By Gio Gennero | Sports Writer
Back in January, Baylor volleyball head coach Ryan McGuyre brought in Yajaira Cadet to be an assistant coach for the team. Cadet played under McGuyre at California Baptist University and on the Dominican Republic national team. Recently she was a bilingual teacher and club volleyball coach of Excel Volleyball at Memorial Elementary School for four years. However, faith brought her to Waco.
“It is with incredible excitement, enthusiasm and rejoicing that we are able to announce Yajaira Cadet as our next assistant coach,” McGuyre said during his announcement. “I feel incredibly blessed that God has called such a passionate and skilled teacher to our program.”
Cadet said she has loved the time she has spent at Baylor and has embraced the environment from the beginning.
“It’s been an amazing fit from day one. It feels like a big family, even outside of the athletic world,” Cadet said. “I went to my first athletic department meeting of over 250 people. You see all these crazy people like football coaches and basketball coaches and the first thing we did was have a devotion and share our faith.”
For the two-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national champion, faith is the biggest factor in her life, and said she only lives according to God’s will. This came to be after her life was changed forever by God.
“For 23 years, I lived without faith and without hope,” Cadet said. “I was making my own choices, and my own choices took me down a wrong path. In July of 1999, God showed up in my life. I did not seek God, God came in and found me. He changed my heart and my mind in one week.”
While Cadet said nothing major happened in the moment that brought God into her life, she can still recall the exact date and time she felt his presence.
“Since Saturday, July 17, 1999 around 9 p.m., I haven’t been the same human being. I didn’t do that, I didn’t create that change,” Cadet said.
Before then, she said her motto was giving herself whatever she wished for, and she looked like a “cool girl” to people on the outside. However, she was not where she wanted to be mentally.
“A lot of people used to look at me as, ‘She’s so cool. She has this and she’s a good volleyball player,’” Cadet said. “On the inside, I was unhappy. I was dead inside and I wasn’t looking forward to the future. God decided to show up and changed me forever, he’s been directing every step of my life since.”
After graduating, she spent time coaching at the collegiate level before deciding she wanted to spend more time with her family. She spent 12 years as an elementary bilingual instructor while also coaching club volleyball teams from 10U to 17U. She said her teaching and club coaching experience is what really taught her to be a better coach.
“I had the opportunity to coach girls from first grade all the way to 18,” Cadet said. “That experience forced me to adapt to different ages, different personalities, which is what you do when you’re a teacher. Not every student is the same, not every child learns the same way or the same day. So we always have to be flexible in our jobs of teaching to our students’ style.”
McGuyre said Cadet’s teaching ability is a big reason he wanted her to join the coaching staff.
“As a teacher [and] coach, Yajaira is skilled in instruction, communication and motivation,” McGuyre said. “She recognizes and implements timeless principles into her life and others daily. I am confident she will be an immaculate servant and mentor to our student-athletes, both as competitors and women of character. Her strengths flourish on and off the court. Yajaira will add to an already servant-hearted staff and strengthen our ability to prepare champions for life.”
“This team that we have this year can easily finish higher in the NCAA Tournament than we did last year,” Cadet said. “I see a lot of potential in this team, they’re all so talented.”