If someone were ever to make the “Idris Idris Story,” it probably would look a lot like “Rudy.” The story of the diminutive walk-on football player who earned his way onto the varsity squad at Notre Dame and even managed to get into a regular-season game to cap his Hollywood-story career.
Idris is a lot like Rudy. What he lacks in size he makes up for with heart. Just look at what he helped accomplish the past two seasons at John F. Kennedy Campus.
He guided the Knights boys soccer team to a combined 13-4-3 regular-season record the past two years, seasons that came with back-to-back playoff berths. And as part of the gymnastics team, he was a key contributor to the Knights winning its first Public School Athletic League city championship since 2011.
But it’s volleyball that was Idris’ passion, and he takes great pride in returning the Kennedy program from a PSAL doormat to a major player the past two seasons. He helped turn around a program that went 0-10 to one with consecutive 6-4 records and a PSAL playoff appearance each season.
Not bad for a guy who stands all of 5 feet, 6 inches tall.
“I was talented in soccer, and gymnastics was something I didn’t really like at first because I wasn’t that good,” Idris said. “But this past year I improved a lot and I started to like it a lot more. But volleyball was definitely my favorite.”
Idris thoroughly enjoyed the championship ride the Kennedy boys gymnastics team went on this year. “It felt really good to win that for the school.”
But resurrecting a moribund volleyball program that was once languishing in laughing-stock status in the PSAL, that was an accomplishment Idris deems his greatest.
“Volleyball was just something that I clicked with,” Idris said. “In my first year, I think we kind of surprised people because we got third place in the Bronx (A Division), which was not bad. We went from an 0-10 team to a 6-4 team and into the playoffs each of the last two years. So I think that was really a great accomplishment.”
But last week Idris officially closed the Kennedy chapter of his life by graduating with a ceremony on the campus of the College of Mount Saint Vincent. A lot of memories came flooding back to him that day.
“It was very emotional,” Idris said. “There was both happiness and sadness. But my friends that I do want to see, I’ll still see them. I just hope some of the (friendships) don’t fall off over time. But my four years all went by super fast. I can remember walking into school on my first day in freshman year. Now it’s over.”
Idris now prepares for the next chapter in his life — college — where he’ll attend SUNY Purchase. And yes, his love of volleyball will be coming along for the ride.
“I spoke to the coach there and it went really well,” Idris said. “He said he’s really looking forward to seeing me.”
And while Idris plans on having success at Purchase, a Division III school where he plans to major in biochemistry, he hopes he can eventually make his way into a Division I school to compete against the very best college volleyball has to offer.
“Volleyball is a height game,” Idris said. “But I play a defensive position that really doesn’t require height. But when you go to higher levels, there are nobody 5-feet-6 playing Division I college volleyball. They’re all like 6-foot-1 or 6-foot-2.
“A lot of people said my height is against me, but I’m not going to take it. I at least want to try to play Division I at some point. I’m 5-foot-6, and to me, height really doesn’t matter.”
Just another challenge Idris plans to meet head on.
“I play libero, which is a defensive specialist,” Idris said. “I spoke to some coaches and the way they put it to me was like this, ‘OK, you’re a college coach and you have to pick between two players. One is 5-(foot)-6, and is really good at passing. Or would you rather have an outside player who is 6-(foot)-1 that you can train to be a libero?’
“I get it. But I’m going to see how things go (at Purchase). If I play my A-1 game, which I think I can, we’ll see what happens.”
Never bet against Idris Idris. All he’s ever been is a winner.