May 6, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
One of the greatest homegrown volleyball players in University of Wyoming history, Ronda Munger was a four-year standout for the Cowgirls at her outside hitter position and still holds various program records. In 1986, she led Wyoming to its first ever NCAA Tournament berth, thanks to a team-high 365 kills, to earn Second-Team High Country Athletic Conference honors. As a senior in 1987, Munger would become the first Cowgirl ever selected All-West Region by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. She once again led the team in kills with 515 to claim First-Team High All-Conference honors and Defensive Player of the Year in the HCAC. For her career, Ronda recorded 1,536 kills and 1,108 digs, which both still rank third in Cowgirl history. Munger also holds school records in single-game kills with 42 in five different contests. She played in 415 games during her UW career, before going on to a successful profession in the Wyoming Judicial Branch.
You had an exceptional career as a Cowgirl volleyball player as many of your records still stand and you were inducted into the UW Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997. Looking back, what are your favorite memories with the team?
The first memory that comes to mind was beating BYU my freshman year. I started that year because of my outside hitting abilities; however, my blocking skills were terrible. We were at match point at BYU, and just like a freshman, I was late in setting up the block, so I went flying out to block the ball and by some miracle, BYU's right side hitter actually hit my hands and it was a stuff block to win the game. It was the only time during my career that we beat BYU, and I won't soon forget how excited we were to have beaten BYU on its home court.
One other memory that is prominent in my mind, even after twenty-five years, is the time we played in a tournament in Canada. Mike English was our coach that year and he gave us the option of spending our spring break at home or going to Canada to play in this big tournament. We decided as a group to take the road trip to Canada and had a lot of fun during that week. There were a lot of practical jokes and horseplay during that trip, which was a lot of fun, and there are times that I miss that sort of team togetherness and team spirit today.
You currently work as a Deputy Court Administrator/Public Information Officer in the Wyoming Judicial Branch. What are your primary responsibilities in this position?
As the Deputy State Court Administrator/Public Information Officer, I have a multitude of responsibilities. We administer the State Court Judicial System, which consists of about 250 employees and 58 judges, so my duties include staffing Judicial Branch committees, facilitating 4-5 training meetings for clerks and judges each year, providing human resource expertise in hiring and developing employees so that we are a strong, efficient and vital branch of Wyoming's government. I also work as a project manager on special projects assigned by the Chief Justice.
After you finished up at UW in 1988, what was the pathway leading up to your current position?
After graduating from UW in 1988, I was hired as an English teacher at Worland High School. I decided to go back to school and I received my certificate of Paralegal from the Denver Paralegal Institute. I worked as a paralegal for five years in Cheyenne before beginning work for the Wyoming Supreme Court in November 1996. While working for the Supreme Court, I enrolled in the UW Outreach Program and completed my Master of Public Administration. I have now worked for the Court for over 17 years and it has been a very rewarding place to spend my working years.
What was your major at UW? Athletics aside, what sticks out the most when you think of your time as a student in Laramie?
I received my Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, and I still have a passion for teaching, good literature, movies and live theatre. Some of my fondest memories come from sitting around the union discussing the latest material that my college mates and I had read. One of the greatest things about attending the University of Wyoming is that you are not only getting a great education, but you are likely to know and make lifelong friends with the people in your classes. UW is just the right mixture of a big university with a small-town Wyoming feel.
What do you believe are the biggest challenges facing collegiate women's volleyball or women's athletics in general?
I think the game of volleyball has changed in an effort to revolve around time restraints of ESPN and the national networks; however, I do not believe the game has been changed for the better. In my opinion, rally scoring in volleyball has diminished the competitive spirit of the game. (Now I am going to sound very old) When I played volleyball at UW, the game was played to 15 and you had to be serving to score. Being able to "side-out" and keep the other team from scoring made the game much more intense. The game as it is played today awards a point on every serve. If a player misses their serve, the other team scores - meaning that the other team did nothing to get a point except stand on the court. Don't get me wrong, I still love the game and I think it is fun to watch, but I think it was more fun prior to TV time commitments.
Being a Wyoming native, what did it mean to represent brown and gold in competition?
In an effort of full disclosure, I am not actually a Wyoming native. I was born in Nebraska, lived in Colorado, and moved to Wyoming when I was 10. I spent all of my formidable years in Wyoming, so I think of myself as a native, I just did not want to misrepresent the facts.
To be honest, I had several opportunities for full-ride scholarships from other prominent schools. I love Wyoming and chose to stay here for my collegiate career because I knew this is where I would make my home after my collegiate career was over. Wyoming people are the best, and I am very proud to have helped build a volleyball program that played in the round of 16 at the NCAA Championships. There were a lot of people who did not understand why I chose to stay in Wyoming, but it was the best decision I ever made. I have no regrets.
What do you enjoy doing outside of your professional life?
I still enjoy competition very much, and although my body no longer allows me to compete on a physical level, I still love the art of competition. I have taken up the game of Texas Hold'em, and played in the 2012 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. I am proud to say I finished 921st of 6,598 competitors. It was certainly a bucket list experience for me and the most intense competition I have ever faced.
I also love the outdoors - hiking, camping and golfing take up the rest of my time.
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