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April 18, 2024

  • Jeanette Winterson for “gAyPRIL”
    “gAyPRIL” (Gay-April) continues on Falcon Radio, sharing a playlist curated by the Queer Trans Student Union, sharing songs celebrating the LGBTQ+ experience. In similar vein, you will enjoy Jeanette Winterson’s books if you find yourself interested in LGBTQ+ voices and nonlinear narratives. As “dead week” is upon us, students, we can utilize resources such as Falcon […]
  • Poetics of April
    As we enter into the poetics of April, also known as national poetry month, here are four voices from well to lesser known. The Tradition – Jericho Brown Winner of the Pulitzer Prize, Brown visited the last American Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP 2024) conference, and I loved his speech and humor. Besides […]
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Tomic overcomes adversity: a sitdown with BGSU volleyball coach

Danijela Tomic
Danijela Tomic

Falcons volleyball head coach Danijela Tomic will start her sixth season coaching the team, although it has been a long and difficult road to get there.

Tomic grew up in Cataci, Bosnia, which was part of Yugoslavia at the time, and became interested in volleyball at an early age.

“I’ve been involved with volleyball my whole life,” Tomic said. “I think I started when I was nine or 10 years old, then I got serious about it at around 13 or 14 and started playing for club teams.”

Tomic moved to Croatia to start playing in the higher ranks of volleyball; this occurred, however, alongside the Croatian War of Independence in the early 1990s.

“I was fortunate that I played at a time that I studied,” Tomic said. “I changed from club to study physical education while I was in Croatia, but my parents and siblings were in Bosnia, and the war in Croatia broke out first. I was basically a four and a half hour drive from my hometown, but it was hard to communicate. They would see things on the news and on TV, so it was hard on my family… We have very tight family connections,” Tomic said. “I grew up around all of my grandparents and aunts, uncles — all of my immediate family was there. Unfortunately, with the war in the ‘90s, a lot of people immigrated to different countries in Europe.”

Despite all of the political struggles with the country, the team still was able to find ways to practice and compete.

“We were taken care of,” Tomic said. “The league in Croatia was cancelled, so every month or so we travelled to Russia and played informally and we competed in some European cups… It was good that we were involved in volleyball, I think it kept us more focused. We still had practices most of the time. There were a few days that our gym was not available because we had refugees that used it as a center. One of the cities in eastern Croatia was completely destroyed.”

However, Tomic feels that her volleyball career and her coaching style would have been very different without the situation in Croatia.

“I think it had a lot of impact on me and how I take life,” Tomic said. “It helped me learn that nothing is given and to live every moment you can, but I take it as: it was what it was, I have appreciation for many more things than I think I would have if I didn’t go through that experience, so I take it as a blessing.”

Tomic then decided to move to the United States to play at the collegiate level.

“In ’94 I got the opportunity to come to the United States,” Tomic said. “Bosnia is completely different than here… It’s about the size of West Virginia, and I’ve heard from people who have been to West Virginia that the mountains and the mining area (are similar to Bosnia).”

Tomic played for the Little Rock Trojans of the Sun Belt Conference from 1998 to 1999, winning the conference championship in ’99 defeating the team’s main rival, the Arkansas State Indians.

“They were like a dynasty at the time in the Sun Belt,” Tomic said. “It was the first time that Little Rock went to the NCAA tournament so I was a part of building that program, and I was fortunate enough to stay as a student assistant. I helped to recruit a lot of international players and we won three more championships while I was an assistant there, so I have great memories of Little Rock.”

After wrapping up her playing career, Tomic continued as a part of Little Rock as an assistant before becoming an assistant for the Louisiana State Tigers. She then moved on to the head coaching position for the Florida International Panthers. However, in 2011, Tomic got the offer to coach for the Falcons.

“Bowling Green recruited me pretty hard,” Tomic said. “I came to visit when the Stroh Center was only two years old and I thought, ‘Okay, I think I can recruit here’. It is a really nice facility and a great area geographically for volleyball, being in the Midwest; there’s a lot of good volleyball players in this area.”

Tomic feels that the team’s strong reputation will be incredibly helpful for the team going forward.

“I knew… being in an area to be able to recruit internationally was something that I needed to add to my toolbox as a coach,” Tomic said. “It was great for me and my development.”

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