Holly Pole
UF volleyball player Holly Pole is one of the few Fisher School students to ever be approved for a double major. Her work in the classroom and community were also recognized by the SEC.

Fisher student-athlete in select company

Holly Pole, a senior in the Fisher School of Accounting and libero on the University of Florida’s volleyball team, has had little trouble finding motivation to succeed on the volleyball court. Playing for one of the best teams in the nation, and pursuing a national championship have inspired her since joining the Gators four years ago.

Pole’s motivation to succeed in the classroom, however, may have been born in an even more competitive environment—at home. According to Holly, her older siblings, Jackie and John, both finished in the top four in their graduating class at Ocala’s Vanguard High School. Their academic success set a high standard for her to attain.

“Having my older siblings as my role models, and my parents making sure we perform well academically, it is a no-brainer that I’m always going to do my best in the classroom,” Pole said.

Like her siblings, Pole’s academic achievements are impressive. Fisher School Associate Director Dominique DeSantiago, who has been at Fisher for more than 20 years, said that Pole is “only one of a handful” of students to ever be approved for a double major because of the program’s rigorous nature—a fact Pole learned quickly.

“It was eye-opening, for sure,” said Pole, who is also pursuing a degree in Sport Management. “I had an idea of the amount of work that needed to be done to be successful, but it wasn’t until I got into [Financial Accounting and Reporting I and Business Processes and Accounting Information Systems] that I was shocked how much time I was spending at the library. All of my teammates were making fun of me because I was at the library all the time. And that’s pretty much all I was doing—practicing or studying.”

Pole didn’t use any fancy techniques to earn a command of accounting. It simply required time, effort and hard work.

“It took a lot of discipline; I didn’t always want to be studying,” said Pole, who has a 3.35 GPA and shared 2014 SEC Scholar of the Year honors in volleyball. “I wanted to hang out with my teammates. But once I got through that first semester, it got easier from there.”

“We get very few athletes in accounting,” said Fisher School lecturer Christopher Falk, one of Pole’s professors. “She’s done a great job, especially considering her athletic commitments.”

Pole ranks fourth in the SEC in aces per set (.31) and 10th in digs (3.33/s) entering tonight’s regional semifinal. Tim Casey/ UAA Communications

Pole ranks fourth in the SEC in aces per set (.31) and 10th in digs (3.33/s) entering tonight’s regional semifinal.
Tim Casey/ UAA Communications

Her discipline is also evident on the court. Pole, who leads the team in digs (353), plays a key role in UF’s intricate defensive system, devised by assistant coach David Boos. Pole said UF’s defensive scheme is entirely situational, and having every player work in unison is essential for success.

“I really pride myself on knowing our defensive system, and being able to help whether it’s a freshman or an upperclassman who might not understand it as well,” Pole said.

In addition to Pole’s academic and athletic achievements, she was recently recognized for her volunteer work. Pole was named to the 2014 SEC Community Service Team, recognizing her work with numerous groups including Girl’s Place, Inc., a Gainesville organization for local girls; Caleb’s Pitch, a program at UF Health where pediatric patients decorate canvases with paint-filled syringes; Baby Gator Field Day, a family-oriented event designed to stimulate active lifestyles among Gainesville’s youth; and Bread of the Mighty Food Bank, which provides food to non-profit programs for the needy. Pole has made a concerted effort to participate in community activities despite her hectic schedule.

“I have a unique platform here being a student-athlete at the University of Florida,” Pole said. “As a kid I always looked up to students like that. Having the opportunity where staff from the Office of Student Life will drive you to and from the place; it’s so easy to do. If I can make a difference in the life of an elementary school kid or a kid in the hospital by just taking 45 minutes of my day, why would I not do it?”

Pole is scheduled to complete her dual degree in Summer 2015, and hopes to work in sports administration at a Division I university. Until then, she’ll cherish every moment of the Gators’ run in the NCAA Tournament, which continues at 8 p.m. tonight against Illinois in the regional semifinals in Ames, Iowa.

“We talk about playing for more than yourself, playing for the people around you, playing for the coaches, playing for all the people in your life who helped you get to the point where you’re at,” Pole said. “We’re such a close team right now. Knocking off No. 3 Texas in their place in front of a sold-out crowd two weeks ago is such a huge confidence booster.”


  • Holly’s name derives from the fact that she was born on Christmas Eve.
  • In Holly’s four years of playing volleyball at UF, she said at least one of her parents has been at all but roughly four of her matches—home and away.
  • Holly’s older sister, Jackie (BSAc ’10, MAcc ’10), is a Fisher graduate, and brother, John (BA ’11), graduated from UF as well. Her younger sister, MaryEllen, plays volleyball at Rollins College.