In honor of Valentine's Day this month, the Student-Athlete Alumni Spotlight will present profiles of couples made up of Belmont student-athletes. Our next profile is of Kayla and Jon House. Kayla was a force on the volleyball court for the Bruins, while Jon played a vital role for the men's basketball team.
Kayla (Albritton) House "11 was a member of the volleyball team from 2007-2011. During her four years at Belmont, she played in 430 sets, had 1031 career kills, and helped the program to 77 victories, 2 A-Sun titles, and one NCAA Tournament appearance. In addition, she earned All-South Region and All-Atlantic Sun honors, and was named to the A-Sun All-Academic team four times.
Jon House '11 was a tough, versatile player for the men's basketball team from 2007-11. Playing the frontcourt in a reserve role, Jon was the "glue guy" that made all of those around him better. He played in 133 games, posted 12 career double-figure scoring games, and helped the Bruins to earn 94 wins, two conference titles, and two NCAA Tournament appearances.
Why did you choose Belmont?
Kayla: Belmont caught my attention because Coach was open to me pursuing my Nursing Degree, which, believe it or not, wasn't the support I received from other schools and programs. Once I came on my official visit and met the team, I was sold. You could tell there was a special connection with the girls on the team, and luckily, that stayed true through my entire Belmont career and to this very day.
Jon: For me, Belmont checked all the boxes. 1) The business program was well respected. 2) The basketball program was nationally competitive and fit my style of play. 3) Nashville is a great city.
What is your fondest athletic memory at Belmont?
Kayla: I think it would have to be playing Notre Dame in the Reno Invitational my senior year. We ended up losing the match in 5, so may seem like an odd memory, but it was a competitive game against a respected team and I just remember feeling really proud about how far Belmont Volleyball had come and how our team preformed.
Jon: My senior year we finished with a record of 30-5. My fondest memory relates to the way we played basketball that entire year. Our team depth was incredible and every member of the team was completely selfless.
Who had the biggest influence on you during your athletic career at Belmont and how?
Kayla: Tony Howell, my assistant coach for my first three years at Belmont. He spent MANY hours in the gym doing individuals with me, breaking down everything in detail, challenged me and was always very patient with my overanalyzing (haha). Maybe even more importantly though, he just believed in me, supported me during the ups and downs of being a college athlete and we as a team just always knew he was there for us.
Jon: Jon Rice, my teammate and 4-year roommate at Belmont. Outside of my family, Jonny was my biggest supporter and is now a lifelong best friend.
What is the most valuable thing you gained or learned from your time at Belmont?
Kayla: The most valuable thing I gained from Belmont is hands down my teammates. We are still very close and I couldn't imagine life without them. Most valuable thing I learned is probably time management.
Jon: Although I may not have realized it while in the moment there are many parallels between athletics and business specifically. My time as a student athlete at Belmont has resulted in a significant bank of experiences that I now draw from regularly.
What advice would you give to current members of the volleyball team?
Kayla: Work hard and put in the time. But at the end of the day, just do your best, take the game point by point and enjoy the opportunity you've been given to play such competitive volleyball at the DI level. Cliché, but those four years will fly by.
Jon: Although the odd practice will feel long, 4 years will fly by. Be strategic in the way you approach school and your athletic training to get everything out of it that you can. You won't regret it.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
Kayla: My most memorable professor was Tim Ross. I was in his Third Year Writing course called something like "The Art of Seeing." (I can't remember or find the exact name) He turned what could have been a daunting and boring required course, into an intriguing, interactive class which allowed every student to share topics from their particular major, write their semester research paper related to a topic within their major and make it truly applicable to their education. I also had so many great nursing professors that I am so grateful for, Jane Shelby and Linda Wofford stand out. Jane Shelby was my nursing advisor and worked so diligently with me to create a schedule that integrated with my volleyball schedule as best we could.
Jon: Dr. José González. I took several classes with Dr. González for International Business and Entrepreneurship. His classes were very in line with my interests. His experience and insights were critical in preparing me to enter the B2B space.
Where do you live now?
We live in Guleph, Ontario, Canada.
What is your occupation?
Kayla: I am a Registered Nurse in the Cardiac Critical Care Unit at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.
Jon: I am Co-CEO for two companies; In-House Solutions Inc. and OCTOPUZ Inc.. Both companies provide software solutions for the manufacturing industry. In-House Solutions focuses on the CNC machining Market and OCTOPUZ focuses on the robotics market. As a CEO I believe the role is to; Build the team. Align the team. Empower the team.
Tell us about your family.
We were married in Kayla's hometown in Florida in October of 2016 and now have a one year old son, Jackson.
Tell us how you met your spouse at Belmont.
Kayla: We get asked this all the time, and the truth is, we don't have a special moment when we first met or remember when it first was, haha. We do have a picture of Jon photobombing a picture of my friends and I the first few weeks of our freshman year which is now pretty priceless. We were friends throughout our time at Belmont, but as fate would have it, we only started dating in the late spring of our senior year.
What dating advice would you give to Belmont student-athletes?
We would just say to enjoy this unique time in your life. Enjoy all the time you have to spend with your friends, competing at the DI level and taking in Nashville.