May 29, 2024

Kridakorn Provides for Future Falcon Family Members

By the time Dr. Kittilax “Apple” Kridakorn ’70 started at Montevallo (then Alabama College), people thought she’d already been a student beforehand because of how much time she spent on the bricks.

“My brother attended Montevallo before me,” Kridakorn said. “I spent so many weekends down there my senior year. Montevallo has always been my first love.”

Kridakorn, a Bangkok, Thailand, native who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, double majored in physical education and business administration. On campus, she was a cheerleader, a member of Gold Side and part of the first Phi Mu pledge class, known then as the Kappa Social Club. She also discovered a passion that would stick with her for decades to come and one day earn her national recognition — officiating volleyball.

“It’s funny, I started at the top,” she said. “There was no state competition for high school volleyball. But the state department was run by Dr. Mabel Robinson at the time, and she and Dr. Margaret Blalock (a former professor who established the women’s athletic program at UM) were good friends. Dr. Blalock agreed to host the state tournament in Myrick Gym, which was new at the time. Those that were taking the officiating class got to referee. So we refereed on a state level right off the bat, before I even graduated.”

Kridakorn, who went on to earn both a Master of Science in Health and Physical Education and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Auburn University, has accumulated 50 years of volleyball officiating experience, including 11 different collegiate conferences, conference tournaments for five different leagues and tournament or championship rounds in NCAA Division II and the NAIA.

“I think being around young people is what keeps you young,” she said. “And it’s gratifying to watch a child develop from this level of skill all the way to the end.”

Kridakorn started teaching and coaching volleyball in the Montgomery area while she pursued her master’s, starting at G.W. Carver High School. From there, her career took her through various teaching, coaching and administrative positions at Huntingdon College, the Montgomery Public School System and Montgomery Alternative School.

Though she retired from teaching in 1998, the Wetumpka resident still referees volleyball full-time. She has earned many accolades over the years and was inducted into the Alabama High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame in 2016. In 2019, she was inducted into the Montevallo Athletics Hall of Fame for meritorious service to the sport. Her brother was inducted in 2013 with the other members of the 1966 men’s tennis team.

“It was like, ‘Wow, two Kridakorns!’ It was very humbling,” she said. “You do what you do not because of what you think you’re going to get. The whole point is to help pass on what you’ve learned and what you’ve gotten out of that program.”

Kridakorn is a member of the UM Foundation Board and an 1896 Society and Red Brick Society level donor. She is in the process of funding the Kridakorn Family Endowed Scholarship and often gives to Carmichael Library and Montevallo Athletics. To her, giving back means that future generations will get to experience the sense of family that she came to appreciate during her time in college.

“The money can help more students at a smaller college,” Kridakorn said. “The size of Montevallo has not grown much beyond what it was when I was there. It’s kept that small college atmosphere that I love, and I think there are so many kids who would ben- efit from having that atmosphere and family.”