volleyball for Ball State from 1975 to 1978, earning four letters. During her senior year, she was captain of a team that finished 13th in the nation.

Now a teacher and coach at Wes-Del High School, Debra passes on her knowledge of the sport to her daughter.

"She is the one that taught me how to play," Stacie said.

The volleyball lessons started at an early age in the Baldwin household. As soon as Stacie could walk, she was hooked on the sport.

"She would always go to practice with me," Debra said.

While Debra was always more than ready to help her daughter with her volleyball education, she did not push the sport on her. It was normal for Stacie to would instigate the tutorials, she said

"Every time I got a free moment, she (Stacie) would come up to me and say, 'Pass,'" Debra said.

By the time Stacie was in fourth grade, she was playing on a volleyball team. Even though her mother was not her coach, Stacie would turn to her for additional advice.

"I would learn from practice or coaching," Stacie said. "Then I would come home and talk to her about it. So it would be like I would get coaching from the team and my mom, too."

After leading the Yorktown high school volleyball team to its first-ever Indiana Class 3A State Championship, Stacie had to decide where she would continue her college career.

"I wanted to stay close to home," Stacie said.

Her mother also wanted her to stay close, but also wanted Stacie to find a competitive volleyball team, and foremost, a school that would provide a good education. Ball State ended up being the perfect fit.

While playing at the same school where a parent had succeeded may be unnerving to some people, it is not to Stacie.

"She has always told me that I'm my own person," Stacie said. "I play for myself, not for others."

Debra sees a special skill in Stacie that she believes contributes greatly to her success.

"Stacie is capable of looking at the other team, the opponent and breaking that team down to where she knows their weakness very quickly," Debra said. "Not too many athletes are able to do that."

Using this and her other volleyball talents, Stacie is already on her way to following in her mother's shoes. She leads the team in average assists per game with 11.86. She has 344 assists on the season in 29 games. Stacie also averages 2.03 digs a game with 59 on the season.


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