Kandis Schram achieved a career milestone when she notched her 600th victory against Covenant College.
However, Schram is not just a volleyball coach but a teacher, mentor and community leader, as well.
The Hudson, Fla., native first chose Maryville College as her home when she wanted to attend a strong Presbyterian school to pursue seminary. As an athlete, she was successful in volleyball and softball and went on to received the J. D. Davis Award, which seeks to honor senior student-athletes who exhibit leadership, athletic ability, Christian values and academic achievement.
“Coaching is something I never saw myself doing, but it has become something I cannot imagine not doing,” Schram said.
Schram took over the volleyball team in 1986, and her success has only grown. She attributes her success to being surrounded with positive people and allowing her faith to guide her and give her patience and insight.
Through all of the success, she has overcome many obstacles. She is a successful female in a male-dominated profession, and instead of seeing this as an obstacle that she had to overcome, she thinks it was an opportunity.
Another obstacle that she conquered was colon cancer, with which she was diagnosed in 2004.
The toughest thing about it all is “living with the knowledge you’ve been given a second chance,” Schram said in an interview with Stephan Cooper of the Blount Today. “I feel responsible for the days I have.”
This second chance has led her to be the Great South Athletic Conference coach of the year on eight occasions and inducted into the Maryville College Wall of Fame. Schram is presently ranked eighth nationally in active NCAA Division III volleyball coaches in career victories and is the 15th-winningest coach all-time within NCAA Division III.
She even coached softball for over five years.
Although appealing job opportunities have been presented to her, she has stayed at her alma mater.
“I love Maryville College, and I believe in Maryville College and its mission,” Schram said.
When she is not conquering obstacles on and off the court, Schram enjoys spending time with her family and also traveling when she can. She stays active in the community by being involved with the Kiwanis Club of Alcoa and being an elder at New Providence Church.
Some of her most memorable moments as a coach were her first NCAA tournament, which was played at Thomas Moore; the win against UT-Dallas at Southwestern; and when she took a team to Washington, D.C., and they took public transportation to play Gallaudet University, which she feels was a major turning point in her career, in the mid-90s.
“It was phenomenal,” Schram said. “It was awesome seeing the kids challenge their fears of adventure, and playing the Costa Rican National team was cool.” This was how she described the first international trip that the volleyball team took, to Costa Rica this past summer, which was another favorable memory. Outside of coaching, she will remember the weddings, births and graduations.
When asked if she would get to 700 wins, Schram gave a fitting answer for one who has overcome so much already.