By Avery Dugan
Many of you may know the name Missy (Aggert) Whittemore, a star volleyball player from Jacksonville, but where is she at now? She is on television. You can flip on your TV and most likely find her broadcasting on volleyball games on ESPN.
Whittemore started her volleyball career practicing with her sister, Jennifer (Aggert) Dugan in the driveway. They would spend hours upon hours hitting the ball back and forth or hitting the ball up on the roof. This is how the volleyball side of Whittemore all started.
Whittemore played her junior high years for Turner Jr. High (now Jacksonville Middle School), where she was always a standout player for the team. Coach Larry Samples, Jacksonville High School’s (JHS) head volleyball coach at the time, noticed the kind of player and ability Whittemore had. He started sending tapes out to colleges when she was only in eighth grade. Sample told The Jacksonville Journal-Courier, “She worked very hard to become an outstanding player. A lot of coaches saw her in different summer camps and the letters just kept coming in.” With all of these letters and praise, people began to expect things out of her, and she would not disappoint.
The Whittemore era at JHS would begin in 1988. Whittemore had one of the best careers anyone has ever had at JHS. She led the Crimsons to a 1989 class AA state championship. In her career she set records for career kills (903), career assists (1,075), career blocks (281), career hitting percentage (.388), single-season kills (274), and single-season hitting percentage (.486). Whittemore also won several awards including Volleyball Monthly Fab-50 team, a four-time member of The Champaign News-Gazette All-State team. She also led her team to three sweet-sixteen appearances as a Crimson.
When Whittemore started her college career under Mary Wise, The University of Florida’s head volleyball coach, in 1992 Whittemore was sitting the bench behind Heidi Anderson, one of the best setters to go through The University of Florida. Whittemore knew she would most likely be put into this situation and she was okay with sitting behind a great setter and learning from her. After Anderson graduated, the team was put into the hands of Whittemore. Whittemore stepped up to the plate and helped the Gators to a Final Four appearance as just a sophomore. In her sophomore season, she put her name into the record books with 1,527 assists, that put her at number five on the leaderboard in assists in a season. The following year Whittemore picked up where she left off, but this time with an inexperienced team after some injuries to some veteran players. Whittemore had to step up and be a leader. The team made the NCAA tournament but didn’t have much success in it. Whittemore finished the season with 1,579 assists, which got her up to number three on the assists in a season board and was good enough to be awarded a first-team All-SEC selection. Over the summer going into her senior season Whittemore was selected to 1994 United States Olympic Festival, where she was the starting setter for the North team. She helped lead her team to a gold medal. Going into her senior year, she knew what her role was going to be, splitting time with a junior setter, Nikki Shade. Whittemore had a good senior year, averaging 12.72 assists per game, that was good enough for her to be number two on the all-time leading assists list (4,474). Some of Whittemore’s best matches include an 81-assist match against Arkansas her junior season, a 73-assist match against Pacific in her junior season, and a 75-assist match against Nebraska her senior season. All three of these games were three of the most impressive games by any setter in Florida history as they all rank in the top five in this category.
After an incredible career as a volleyball player, we fast forward to 2002. In 2002 Whittemore started working for the Gator Radio Network, which is an affiliate of IMG Sports Network. This would be the start to Whittemore’s journey broadcasting college volleyball. In 2008 her radio career ended, when she moved to a bigger stage, television. Whittemore started her television career working for Fox Sports South and Comcast. About five years ago, ESPN brought in a new station called SECESPN, focusing on Southeastern Conference sports and that’s when Whittemore’s career on ESPN began. At the beginning of her career on ESPN she mainly did Florida volleyball games, but each year her schedule gets more of a variety of teams. If you tune into ESPN during the NCAA volleyball tournament there is a very good chance that you will see Whittemore calling the game. Her latest broadcast was December 8th, when she called the Elite Eight game between Illinois and Wisconsin. Whittemore is now one of the top volleyball broadcasters on the ESPN staff, and you can see her calling some very big games.