Barbosa promoted to Polk State Volleyball Head Coach

Posted on by Polk Newsroom

After shining as a player and an assistant coach with the program, Dayanna Barbosa is now the face of Polk State Volleyball.

This month, Barbosa, 29, began her tenure as head coach. Barbosa spent the last four years as an assistant to the legendary German Del Valle.

“To be the head coach at Polk State means a lot,” she said. “This is the school that raised me. I care a lot about this college. I love everyone here.”

A native of Brazil, Barbosa played for the Eagles under Del Valle in 2014 and 2015. She helped Polk State reach the national NJCAA Tournament for the first time ever in 2014 before earning first-team All-Suncoast Conference and FCSAA All-Tournament Team honors as a sophomore in 2015.

“This is home to me,” Barbosa said. “As for the players, I have been in their shoes. I know how much I mean to them and the difference we can make as coaches. I want to be a good example and help them become the best athletes and best people they can be.”

Following a stellar career at Polk State, Barbosa would go on to conclude her collegiate career at Mars Hill University, an NCAA Division II program in North Carolina. Barbosa graduated with a bachelor’s degree in physical education before returning to Polk State to coach in 2019.

“Thinking back to when I was a player here, I never would have guessed that I’d one day be the head coach,” she reflected. “Once I got into coaching, this became my dream. I’m very excited and ready to move forward.”

During her time as an assistant, the Eagles made a pair of NJCAA Tournament appearances. In 2019, Polk State was briefly ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA Poll for the first time ever.

“I want to bring a national championship to Polk State,” Barbosa noted. “We’ve had great opportunities in the past. I feel like I’ve learned from the best. German prepared me to take the next step in my career. He made me a good coach, but he also made me a better person.”

Replacing her former coach and boss will be no small task. A five-time District Coach of the Year and the winningest coach in program history, Del Valle retired in January after 12 years with the program. He led Polk State to more than 200 wins, three conference championships, and seven appearances in the NJCAA Tournament.

“He was like a father to me,” Barbosa said. “We’ve had so many great players over the years, and I was just honored that he chose me to be part of his coaching staff. To have the opportunity to learn from him meant so much.”

In addition to winning on the court, Barbosa plans on keeping the program’s four core values intact: Trust, Love, Care, and Respect. With a largely international roster, Polk State has prided itself in bringing together players from across the globe and having them excel in the classroom and give back to the community.

“Our accomplishments are all about the culture that has been created here,” Barbosa added. “Talent matters, but keeping this culture is my biggest responsibility. If you have that, what happens on the court will take care of itself.”

The lone coach on staff since Del Valle’s retirement in January, Barbosa won’t have an issue with familiarity. She’s either coached or recruited each player on the current roster.

“Dayanna’s commitment to our student-athletes has been second to none,” said Stanley Cromartie, Polk State Director of Athletics. “Under her leadership, I expect our players to continue to excel on the court, in the classroom, and as representatives of Polk State College. She is incredibly deserving of this opportunity.”

Polk State finished with an 11-14 record last season and a fourth-place finish in the FCSAA Tournament. The Eagles will have to replace All-American middle blocker Kaila Ru but return a pair of All-Suncoast performers in outside hitter Carolina Guerreiro and libero Irene Mostardini.

“I’m excited about this roster,” Barbosa said. “We have seven talented sophomores coming back. I’m so honored that they decided to come back and play for me. We also have a solid group of incoming players. I feel like they’re excited, hungry, and ready to work.”