Like mother like daughter

By Becca Brado
Cindy Martensen (left) and Morgan Hooe (right) photographed in the Alaska Airlines Center.
Growing up competing in soccer, volleyball, softball and Alpine skiing, it’s safe to say that sports have played a major part in the life of Morgan Hooe, M.S. Physical Education ’19 (she spent a lot of time in gyms with her very athletic parents, so she didn’t really think she had a choice in the matter). During that time, Hooe learned valuable lessons from past coaches including how to be a good teammate and leader.

All that training helped Hooe become one of the best volleyball players in UAA history. Initially, she didn’t want to stay in Alaska to play volleyball, saying, “Coach Green was recruiting me as a defensive specialist, but according to him, I told him I would only go to UAA if I was a setter, and the rest is history.” Hooe competed in the 2016 national title match, led the Seawolves to conference and regional titles and earned All-American honors as a senior in 2019.

Over the past three years, Hooe served as head volleyball coach at Service High School in Anchorage, earning Cook Inlet Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2021 and 2022. This year, the outstanding alumna returned to Seawolf volleyball, but in a new role as assistant coach. Hooe had always wanted to come back to UAA to coach, so when head coach Stacie Meisner offered her the position, she immediately and without hesitation said yes, saying, “I felt I could really give back to the community that gave me everything with the education I received.”

Hooe’s favorite thing about coaching is the strategy behind it and the feeling when her athletes finally get it and it all comes together for them on the court. She says, “Watching them apply what I am teaching them and seeing them succeed is a great feeling.” Hooe takes after her mom Liz, according to her aunt Cyndi Martensen. Liz was an incredible athlete who excelled at every sport she played. She was a softball star who also enjoyed basketball and in 10th grade discovered volleyball. She met her husband Virgil playing softball and volleyball.

Together, Liz and Virgil Hooe helped grow the Midnight Sun Volleyball Club into what it is today: a family-owned and operated club with the goal of providing an exceptional volleyball experience to youth athletes in Alaska. Her community involvement meant that Liz was well known and liked. She coached volleyball at Service and Dimond high schools, impacting many young women. One of Liz’s favorite things to say was, “don’t forget to play.”

Liz Hooe passed away in 2012 at the age of 49 from ovarian cancer, but her legacy continues thanks to her family’s thoughtful establishment of a scholarship at UAA. The Liz Hooe Memorial Volleyball Scholarship provides financial assistance for tuition and other related educational expenses to qualifying UAA women’s volleyball athletes.

When she was a student at UAA, Hooe benefitted from scholarships like this one. She says, “I think without a scholarship I would have had a hard time being able to go to college without experiencing some sort of debt.” Her biggest hope for her mom’s scholarship is that it will help further the education of Alaska volleyball players.

Hooe has many fond memories of her mother coaching her and always being at her games when she was younger. Hooe also enjoyed watching her dad coach high school and club volleyball with her mom. She also learned from her mom to never give up and to always give her best.

These days, her coaching style is to motivate her girls to give their best even on days they feel they aren’t able to. Hooe says, “I want my players to remember me as someone who enhanced their love for the game of volleyball and taught them valuable lessons that they can use both on and off the court.”

Make a gift to the Liz Hooe Memorial Volleyball Scholarship