Despite the name, sophomore Biz Tyson isn’t all business. The nickname, like her rare athletic ability, has been present since birth. She is the smile on the face of the Hurricanes, a role she enjoys growing with day by day.
As a Jacksonville native, Elizabeth Tyson started playing volleyball in high school. During that time she also played long hours on a club team, a place where college coaches often go to scope out prospective recruits. Tyson’s ability, coupled with her intense drive for success, was all Miami head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch needed to see.
“Biz is the type of person who wants to be a really great player,” said Welch. “She’s a gifted athlete…she probably doesn’t even know her full potential.”
Before Tyson’s star volleyball career began, she had been serving aces on the tennis court for eight years. Her mother, one of her greatest inspirations, was wary of Biz’s abrupt decision to pick up a new sport, but supported her all the way.
“She said ‘whatever makes you happy,'” Tyson recalled. “[My mother] is a great team parent, she’s always there to talk to…she helps me stay grounded.”
Family atmosphere is also an important component in the success of the Hurricanes as a whole. The close-knit atmosphere of teammates and coaches helped Tyson thrive and emerge from her shell to become a starter for the team.
“It’s a family, we can talk to anyone about anything,” said Tyson. “We’re lucky to have a small team and be able to remain close.”
In every family is a clown, and Biz is the one to bring the light-hearted, wry humor to the Hurricane table. She has a strong belief in keeping things in perspective, something her mother instilled in her.
“Joking around helps people calm down so they don’t take everything so seriously,” said Tyson.
According to Welch, however, she hasn’t always been that way.
“She started [joking and being visibly calm] especially for herself, because last year she took everything so hard and so seriously. This year she’s trying to move on and look at all the good things going on out on the court.”
Off the court, Biz is a run-of-the-mill 19 year-old. Shopping, watching sports, hanging out with friends, teammates, and her boyfriend tie for a close second behind eating, which she talks about with enthusiasm.
Tyson was not a starter until late in the season last year, but has remained in a starting outside hitter position through the entire 2002 season. She attributes keeping this promotion to the fact that she listened to the coaches and soaked up any advice they had. She is now one of the ‘Canes’ highest hitters.
“I love everything about our program,” said Tyson. “We’re doing a lot of things that I think people knew we could do, but they’re just really happy that we were able to do them this year.”
The resurrected program is slowly but surely gaining respect. With this respect comes high demand for success, and the 2002 team, 21-3 overall, has hardly let anyone down. Still, the pressure is ever-present.
“I look up to the coaches, they’ve been student athletes, and I say ‘they did it, so I can get myself to do it,'” said Tyson.
You can reach Melissa Teich at email@example.com.