Casey Veen: From UST Volleyball All Star to Author
Who is Casey Veen?
Casey Veen '12 is a proud University of St. Thomas-Houston alumna athlete who has published a great book called "Dear Little Volleyball Girl." Casey, a respected high school coach at Barber Hill, was a multi-sport athlete for the Celts playing on the inaugural volleyball (2007) and women's golf (2012) teams. She graduated from St. Thomas as a history major, minoring in Irish Studies.
Veen's Athletic Accolades
Although she was a part of the UST golf team, Casey's passion was volleyball. This is where she received numerous accolades, including three-time first team all conference, all region team, and an All American honorable mention. For St. Thomas, she helped lead her team to three straight conference championships while in the Association for Independent Institutions in 2008, 2009 and 2010. During competition in the conference tournament, she was also named a two-time most valuable player, and in 2009 finished fourth in the entire NAIA for hitting efficiency.
Life after College Athletics
After graduation in 2012, former teammate and current UST head volleyball coach Keanne Burt directed Casey to Livingston High School. Though she was not drawn to be a classroom teacher, her passion for volleyball remained strong, and she was offered the head volleyball coach position shortly after applying. This is where her path as a head volleyball coach took off, as she led the team for two seasons. Then in 2014, she became the head coach at Houston Lamar, when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. This move allowed Casey to be closer to her mother—something very important to her. Later, another opportunity opened up, this time at Goose Creek Memorial High School in Baytown, TX. Casey spent five seasons here and loved every minute of it. However, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Barber's Hill High School Head Volleyball Coach opened, and Casey was the candidate they chose. She currently continues to coach at Barbers Hill, and heading into her 10th season as a coach, Casey has a stellar 256 wins under her belt, and her teams have reached the playoffs in every season. She also credits these accomplishments to the amazing athletes she has coached throughout her career, demonstrating all levels of skill.
The creation of "Dear Little Volleyball Girl"
Casey has always liked writing, but never realized how much she enjoyed it until recently. She and her husband welcomed their first son in 2017, and then twins in 2018. They would go out to eat and often hear, "I don't know how you two do it" or "I can only imagine the stories y'all must have." This is when she turned to writing, starting blog posts about motherhood and stories that happened to her in childhood. Part of that included celebrating that volleyball was in 21 years of her life. It is because of this that Casey wanted to write about how much the sport meant to her, and "Dear Little Volleyball Girl" was born. The book covers the journey of a youth to adult volleyball player and the feeling of loving the sport at different stages of life. After she posted it on Facebook, word got around fast and it was shared almost 26,000 times. Furthermore, during the pandemic, her husband encouraged her to turn it into a book, specifically for her kids to have. This was to be the "sole purpose," according to Casey. But after publishing, she received messages from parents and players all over the world, thanking her. They shared their feelings about volleyball and reconfirmed why she loves what she does.
Casey's Advice to Current UST Student Athletes
Casey's advice to current UST student athletes is "to make every moment count, and to love what you are doing." She came to this conclusion because while playing for St. Thomas, Casey gave everything she could and fell more in love with volleyball. Casey recognized all the responsibilities of being a student, athlete and person but still found the joy of volleyball in her life. "I wish athletes of all ages would go back to that naive, innocent little beginner and fall in love with their sport again and not make it out to be an obligation," she added. Casey also cites that UST helped to give her a voice and passion through storytelling. The memories Casey shared with her teammates are a large part of life, and she is grateful for her time here.
Where can you find Casey today?
Casey currently resides in Anahuac, Texas, with her husband Ben and three young children. You can find "Dear Little Volleyball Girl" today on Amazon!