Cheers to the women of college men’s volleyball

Don’t look too much into the name NCAA men’s volleyball, because plenty of women have helped shaped and grown the sport.

In honor of International Women’s Day, here’s a brief look at just some of the many women who have provided contributions to college men’s volleyball in recent years.


Nickie Sanlin, McKendree — Sanlin is the only head coach in McKendree men’s volleyball program history. She guided the team to a sixth-place finish in the MIVA last season and an upset victory against Ball State in the MIVA Tournament quarterfinals for the Bearcats’ first postseason victory. In addition, McKendree is currently in sixth place in the MIVA and ranked No. 5 in the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Division II National Coaches Poll.

Janine Oman, Ohio State — Oman is in her first season as the chairperson of the NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball committee that determines the NCAA Tournament field. The Ohio State senior associate athletic director has served as the Midwest representative on the committee since 2015.

Andrea Becker, USA Volleyball — Becker, a sports psychologist, served as an assistant coach with head coach John Speraw at both UC Irvine and UCLA. In her inaugural season on Speraw’s coaching staff, UC Irvine won the 2013 NCAA championship. Becker also worked with U.S. Men’s National Team that won the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics.

Paula Smith, UC Irvine — Smith, the UC Irvine deputy athletic director, is in the final year of her three-year term as the West Coast representative on the NCAA men’s volleyball committee.

Kathy DeBoer, AVCA — DeBoer has served as the executive director of the AVCA since 2006.

Lori Okimura, USA Volleyball — Okimura serves as the USA Volleyball Chairperson of the Board.

Heather Vahjen, Erskine — Vahjen, the Erskine women’s volleyball head coach served, was the interim head coach for the men’s volleyball team last season. The Flying Fleet under Vahjen won their second Conference Carolinas championship in the last three years and advanced to the NCAA Tournament play-in match. Vahjen also became the first female head coach in the history of the Division I-II men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament.

Mary DeJute, Belmont Abbey — DeJute was the inaugural coach for the Belmont Abbey men’s volleyball program that started in 2013. DeJute in three seasons with the Crusaders guided the program to two Conference Carolinas Tournament appearances.

B.J. Evans, USA Volleyball — Evans is the communication manager for the U.S. Men’s National Team. She has served in this role during the last three Olympics, including when the United States won the gold medal in 2008 and the bronze medal in 2016.

Cindy Luis, Honolulu Star-Advertiser — Luis has covered Hawai’i men’s and women’s volleyball since 1981. She has served as the sports editor, assistant sports editor and columnist for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, which in recent years became the Star-Advertiser. In addition, Luis was the 2015 recipient of the E. Douglas Boyden Media Recognition Award and was a finalist for the AVCA Grant Bruger Media Award.

Anne Peterson, Associated Press — Peterson is a sports reporter for the Associated Press and has covered volleyball at multiple Olympics.

Janie McCauley, Associated Press — McCauley is a sports writer for the Associated Press and covered volleyball at the 2016 Olympics.

Carolyn O’Connell, Loyola — O’Connell served as the Midwest representative on the NCAA men’s volleyball committee from 2012-14. She also was a former senior associate athletics director at Loyola who helped the school earn the bid to host the 2014 NCAA Tournament.

Allison Stack, Coker — Stack served as the Coker head coach from 2014-15. Before her time at Coker, she spent seven years as the head coach at Baruch College, a NCAA Division III school

JP Dorn, Lindenwood — Dorn, a former All-American middle attacker at USC, has spent the last three years as an assistant coach with Lindenwood. She also was on the Cal Baptist coaching staff from 2004-06 and helped the Lancers win two NAIA national titles. Dorn was named the new Vanguard University women’s volleyball head coach on Tuesday.

Amber Schinzing, North Greenville — Schinzing is in her second season as a North Greenville assistant coach. The former club and high school coach in Florida helped the Crusaders earn a spot in the Conference Carolinas Tournament last season. The third-year program currently is in fifth place in the Conference Carolinas.

Jennifer Charles, Mount Olive — Charles along with being the head coach of the Mount Olive women’s volleyball team serves as an assistant coach for the Mount Olive men’s volleyball team. The Trojans are currently in first place in the Conference Carolinas and have already clinched a berth to the conference tournament.

Caitlin Bullock, King — Bullock is in her first year as an assistant coach with both the King men’s and women’s volleyball teams. She also served as a student assistant coach with Erskine men’s volleyball for three seasons and was a multiple all-conference selection for the Erskine women’s volleyball team. King at 15-2 has already matched its program’s single-season record for wins.

Shannon McDonald, Limestone — McDonald, a former all-conference selection at Anderson University, is an assistant coach for both the Limestone men’s and women’s volleyball teams. Limestone is currently in fourth place in the Conference Carolinas.

Chelsea Nitta, BYU — Nitta has served as the BYU volleyball statistical analyst since 2015 for both the school’s volleyball programs. She also was a BYU team manger from 2007-10.

Regina Verlengiere, Stanford — Verlengiere, an assistant athletics communications director, has been the sports information director for Stanford men’s volleyball since 2014. In addition, Verlengiere was the host media coordinator for the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

Sarah Otteman, Pepperdine — Otteman is in her second year as an assistant director of athletic communication and the sports information director for Pepperdine volleyball.

Stacey King, UC Irvine — King is an assistant athletic director for media relations and the sports information director for UC Irvine volleyball.

Lindy Zamora, Long Beach State — Zamora is an associate media relations director and the sports information director for the Long Beach State men’s volleyball team.

Arielle Sargent, Penn State — Sargent is an assistant director communications at Penn State and a former sports information director for the Penn State men’s volleyball team. She also helped serve as a media coordinator for the 2016 NCAA Tournament.

Kaitlyn Jasnica, The Herald-News — Jasnica is a sports reporter for The Herald-News who covers the Lewis men’s volleyball team. She also is a voting member of the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Media Poll.

Giana Han, The Daily Collegian — Han has covered Penn State men’s volleyball for The Daily Collegian and served as an Off the Block special contributor for the 2016 NCAA Tournament. She also is a voting member of the Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. National Media Poll.