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  • Ian Brooking

Digging deep with Leah Hardeman

On Oct. 13, senior outside hitter Leah Hardeman recorded 30 kills in a match win over App State, climbing her way into second all-time in career kills in Coastal Carolina history. However, as a student athlete, Hardeman wants students to know that she is just like anyone else. Hardeman opened up about what she likes to do in her free time. “I have a dog, so I like to take him out for walks,” said Hardeman. “He doesn’t get to go out as much because I don’t have a lot of free time, so when I do take him out, we play and walk for a really long time. I sometimes do arts and crafts with my boyfriend or watch movies. I typically try to do something that isn’t related to school or volleyball because those are the two things I am always doing.” Hardeman also likes to cook and try new recipes. Hardeman was originally going to attend Auburn University, as current Coastal Carolina Volleyball coach Jozsef Forman was coaching at Auburn at the time. But, when he came Coastal, Hardeman followed. In years past, as well as this season, the roster for the women’s volleyball team has several international players. Hardeman talked about what it is like to have so many different cultures on the team. “Our coach definitely tries to give us a little insight of his Hungarian culture,” said Hardeman. “We were at his house the other day, and we had goulash. Our teammates would bring over chocolates or make crepes and some will wear traditional clothing. They won’t force it on you, but they’ll definitely answer any questions we have about their cultures and express and explain them to us as best as they can.” Hardeman is an exercise and sports science major and hopes to eventually get her Master’s. “Right now, I am thinking about going for something in physical therapy,” said Hardeman. “I am also thinking about becoming a physician assistant.” Hardeman, the 2017 Sun Belt Conference Preseason Player of the Year, is one of the most decorated athletes in Coastal Carolina history. She has won Player of the Year three straight years and Freshman of the Year. She also has been given 12 weekly conference awards. With all the accolades, Hardeman doesn’t pay much attention to them, but they are important to her. “Beating a record of mine that I had previously set is not a huge goal for me,” said Hardeman. “My goal is make myself better. Beating myself is a challenge. The records and the awards are nice, but the thing I like strive for is a record or award that I have never gotten before. It is definitely rewarding because my mom brings them up to me, and I play for mom. So, when she brings them up, it is very reassuring and more cool.” As a student-athlete, Hardeman does think that the life she has chosen is tough and challenging, but she wouldn’t change it for anything. “I have no regrets on becoming a student-athlete,” said Hardeman. “While I have lost some friends along the way because my schedule was too much and I missed out on signing up for some interesting clubs, there is still time here at Coastal, and I have made several friends through the athletic department here and at other schools.”

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