Volleyball star left the net for the books

Briana Prevost

The psychology class at Delgado Community College is nervously waiting for the fateful moment when their teacher will walk in and hand them their exams.

Students are cramming like crazy when suddenly, their faces become alarmed and their attention is focused on the tall, slender woman who walks in the door with a reassuring look and a stack of papers. The mystery woman then addresses the anxious students with as much energy and enthusiasm as she once had on the volleyball court, smiles, and asks the class, “Y’all ready?”

Cristin Favre, the volleyball inductee in Loyola’s 2008 Hall of Fame, embraces her new life off the court and in front of the classroom.

“I love teaching,” Favre said, “specifically the subject that I’m most interested in, which is psychology.”

The ex-ballerina has played volleyball since she was seven years old, when she traded in her ballet shoes and tutus for knee pads and elbow protectors.

“I went home and said ‘I’m quitting ballet,’ And I went down to the playground and started to play (volleyball) in a league for my age group called Bounce Ball,” Favre said.

From then on, Favre, a Metairie native, played volleyball year round. She played in middle school at St. Louis King of France, and during the summers at Lakeshore Playground and for Cajunland Volleyball Club. Favre then played the position of outside hitter in high school at Dominican and reclaimed her position for the ‘Pack from 1995-1998.

“I played for as long as my career would allow me to,” Favre said. Favre was known by both her teammates and her coaches, Debbie Surgi and Greg Costello, as the player you could always count on to play any position on the court.

“She was excellent,” said friend and former teammate Jenny Leier, who was inducted into Loyola’s 2007 Hall of Fame. “She was the best outside hitter and was a quiet leader. She was a leader when she needed to be and she did it her own way.”

Apparently, Favre’s quiet sneak attack worked. She was named to the All-Tournament Teams at the Rhodes International and UNO Fireball Classic. And by the end of her senior year, Favre held Loyola career records in kills (1325), attacks (3954) and digs (1273). And even though these records have since been broken, Favre still holds the record for matches and games played (119/421).

However, kicking butt on the court left very little time for extra-curricular activities – except drinking. “I was very nerdy and I had to make A’s, so I was always studying. Volleyball was pretty time consuming. I called my volleyball members my sorority sisters even though I wasn’t in a sorority. So, really it was school, volleyball, and drinking,” Favre said with a laugh.

But since graduating from Loyola in 1999 with a B.A. in psychology, Favre has put sports on the back burner and focused on graduate school.

“I miss playing volleyball a lot, but the opportunity just isn’t there for me to fit it in my schedule,” Favre said. “I do still run and work out for exercise.”

Favre has been a student for most of her life. She taught high school at her alma mater for a year right after graduation and left to attend graduate school at The California School of Professional Psychology. However, she missed her family and friends so much that she returned and taught middle school math at her other alma mater, St. Louis King of France.

She later realized that she wanted to finish her master’s degree in forensic psychology in New York. Upon receiving her degree, Favre moved back home after she got engaged and took the position as an associate psychologist at a medical center in Hammond.

Favre felt “totally out of her element” and hated the commute from Hammond, so she decided to give teaching another try.

Now Favre teaches physical science at Hahnville High School and psychology as an adjunct professor to an “eclectic mix” of students at Delgado, which includes recent high school grads to 70-year-olds looking to learn some new tricks.

“It’s extremely different teaching high school because it’s more classroom management and less teaching and with college, it’s more teaching and less classroom management,” Favre said. “But I still love it either way.”

And while Favre would like to become a full-time professor at Delgado one day, teaching, like volleyball, takes up most of her free time. However, Favre’s energy and determination have gotten her exactly what she wanted in life: a successful career, a loving husband and lifelong friends whom she met on the courts all those years ago.

“There’s no doubt that I met one of my best friends in college,” Leier said. “We’re the same as far as personality and we just clicked. We’ve been great friends ever since, and I can’t imagine never having her in my life.”

Briana Prevost can be reached at [email protected]