UT Women’s Volleyball Coach Creates Viral TikTok Content

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the March 29, 2022 flipbook.

Michelle Hunter, a 2021 alumna and music advertising graduate, currently serves as the UT women’s club volleyball coach. Since taking on the position eight months ago, Hunter leads weekly practices for her team of 20 and travels with them for tournaments in the spring. Since starting her TikTok account, @michelle.my.bellee, in March 2020, Hunter has made hundreds of videos focusing on both the men’s and women’s club volleyball teams, which have amassed over 200K followers and 7.5 million likes. 

The Daily Texan spoke with Hunter about her volleyball and TikTok journey. 

The Daily Texan: How did you get into volleyball and then, later on, club volleyball coaching?

Michelle Hunter: I’ve played volleyball since elementary school. After graduating, I wanted to stick with it since I played it my whole life. I was on the club team a bit throughout college. I showed up to their tryout to play (last year), and the president (and) vice president (of the team) came up to me and they’re like, “We actually are looking for another coach if you’d be interested.” I’ve worked with kids and played volleyball my whole life, so I thought I should combine it. 

DT: Why did you start making TikToks? 

MH: I started March 2020 so peak quarantine. That’s actually when I downloaded TikTok for the first time. I started binge-watching Haikyuu, which is a volleyball anime. That gave me an idea to make TikToks based off of the anime solely, not even real-life volleyball yet. As school started to reopen, and I was playing more (volleyball) with my friends, I liked connecting the volleyball show to my friends playing. That was my theme: real-life Haikyuu with my friends. 

DT: What kind of TikToks do you like making? 

MH: I do a lot of making fun of my friends and players when they mess up. I find it really funny. It shifted to — since I started coaching more — tournament and real-life practice content. People ask (me) how to serve, how to hit the basics of volleyball, so I try to answer those. When I go to tournaments, I try to film some of them, with the players’ consent, and then post the highlights. People tend to like that. It shifted from just for funsies with my friends to actual higher level volleyball and tips.

DT: Why do you like making volleyball TikTok content? 

MH: I’ve gotten a lot of comments saying, “I’m going to go to Texas now because they have a men’s (and) women’s club team,” (and), “Wow the volleyball looks so hype here. I’m gonna go to UT.” I think it has made people aware of UT’s volleyball program. I didn’t know this many people cared about volleyball, especially men’s volleyball because women’s tends to be more popular.

DT: Do you want to continue making volleyball TikToks in the future?

MH: I love coaching, so I’m gonna try to keep doing it as long as I live in Austin or even if I move. As long as I keep thinking of content to post, I’ll keep doing (TikTok) because it’s really fun. It’s a creative outlet. I’ve always loved video and photography. It’s fun to edit videos, and if I’m going to edit something, I might as well post it and let other people watch.