Academy Graduate Joins Air Force Volleyball Team
May 1, 2001
KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. (AFPN) -- Gabrielle Reece, watch out - 2nd Lt. Summer Koons is after your job.
Koons, who just graduated from the basic communications officer course at Keesler Air Force Base, Miss., is a seasoned veteran at 23 when it comes to volleyball.
A native of Longview, Wash., Koons has been playing volleyball competitively for more than 13 years. She was recently selected for the Air Force volleyball team.
This is an accomplishment she has long prepared for.
Growing up, Koons was active and full of energy. She played basketball, but wanted to keep in shape during the fall. This, and a desire to be with her friends, got her involved in volleyball.
She continued playing volleyball through high school. Her senior year, the tall blonde teen-ager decided she wanted to attend the Air Force Academy. Because she did not have an appointment, she entered the academy's prep school and spent the next five years striving for her commission and playing and coaching volleyball.
Military life is new to Koons. The communications and operations officer is the first person in her family to serve in the military. She chose to attend the Air Force Academy and become an officer "because it was a challenge." During her free time at the academy, Koons continued her commitment to the game.
"We get three weeks off every summer at the academy," Koons said. "Every year, I requested the same three weeks (so I could) work at volleyball camps."
She also played on the academy's team the five years she was there because it was important to her and good experience.
"But ... it goes back to the fact that I want to know how to play so well that I can be a good coach," she said. "Coaching volleyball is the true love."
The 5-foot-9-inch Koons has several reasons she's so involved in the sport, but said the most important is children.
"I feel there are not a whole lot of good role models left in the world," she said. "To make a difference in a kid's life is important to me. Give them a better outlook than drugs and alcohol. Give them something to do and something they enjoy doing."
Koons believes on or off the court, she can make a difference. "You can be a good role model on the court too" she said. "You're not necessarily one-on-one with the kids, but they still look up to you. They can see the way you act on the court. They see your attitude, your sportsmanship and how important that is. Also, the better player you are and the better you are at your sport, the more likely your kids will look up to you."
Koons will train with the Air Force team in Hawaii through May 8. The next day, they compete in the Armed Forces championship through May 16.
With no break, training begins again May 17 in preparation for the U.S. national championships May 26 to 29 in Milwaukee.
From there, Koons travels to Malmstrom AFB, Mont., and goes back to work at
the 341st Space Wing.