Legends of Coaching Leading U.S. Women's A2 Program Staff

June 26, 2013, 7:24 p.m. (ET)

by Deb Stadick for USA Volleyball

Click here to read Kaitlyn Leary’s blog.

Click here to read Hannah Johnson’s blog.

DALLAS (June 26, 2013) — The 47 college athletes participating in the 2013 U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team A2 (WNTA2) program will spend the next nine days training with four of the most renowned and influential volleyball coaches of our generation.

WNTA2 Head Coaches Andy Banachowski, Mike Hebert, Ruth Nelson and Bill Neville have a combined 167 years of volleyball experience and 3,701 career wins. They are leading the nine-day program being held June 25 to July 4 at the University of Texas-Dallas and the Dallas Convention Center in conjunction with the USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships.

Tom Pingel, senior director of events at USA Volleyball, is excited about the WNTA2 coaching staff and the influence they will have on the athletes.

“These are four highly decorated and experienced coaches,” Pingel said. “They are a major part of the history of volleyball over the past 20-30 years.”

Banachowski, a two-time All-American at UCLA, started coaching immediately after graduation and took over the program two seasons later. He tallied 1,106 career wins during his 43-year tenure at UCLA, making him the winningest coach in NCAA Division I history.

Banachowski also has extensive experience in the USA gym having served as a coach and advisor for the U.S. Women’s National Teams and head coach of the U.S. Women’s Junior National Volleyball Team.

Banachowski led the first training session, and Purdue University’s Carly Cramer (Martinsville, Ind.) felt his coaching style and finesse quickly caught the players up to speed on the USA system of training.

“Due to the short window of opportunity to learn, coach Banachowski has done an excellent job simplifying the drills and fundamentals of USA Volleyball,” Cramer said. “It’s evident how successful he wants us all to be, and I’ve had the honor to see first-hand why he is such an acknowledge coach.”

Banachowski isn’t the only coach in the gym who knows his stuff.

Hebert started his college coaching career in 1976 with Pittsburgh and remained on the college scene until retiring from the University of Minnesota in 2010. He is the only coach in Big 10 history to make NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship semifinal appearances with two different universities, taking the University of Illinois in 1987 and 1988 and the University of Minnesota in 2003, 2004 and 2009.

Hebert has international experience from his time with USA Volleyball and coached with the U.S. Women’s National Volleyball Team on multiple occasions. His expertise and stressing work ethic are already rubbing off on UCLA’s Maddy Klineman (Manhattan Beach, Calif.).

“We’re not very far into training, but I can already tell Mike emphasizes work ethic and urges us to push to improve ourselves,” Klineman said. “I’ve already seen improvement in both myself and those around me from his feedback. I am excited to have this opportunity to be coached by this accomplished staff.”

Hebert’s stress on work ethic and effort were highlighted during the first training session when he asked one of the athletes if she would pursue a ball even if it was two feet in the air and heading for the hallway. Without missing a beat, she replied that she would, immediately earning Hebert’s nod of approval.

“The second you start making decisions on defense, you aren’t being a defensive player,” Hebert said. “It is all about effort.”

While Hebert spent the majority of his career on the college scene, Neville made a name for himself in the USA gym. He coached three Olympic Games, and was an assistant coach on the U.S. Men’s National Team squad that claimed Olympic gold in 1984.

Neville was one of the minds that developed the two-man serve-receive system, and is generally credited with developing the wash-drill concept.

His jam-packed career evidences his dedication to make the most of every moment, something he reminded players to do at their first training session.

“Time’s gone,” Neville said. “You can’t get it back. Make yourself the best you can with this time here. If you have a dream, pursue it. We’ll help you.”

Neville is already helping Loyola Marymount University’s Litara Keil (Long Beach, Calif.) improve and push herself at the WNTA2 program.

“Training under coach Bill not only pushes me to the limit, but also reminds me to never be outworked by my opponent,” Keil said. “That’s especially key in crucial moments.”

Like Hebert, Nelson was a staple on the college coaching scene for 43 years and trained volleyball icons like Flo Hyman and Rita Crocket. She was on staff with the U.S. Women’s National Teams over the years, participating in four Olympic Games.

Nelson was named to USA Volleyball’s “All-Time Greats of Women’s Volleyball” list in 2007.

