Brower’s powers: GVSU volleyball legend leaves lasting legacy

Staci Brower spiking the ball towards Michigan Techs blockers, Friday, Sept. 29, 2017.  GVL / Archive

Staci Brower spiking the ball towards Michigan Techs blockers, Friday, Sept. 29, 2017.  GVL / Archive

Jerod Fattal

In a player survey handed out before the season, GVSU volleyball head coach Deanne Scanlon asked her players who came to mind when they heard the words “respected, hardworking and great teammate.”

“(Staci Brower) was the first person who came to the forefront and that is a great way to gauge her character,” Scanlon said.

Brower recently finished up her career at Grand Valley State on Wednesday, Nov. 8 in a loss to the Michigan Tech Huskies in the GLIAC Tournament, serving as a bittersweet ending to what has been an illustrious career for the Lakers filled with a myriad of accomplishments.

What exactly does Brower have on her resume? How about a 2017 GLIAC South division title, two American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Region Honorable Mentions and a Division II Conference Commissioners Association (D2CCA) All-Midwest Region Second Team nomination as a sophomore?

“I think it shows a lot about the teammates I have had here,” Brower said. “Volleyball is not a single player sport. It takes an entire team.” 

Maybe the most impressive accolade is the four consecutive All-GLIAC First Team honors Brower has been awarded. She is the only player in the program’s 49 year history to do so.

“It’s a huge honor,” Brower said. “It makes me think back to all of the times I went to the gym when it was freezing out and how it was all worth it.”

Four years ago when Brower first stepped foot on campus as a Laker, Scanlon knew she was going to be special.

“I saw similarities to former talented middle blockers we had in the past like (2017 GVSU Hall of Fame Inductee) Sabrina Bird,” Scanlon said. “She just bloomed when she got to college.”

Brower’s volleyball talent has always been there, but her love for the sport was something that wouldn’t come until later. 

“I was planning on playing collegiate basketball my whole life, but I started having problems with my knees and couldn’t play anymore,” Brower said. “So in my sophomore year (of high school) I started giving volleyball my full attention and I fell in love with it.” 

That passion and love led Brower to a great career, but it couldn’t have been possible without her parents who rarely missed a game, even when the Lakers played in the Upper Peninsula.

In early November, Brower’s time wearing a Laker uniform drew to a close, and although Scanlon will miss her presence in the gym and on the team bus, where she said she has a laugh that echoes throughout that will leave you crying, Scanlon is more excited to see what she does next in her career.

Following her final year of schooling next year where she intends to graduate with a degree in recreational therapy, Brower is excited to focus on her career where she hopes to one day help others for the Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Center in Grand Rapids; a fitting career choice for someone Scanlon described as a “nurturing, caregiving person.”

Brower’s talent and character will surely be missed in the GVSU volleyball program, but she will not be forgotten any time soon as Scanlon believes her legacy will last long after she leaves campus.

“She will be someone that I am going to reference to the next generation (of players) when I start talking about former greats and what it takes to be successful.”