Fox Juggles Volleyball, School and Motherhood

Posted by Janae Melvin on October 15, 2015 in Braves, Ottawa, Volleyball Junior Janaya Fox is busy. Like most of her fellow student-athletes at Ottawa University, she is juggling school, practices and games each day while working towards her degree in physical education. A typical day for Fox begins at 7 a.m. and ends when she returns home in the evenings and straight into the outstretched arms of her two year-old daughter, Kyla.

A member of the women’s volleyball team, Fox knows her experiences as a college athlete are different than most with the added responsibility of parenthood. But thanks to the support of her mom, coaches, teammates and friends, she is enjoying a successful start to her junior campaign. In fact, Fox has already been named KCAC Hitter of the Week twice for the weeks of August 31 and September 21, and earned MVP honors at the Missouri Valley College Invitation Tournament.    

“The season is going really well so far,” Fox said. “We’ve had the best start in years and we expect to go really far, if not all the way. We’re early in the season so we still have plenty to work on but I’m excited about what we can accomplish this year.”

This is Fox’s first season with the Braves after redshirting during the 2014 season. A transfer from Southwestern Community College, Fox followed head coach Melissa Blessington from SWCC to Ottawa after she accepted the head coaching position. While Blessington was the selling point for her transfer, once she stepped foot on campus she knew Ottawa was where she was meant to be.

“After I got here, everyone was so helpful and nice,” Fox said. “They want you to graduate. They want to see you succeed. Ottawa really helps you and the university is a close-knit community. I’ve even received kudos from the provost for my success in athletics, which I’ve never experienced before. The faculty, staff and administration are keeping tabs on you and your success as an athlete and it’s a great feeling.

Kyla is the driving force behind most of Fox’s determination and hard work. While Fox wants to provide for her daughter she also wants to be her role model and show her how successful a person can be if they don’t quit. When thinking about her own future, the example she sets for Kyla is most important.

“Growing up, I was always taught that school was important and I want Kyla to know that too,” Fox said. “PE was my favorite subject in school and I want kids to be more engaged in physical activities. I know Kyla is going to be very active and I won’t be surprised if PE is her favorite subject too. I feel like I can teach students and get the message across about how important it is to be active and keep moving.”

While being a full-time mother, full-time student and full-time athlete hasn’t always been easy, she is grateful for the support system that OU has provided since she enrolled.

“My mom moved to Ottawa with me to help with Kyla,” she said.  “A lot of parents don’t have the kind of help and support that I receive. Everyone here is very understanding to my situation. If I’m a little tired because I was up until 3 a.m. with my child they understand. Especially since it’s not something a lot of college students go through.” 

Fox is looking forward to beginning her teaching practicums soon and knows that being at OU will allow her to do complete her classroom observations somewhere close to home, making it easier for her to get back to those outstretched arms each night.