Digs Beach Volleyball: The Backyard That Became a Hub
Topo Frilot’s backyard was the spot to be if you were looking for a little beach volleyball near Covington, Louisiana. Which made it a bit of a problem if too many people were looking for beach volleyball near Covington, Louisiana.
Great as that backyard was, there was only one court.
“It was kind of imposing on he and his wife when a bunch of us wanted to play and kids were practicing,” Brandon Migliore said. “When we started doing a little bit of training, it started becoming just too much for one court.”
Migliore had always talked about starting up his own complex. There, in just that backyard, he had enough people who could benefit from one. And so it was that, in 2013, Frilot’s backyard evolved from a single, coveted court to a massive facility Migliore would name Digs, with six beach courts and two indoor courts, one of which is also an indoor sand court.
Migliore had his dream. Frilot reclaimed his backyard.
“It just kind of evolved out of necessity,” Migliore said. “There was no real formalized beach program. There’s beach complexes all over Louisiana but no real beach clubs.”
Louisiana is rich in its abundance of beach volleyball sites. There’s Coconut Beach, site of a number of AVP tournaments. There’s Mango’s, former home of the LSU Tigers. Then there’s LSU itself, which recently converted its tennis stadium into possibly the top beach home court in the country. There’s Oasis, out in Baton Rouge, and White Sands, right across the street from Coconut.
But, as Migliore mentioned, they’re just sites. Places to play. There were no programs in place to develop the burgeoning pipeline of beach talent coming out of the southeast. So Migliore took an initial, strong foundation of young players, developed them with the help of coaches Joey Keener, long one of the top open players in Louisiana, and Drew Hamilton, an assistant at LSU, and began to build something that, prior to Digs, was unprecedented in the area.
“We had a good group of girls to start with, and some of those girls have graduated and moved on but I still have a couple of them left,” Migliore said. “We’ve been able to form that beach club from just a solid foundation of kids and surround ourselves with good coaches.”
Now, Digs is home to roughly 60 athletes and another coach in Evan Cory, an opposite hitter at Lincoln Memorial who has a promising beach career ahead, should he choose to pursue it. Among their most elite players, 13 signed to compete in college, 11 of those being Division I and two at the NAIA level.
“The advanced girls all play open tournaments across New Orleans,” Migliore said. “A lot of times they’re winning.”
All of those aforementioned complexes are becoming beneficiaries of the talent Digs is developing. As are the schools seeking talent, which is being produced at an alarming level in the southeast.
“Complexes are starting to understand ‘Wow, look at what Digs is starting to build. We’re actually starting to reap the benefits from their labor, building these young ladies into open level athletes, collegiate level athletes,’” Migliore said.
Louisiana has come a long way from a single court in a backyard. It has become something of a beach volleyball magnet.
Migliore may not have initially intended to build all six courts right at the start, but it seems he was correct in his assessment of ‘Why not?’
The area has grown into it just fine.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE