High Performance coaches are leaders of today coaching leaders of tomorrow

Jan. 10, 2014, 12:30 p.m. (ET)

Indoor High Performance coaches Shelton Collier of Wingate University and Heather Roberts of Colorado School of Mines were named the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) DII National Coach and Assistant Coach of the Year, respectively.

Both coaches have extensive experience coaching at multiple levels, which allows them to bring well-rounded leadership to athletes every year.

Collier has had a lengthy career with USA Volleyball, starting as an assistant coach with the National Team in 1988. In the 2002-2003 and 2006-2007 seasons, he was the Head Coach of the U.S. Girls’ Youth National Team as well as working as Head Coach of the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team in 2004 and 2005.  His stint with the Youth Teams earned him first-place finishes at the U18 NORCECA Continental Championship in 2002 and 2006 as well as a then-record-high fourth-place finish at the 2003 FIVB U18 World Championship and a 10th place finish in 2007.  With the Junior National Team, Shelton earned another first-place title at the 2004 U20 NORCECA Championship followed by an 11th place tie at the 2005 World Championship. 

Shelton has also served as the Head Coach of the USA Youth A1 National Training Team Program (formally A2).  Since 2007, he has trained the top 33 athletes in the country in the youth age group who did not make the U.S. Youth National Team that year.   The program, held at the U.S. High Performance Championships at different locations across the country annually, is an integral piece of the High Performance athlete pipeline as many athletes progress from that program to make a U.S. Youth or Junior National Team in the following years.

Roberts has worked with USAV as an enthusiastic court coach and evaluator at a number of HP tryouts across the country in 2012 and 2013.  She served as an assistant coach at the USA Girls’ Youth Training Camp in 2012 and earned a position to coach at the USA National A2 Invitational Team Program in 2013. The enthusiasm that Heather brings to a training court is second-to-none.

“Shelton Collier has been one of a handful of coaches that have been a true leader in the shaping of the USA Volleyball High Performance program,” said Tom Pingel, the senior director of High Performance. “Shelton’s being named the AVCA Division II Coach of the Year should not come as a surprise as he has proven that he is one of the most adaptive coaches in the country.  Regardless of the age group, the ability level, or the obstacles that may be in his way, Shelton Collier will always maximize the team he is coaching.”

Not only does USAV High Performance serve as a pipeline for HP athletes, but coaches go through the same cycle of evaluation, placement into programs, training and re-evaluation as the athletes.  The USA Volleyball High Performance Coaches' Pipeline is comprised of highly motivated volleyball coaches who are committed to helping USA Volleyball identify and develop the USA Olympians of the future.  Coaches are trained in the U.S. National Teams' skill and system model, coach USAV HP's training and competition programs and enjoy a nationwide network of some of the top volleyball coaches in the USA.

The ability for USA Volleyball to attract leadership, experience, knowledge and tenacity in its coaches is an essential component to why our HP teams and athletes succeed at the highest levels.

“The USA Volleyball High Performance Program owes its success to the motivated coaches who volunteer so much of their time at HP Tryouts and who could dedicate their summers to working with the Olympians of the future in our HP Programs,” Denise Sheldon, manager of Indoor High Performance, said. 

“The very best volleyball players in the country train with USA each summer and their ability to grow as athletes and learn the USA National Team systems is incumbent upon HP’s ability to identify, train, and contracts with the highest level coaches our country has to offer.  Shelton is an incredible example of one of the nation’s best coaches working tirelessly to ensure that the best of the best are trained in the USA way as they prepare to someday represent our country on the medal stand.” 

As the head coach at Wingate University, Collier saw a successful 2013 season with his program’s eighth-consecutive Southern Atlantic Conference (SAC) regular season and tournament titles. Earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA DII tournament, Collier coached his team to the quarterfinals in his ninth-straight postseason berth, capping the season off with a 32-3 record.

Collier, the seven-time SAC coach of the year, ranks seventh amongst all current NCAA coaches at every level in career wins.

Last season Roberts was named an AVCA Thirty Under 30 Award recipient, something the up-and-comer donned after helping the Colorado School of Mines to a program-best No. 11 national ranking and RMAC Championship. This year was no less spectacular for the six-year CSM veteran assistant. With six true freshmen on the roster, CSM went 25-7, had a 15-match win streak and has been in the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll every week in the past two seasons.