By Greg Johnson
Marcia Alterman is big on finding the “it” factor when evaluating a volleyball official’s work.
Alterman certainly has been “it” when it comes to collegiate volleyball. She began officiating the sport at the collegiate level in 1983 and later became the first NCAA women’s volleyball secretary-rules editor in 2002.
But because of new term limits for secretary-rules editors on NCAA playing rules committees, this year marks the end of Alterman’s term as the sport’s official rules interpreter and editor of the rules book. Alterman attended her last in-person NCAA Women’s Volleyball Rules Committee meeting Jan. 20. She will conclude her duties in September.
“I don’t know how we replace her level of work ethic and input that she’s provided as long as this committee has been in existence,” said current committee chair Fran Flory, the head coach at LSU. “We are losing a valuable resource, and the committee will have to step up and try to carry the load until we get another person that will serve in that role.”
Alterman called her time as women’s volleyball secretary-rules editor a labor of love. Among her fondest memories are watching new members recognizing that committee service is larger than any individual agenda.
“You can see the moment when they think, ‘Now, I get it,’ ” said Alterman, who is the executive director of the Professional Association of Volleyball Officials. “They realize the weight of what their task is and how widespread their focus needs to be. You watch the changes among the coaches who come on the committee, and it is something that I have valued.”
Alterman began officiating high school volleyball games while she attended Wichita State, where she was a setter in her student-athlete days.
“I was all brains with no jumping ability,” she joked.
Besides volleyball, she also officiated basketball and softball. But volleyball eventually became her primary focus.
“It was clear to me that I was probably a better official than I was a player,” Alterman said. “I loved playing, but this was kind of my niche.”
Alterman also found a passion for training other officials at becoming better at their craft.
“That’s really a joy for me,” Alterman said. “I have done a lot of clinics and developed teaching materials. Being the executive director of PAVO, I get to stay involved in officiating training.”
So the contributions to the sport will continue, even when the interpretations don’t.