To excel at anything in life, hard work and dedication to one’s craft are needed to reach the top and achieve one’s dream, including becoming a professional athlete. Be it the commitment to the hustle or respecting the process, one must be willing to go above and beyond the average person to be the best. For Utah Stinger’s setter, Leo Durkin, his grind in the gym and off the court has given him a fruitful career in the sport. Now committing to another season back home with the Stingers, the team is looking set to have their captain back on the court.
Coming to BYU as a walk-on, Leo found himself having to work up the ropes for a starting position as a redshirt in 2012. The endeavor took more than three years as well, as Leo left for two years to attend his mission in New York before starting his official freshman season in 2015. But rather than lose hope in those three years, Leo dug deep and gave the upperclassmen a run for their money at every chance he got. His wait was well worth it as he got to lead the cougars during an unprecedented period where he set some outstanding players such as Jake Langlois, Brenden Sanders, Gabi Garcia, and Ben Patch. Giving his all to the cause, Leo gave his all-stars every opportunity to score, which earned him three AVCA All-American Honorable Mentions. Without his precedent on the court, it is unlikely that the Cougars would have seen the same results. With Leo as the starting setter, BYU made it to three final four appearances and took home two NCAA Second place finishes.
“You’ve got to be willing to do it all and commit to doing the boring stuff in training. That hard work will make volleyball easier to enjoy later, even when you’re old and busted.” – Leo Durkin.
Since graduating, Leo has gone on to play a year in Germany with SVG Lüneburg, which has been a prosperous home for American players overseas for the last five years. https://svg-lueneburg.de/neuer-zuspieler-aus-den-usa/. Through BYU and SVG Lüneburg, Leo has also worked as a sales representative and manager for Aptive Environmental since 2015. To play collegiate sports, earn a postgraduate degree in Neuroscience, become a professional athlete in another country while working after hours is a real testament to Leo’s work ethic. Now settling down to work in Provo, Utah, and play for the Stingers, Leo lives a calmer life with even more time and energy to play the sport he loves. After being named the best setter of the 2020 NVA Championships, Leo is sure to have even more in-store and more to prove this season.
To find more information about the club and to get weekly media updates, fans can check out the team’s website (https://stingers.nvausa.com/) and follow their Instagram (@stingersnvausa) and Facebook page. Make sure to check out the NVA’s Youtube page to catch reruns of the Stingers 2020 Championship match and live-streamed coverage of the 2021 season, with the first matches starting soon on April 23rd-25th.