Coach Spotlight: Lauren Baufield-Edwards


Photo by: Contributed Photo

Baufield-Edwards shares the excitement of her athletes and likes to invest in her community.

For head volleyball coach Lauren Baufield-Edwards, the path to coaching was never one she anticipated but it is one she has grown to treasure.

“Believe it or not, this gym rat never even thought about being a coach,” Baufield-Edwards said.

Originally from Minnesota, Baufield-Edwards played collegiate volleyball for the East Tennessee State University (ETSU) Buccaneers. While there, she received a bachelor’s in sport and leisure management and a master’s in kinesiology and sport studies. She initially had a job lined up after graduation, but her college coach called and asked her to be her graduate assistant.

“I had a job lined up with Northwestern Mutual to sell insurance, and the day I was supposed to start, my college coach called me and asked me to begin coaching as her GA,” Baufield-Edwards said. “Of course, I jumped at the opportunity to wear sweatpants every day but also the opportunity to impact young people’s lives.”

From her first visit to FMU, she knew that it was the place she wanted to be.

“I still remember the people I met on my interview day,” Baufield-Edwards said. “It’s those people and people in the Florence community that pulled me in.”

Since she took over as Head Coach in 2017, Baufield-Edwards has improved the record (win-loss ratio) each year. She is focused on making the small improvements that lead to greater development in the long run. She also wants to support the performance and achievements of her players off the court.

“I believe my greatest achievement thus far is seeing the developments in my players, specifically off the court,” Baufield-Edwards said. “We have created an environment where their academics takes precedent, and thinking about other people is their number one priority.”

However, while the off-the-court performance of the athletes is important to her, she still has big plans for the on-the-court performance.

“I would really love to achieve a conference championship and a place in the NCAA tournament,” Baufield-Edwards said.

Baufield-Edwards said her experience at FMU has been a great one. She loves how the school is a community and that academics are held in such high regard. She also appreciates the role the faculty and staff plays in the success of the students and athletes.

“I believe FMU is one of the most academically challenging universities around,” Baufield-Edwards said. “The faculty and staff continue to challenge our students to make sure they are prepared for their adult life after college. Although the faculty and staff challenge the students, they are also there to support and help our students too. I receive calls from professors on staff to complement our student-athletes while also asking if they are okay. I value those phone calls because it further proves how much they care.”

Florence has certainly treated Baufield-Edwards well in the four years since she moved here. She bought a house, bought a dog, found a husband, started a family and she found a great, small community of friends to spend time with that helps connect her more with the area.

With her friends and family giving her roots in Florence, she wanted to give back to the community. For the past two years, Baufield-Edwards has partnered with Grand Strand Juniors from Conway, S.C., and hosted club teams in Florence. The players coach the teams and she runs the program and holds clinics twice a week for kids who are not on a team.

“There is a great community of volleyball families that I have been fortunate enough to get to know and see their children grow up,” Baufield-Edwards said.

Now, with the growth of the local Florence volleyball scene, she has decided to start her own business to help cultivate the local volleyball community even more.

“I want to keep giving back to our volleyball community here in Florence and give these young men and women an opportunity to get better at the sport I love, and they love to do,” Baufield-Edwards said. “With my newly founded business, I want to offer volleyball training all year-round to those volleyballers and create competitive environments for them to be able to improve on their game.”