The Future of Alabama Volleyball: Micah Gryniewicz

Abby McCreary, Staff Reporter

The Alabama hard hat has made its way to Foster Auditorium.  

Paired with some script A stickers, several signatures and a shovel, the hard hat is ushering in a new Crimson Tide volleyball culture under new head coach Rashinda Reed: blue-collar volleyball. 

The props, though, were not supplied by Reed. Instead, the lone freshman on the team — the player whose leg brace never stopped her from jumping around on the sidelines — ordered the hard hat and shovel through DoorDash a couple hours before a home game. 

Freshman Micah Gryniewicz said that she thought the hat, typically an Alabama basketball tradition, was a great way to liven up the volleyball bench. 

“I told the coaches straight up, I’m bored on the bench,” Gryniewicz said. “So, we’re going to make blue-collar volleyball and we’re going to make it our own. I told everyone, ‘Guys, we’re going to have this forever whether you like it or not.’” 

Since her debut season ended with a costly leg injury, Gryniewicz has made her presence known on the Crimson Tide bench. Her hard hat has been signed by everyone who has impacted her life and her volleyball career. Her teammates, coaches, the team’s support staff. And even UA associate athletics director Michael Dean signed the lid. Her shovel often functions as a limbo stick for the other players to dance under as referees review mid-match challenges. Most of all, her energy defines the culture that Reed hopes to bring to the program. 

“She’s truly starting to create a really dynamic culture on the bench which we’re talking about with establishing a new identity for Alabama,” Reed said. 

Although the outside hitter from Arizona spent most of the season on the bench, it had nothing to do with her hitting. Tallying an impressive 15 kills in her Alabama debut, Gryniewicz’s time on the court slowly fizzled out as a preseason leg injury became more and more serious. 

“A lot of times freshmen see a crossroad in that,” Reed said. “You can either disappear or rise to the occasion and figure out what your role could be in that moment.” 

To Gryniewicz, that meant turning the bench into a hype fest.  

“Before I came to Alabama, I was known for being that super pumped up, excited player,” Gryniewicz said. “Some people told me that I would have to chill that back because college is different, it’s more serious. But while I was on the bench, I figured I might as well be who I am, be loud, pump my team up and show that I’m with them even though I couldn’t play.” 

Outside hitter and veteran player Abby Marjama said that Gryniewicz’s role on the bench has been a welcome change this season. 

“Micah is just a true form of pure energy,” Marjama said. “She brings so much of the culture that we talk about and it’s something we always praise. We want to have fun, we want to hype people up, and it just comes natural to her.” 

For Gryniewicz, the thought of changing the future of the program was what drew her to the Crimson Tide in the first place.  

“Alabama has a winning culture in everything except volleyball,” Gryniewicz said. “This school has so many resources and so many amazing people working for [the program], something good was bound to happen. I had a lot of faith in that.” 

Although Gryniewicz said she has enjoyed playing her part on the bench, she hopes that next season she’ll be able to carry her energy out onto the court.  

“My goals are just to get back to being me, being a better version, being able to play,” Gryniewicz said. “Even though I didn’t get to play in SEC games, I feel like I learned a lot, and I’m ready to take that into next season. That’s all I’m thinking about, next season.” 

Questions or comments? Email Austin Hannon (Sports Editor) at [email protected]