Photos by Hillary Ehlen and Russell Hons
Faith Dooley is still writing her already legendary UND athletics resume.
Faith Dooley has accomplished everything a student-athlete can in her time at the University of North Dakota. Currently, she will go down as perhaps the greatest volleyball player in the school’s history. Yet, she was not satisfied, she wanted more. So, after her senior volleyball season last year, she decided to join the basketball team. Finishing out the season in 2018, Dooley has now had a full offseason with this Fighting Hawks basketball team and has seen herself improve on the floor dramatically.
One cannot begin to talk about Dooley without first mentioning her tremendous volleyball career for the Fighting Hawks. Dooley has the school’s record for blocks in a career, recorded well over 1,000 kills in her UND career and was named to the All-Big Sky team four times. Her individual accolades also include winning Big Sky Freshman of the Year in 2014 and winning the Big Sky Tournament MVP in her junior and senior seasons. Lastly, North Dakota won two Big Sky Conference championships and made consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances in 2016 and 2017.
That is really just the tip of the iceberg for Dooley as Yet, all of those distinctions and statistics are more than enough to classify her as one of the greats in UND athletics history. However, Dooley was not done yet, as she decided to lace it up for the Fighting Hawks on the hardwood after volleyball season concluded last year. Dooley was an all-state basketball player at Central Cass High School in her prep career.
Faith Dooley At A Glance
- School’s record holder for blocks in volleyball.
- Racked up over 1,000 kills in her volleyball career.
- Was second on the team with 17 blocked shots in only 22 games last season.
- Four-time All-Big Sky Conference volleyball player.
- Big Sky Freshman of the Year in volleyball in 2014
- Big Sky Tournament MVP in volleyball in her junior and senior seasons.
- Finished her prep career at Central Cass High School with 12 varsity letters.
Dooley appeared in 22 basketball games for the Fighting Hawks last season and started 10 of those games at the center position. In that small sample size, Dooley was able to block 17 shots, which was second best on the team. Given her prowess for blocking shots in volleyball, that impressive mark is not necessarily surprising. By year’s end, Dooley was averaging two points and three rebounds per game while shooting 40 percent from the field.
Coming to a new team and a new environment can prove challenging for any athlete. Dooley has long been heralded for her leadership abilities and it seems as though she fit right in with the team. However, she credits this past offseason as a big help to her progress on the floor and with her teammates.
“I just really worked a lot in the offseason getting to know all the girls a little bit better and how they respond to certain things. Something I’ve always kind of been good at is recognizing good chemistry and working to build that all the time,” Dooley said. “I got the other captains on board with me and we did a lot of stuff on growing as a team. That definitely helped me and engulfed me into the group and helped me grow. That really did help me get better quicker in the offseason. I definitely can see the game better now and make easier shots now.”
Now that she is a little more comfortable with the team and the coaching staff, Dooley is able to take a leadership role with this team. Ever since she set foot on campus in 2014, she has guided herself into a leadership position, whether that be in volleyball or basketball.
“I’m kind of the organizer and more of the vocal leader. I don’t like to lead alone, I kind of have the presence of a head leader, but I really like to delegate and give certain people other jobs,” she said. “It’s a lot of pressure on one person and I do believe that it takes more people to lead a group especially with our team who is so group-oriented. We definitely aren’t good by ourselves, so that’s a focus of ours.”
The latest adjustment Dooley has had to make is acclimating to play in a more physical Summit League. Even in her volleyball days, Dooley only knew the Big Sky, as last year was North Dakota’s final season in the conference. However, being from North Dakota, Dooley is excited to play teams that are familiar to her. In the end, she just sees it as another obstacle in the team’s way.
“It means a lot to me. We got a little bit of a taste for the Summit when we were in the Big Sky so those were always big games to us because they were around here and we want to be that team that stands out,” she said. “Since I’m from the south, I’ve always been a UND fan, before I even came here and I think that’s something that is very special to me. I take pride in making us look like we’re the best team in the Midwest.”
Everyone who follows UND athletics knows that Faith Dooley is already impressive. Her body of work as a Fighting Hawks athlete is really unparalleled in the vast scope of North Dakota athletics. The more remarkable thing is that she wants to keep building on an already dominant résumé. With her successful transition to basketball from volleyball, she has not only become one of the greatest athletes in UND history but arguably the best in school history. Given the athletic pedigree the University of North Dakota has, that’s beyond impressive.