Aug. 18, 2009
This weeks Great Example is men's volleyball opposite hitter Cullen Irons, for his dedication towards Gaucho Athletics on and off the court. Irons became infamous for his short, yet impressive, stint as co-host at the SB Awards with beloved mascot Olé. The two comedians announced the student-athlete chosen awards at the event and left the crowd in stitches of laughter.
Irons is commended by head volleyball coach Rick McLaughlin because "his loyalty to every Gaucho athlete in all sports is unmatched. He is constantly getting the rest of our team to attend other Gaucho athletic events and cheer them on." As the representative of the men's volleyball team on the Student-Athlete Advisory Board, Irons takes his duties as a leader in the Gaucho community to heart by supporting fellow athletes at competitions in signature blue and gold body paint.
"His hard work and determination everyday in practice and in the weight room have made him an outstanding starter for our team," McLaughlin stated. "His improvement has been off the charts, and when continued will make him one of the top players in the country." After completion of his Gaucho career in 2011 with a degree in Geography, Irons aspires to continue his career playing indoor volleyball in Europe.
Irons took some time to answer some questions about himself.
1. What is your favorite part about going to UCSB?
I love having the ability to step into my backyard after practice or class and know that I go to a school in the single greatest location on the planet. Nothing compares to UCSB!
2. What do you most enjoy most about playing volleyball for the Gauchos?
I love improving during every single practice. Not a single day goes by where I am not challenged by my coaches and teammates. Not to mention the friends I've made that I'll have for the rest of my life.
3. What are your aspirations after college?
I want to play professional indoor volleyball in Europe somewhere. When my career is over I would like to join my family in the land development and real estate business.
4. What do you like to do for your free time?
Napping is something that I can do any time, any place regardless of noise and light. I take pride in being a great daytime sleeper.
5. What has been your biggest accomplishment while playing here?
In our Gold Game against USC on April 1, 2009, I careered with 32 kills and 60 attempts. I was especially happy that my older brother was able to make this match. Unfortunately, we lost in a gut-wrenching 5 gamer.
6. If you could meet anyone dead or alive who would it be and why?
I'd like to meet Larry Bird. He was my inspiration as a young athlete. I had a tape that went over most of his career that I watched almost every day growing up. He had a great work ethic that I try to emulate today.
7. Do you have any pre-game rituals?
I tape my middle and ring fingers together on both hands and I do a horseshoe tape with my right thumb and index finger to prevent any dislocations.
8. Who is your biggest role model?
My dad plays a large part in my life. He tells me that he lives every day without stress and no matter what, he tries to stay happy. I like to think that I am like him in that respect. It makes life easy when you are always living positively.
9. What has been your favorite class at UCSB?
Geog 111A: Transportation Planning & Modeling. It gave me some insight into a potential field of work I could go into with my dad.
10. What is one thing about you most people don't know?
I can lick my own elbow.
11. What has been your biggest challenge in your collegiate career?
Finding a spot in the starting 6. Our team is full of very talented athletes. I competed daily and tried several positions before finally getting the right spot. I know that my position is never safe either, so I have to continue to push myself in practice and in the gym to continue developing as a player.
12. If you couldn't play volleyball, what other sport would you want to play?
Professional Bocce Ball or Horseshoes. I'm a natural lawn/backyard sports champion.
13. The one thing you could not live without is...
My sleep. If I don't get enough, I'm toast!
14. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?
Miyazaki, Japan. I want to visit my brother, his wife and kids. He lives on the beach in a very beautiful part of the world.
15. Is there any motto that you live by?
"Success is by design, not by chance."--Rudy Barajas, my high school club volleyball coach.
16. If you could only pick one I.V restaurant to eat at, which one would you pick?
The Cantina. Their sausage breakfast burritos are by far the best around!
17. In one word how would you describe UCSB volleyball?
18. What is the most embarrassing moment in your volleyball career?
There have been a few times before the refs blow the whistle and the gym is silent where I am shouting out the other team's attackers and my voice cracks BIG time. There is NO recovering from that.
19. What are your summer plans?
I'm currently working in the Rob Gym Weight Room, ICA Ticket Office, as well as other odd jobs to get a few bucks before going to Australia for 2 ½ weeks in September. Don't worry, I'll be back just in time for school to start.
20. What three adjectives would you hope people use to describe Cullen Irons?
Happy, smiley, dependable.