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Nikki Knott and her daughter, Olivia Knott, are teamed up as coaches for the Madison Academy high school volleyball team. Nikki is in her fourth season as head coach while Olivia is an assistant coach in her first season with the Mustangs. Photo- Glen Laird, Madison Academy

The Knott Mother-Daughter Coaching Team Makes For A Great Connection At Madison Academy

MADISON- Having a lovable and everlasting relationship is something every mother and daughter hope for. Add a unique fact both are coaches and handling those duties on the same team can make for a family connection like no other.

For Nikki Knott and her daughter, Olivia Knott, the idea to coach alongside one another for the Madison Academy volleyball team is the chance to spend good quality time together while staying connected to the sport they both played prior to becoming adults.

“Oh yes, we found the one thing we both loved and love the coaching aspect as we have a common ground in volleyball,” said Nikki, who was a four sport (volleyball, cheerleader, softball, basketball) athlete and 1989 graduate of Madison Academy. “Not many parents can say they share the same passion with their child.”

Olivia, also a graduate of Madison Academy and volleyball player for the Mustangs’ program, added, “It’s fun to be with her outside our home and cool to see her share motherly-type love with her players. I knew I always wanted to coach and be connected to the sport and what better way than to coach on the same team as your mother.”

Olivia has a master’s degree in Communication Disorders and currently works as a speech-language pathologist for Waite Rehab and Wellness in Huntsville. Six years ago she began coaching with the North Alabama Christian Athletes (NACA) and was invited to be an assistant coach for the 2022 Mustangs.

“I think Olivia brings a dimension to the game from the youth aspect as she better understands what these players feel,” said Nikki. “She can put herself in place of a player during practices and her help makes me a better coach. She helps me broaden my coaching.”

The Mustangs are currently No. 5 among Class 5-A in the state high school rankings. Nikki was on the team at Madison Academy that advanced to the AHSAA State Tournament for the first time and she was the first volleyball player from the program to sign an athletic scholarship. Nikki was a four-year player and team captain at Freed-Hardeman University.

She began her coaching career in 2005 while living in Cincinnati, Ohio before making her way back to her alma mater in 2010. She’s currently in her fourth year as head coach after taking over the reins of the Mustangs in 2019. Away from duties at the private school, Nikki is a sales consultant for Mary Kay Cosmetics. She and her husband, Andrew, have three children. Olivia is 24, Sarah, 21, and Carson, 17.

“My mother understands the sport so well and we connect from that aspect,” said Olivia. “I love the fact how much she expects out of her players and how invested she is in coaching the players and it’s very cool to see her want her players to succeed. I want to continue coaching a long time.”

As is normal, a mother and daughter will butt heads and face conflict on occasions. Those disagreements do happen on the volleyball court, but both listen to one another and hold the opinion of each other in the highest regards as possible.

“We travel together during our volleyball schedule and Olivia is not afraid to voice her opinion,” said Nikki. “She also practices with our team as she’s on the court with the players and having that advantage is huge. She is an active coach.”

Olivia’s activity in volleyball nearly came to an end early in her life. Starting to play the sport while in the fifth grade she worked her way through travel teams. While on one of those teams in the eighth grade she began having a heart issue and doctors finally discovered she had an irregular heart rhythm that was addressed by undergoing surgery just after her junior season was completed. She was back on the court within weeks and continued to play through high school while under supervision of a cardiologist.

“Olivia will make a great head coach one day,” said Nikki.

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