Her advice to players touched on motivation, something she has successfully been doing her whole career.

“I’ve had the privilege of coaching four Olympics,” Nelson said. “I’ve only met one self-motivated player. Don’t feel bad if you can’t always motivate yourself. Take off the breaks and be the best you can be, depending on those around you for help.”

University of Colorado’s Taylor Simpson (Colorado Springs, Colo.) said that Nelson has helped her succeed at the camp in a number of ways on and off the court.

“It has been a great experience training under Ruth so far,” Simpson said. “She knows a ton about volleyball, and it is cool to be able to play under someone who has so much experience. She is also very nurturing and caring, which is nice so that we kind of have a motherly figure while we are away from home.”

As the athletes continue in their training block over the next nine days, they will continually work hard and motivate each other as they strive to make the most of this incredible opportunity to learn from legends.

Name (Position, School, Hometown, 2013 College Eligibility Remaining)
Carly Cramer (L/DS, Purdue University, Martinsville, Ind., 1)
Kristen Hahn (L/DS, Iowa State University, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1)
Annemarie Hickey (L/DS, University of Wisconsin, Oswego, Ill., 1)
Veronica Lewis (L/DS, University of Arizona, San Jose, Calif., 2)
Kori Moster (L/DS, Michigan State University, Cincinnati, Ohio, 2)
Ellen Mullins (L/DS, University of Tennessee, Nashville, Tenn., 1)
Caitlin Welch (L/DS, University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky., 1)

Middle Blockers
Name (Position, School, Hometown, 2013 College Eligibility Remaining)
Simone Antwi (MB, University of Florida, Fairfax Station, Va., 3)
Adreene Elliott (MB, University of Maryland, Winston-Salem, N.C., 2)
Casey Hinger (MB, Cal State Northridge, Fullerton, Calif., 2)
Kierra Jones (MB, Purdue University, Fishers, Ind., 2)
Litara Keil (MB, Loyola Marymount University, Long Beach, Calif., 2)
Kathryn LeCheminant (MB, Brigham Young University, Layton, Utah, 1)
Alexis Mathews (MB, Michigan State University, Detroit, Mich., 1)
Brooke Mattingly (MB, University of Louisville, St. Henry, Ohio, 1)
Zoe Nightingale (MB, UCLA, Sacramento, Calif., 2)
DeLaina Sarden (MB, University of Central Florida, Lawrenceville, Ga., 2)
Ariana Williams (MB, University of Oregon, Riverside, Calif., 1)
Courtney Windham (MB, University of North Texas, Houston, Texas, 1)

Outside Hitters
Name (Position, School, Hometown, 2013 College Eligibility Remaining)
Ellen Chapman (OH, University of Wisconsin, Glenview, Ill., 2)
Kimberly Dahl (OH, Brigham Young University, Pleasant Grove, Utah, 3)
Victoria Hurtt (OH, Iowa State University, Kansas City, Mo., 2)
Maddy Klineman (OH, UCLA, Manhattan Beach, Calif., 3)
Kaitlyn Leary (OH, Ohio State University, Parma, Ohio, 1)
Kathleen Luft (OH, Loyola Marymount University, Thousand Oaks, Calif., 1)
Shar Manu-Olevao (OH, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, Hawaii, 3)
Morgan Odale (OH, University of Utah, Star, Idaho, 1)
Chelsey Schofield (OH, University of Utah, Provo, Utah, 2)
Taylor Simpson (OH, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Colo., 2)
Nicole Walch (OH, Florida State University, Stuart, Fla., 3)
Lauren Wicinski (OH, Michigan State University, Geneva, Ill., 1)
Ashley Wittman (OH, University of Minnesota, Shakopee, Minn., 1)

Name (Position, School, Hometown, 2013 College Eligibility Remaining)
Ashley Battle (Opp, Virginia Tech, Apex, N.C., 4)
Mackenzie Bigbee (Opp, Iowa State University, Williamsburg, Iowa, 3)
Whitney Billings (Opp, University of Kentucky, Helena, Ala., 1)
Annie Drews (Opp, Purdue University, Elkhart, Ind., 3)
Moneshia Simmons (Opp, Clemson University, Buford, Ga., 1)
Valerie Nichol (Opp/S, Purdue University, Normal, Ill, 2)
Chantale Riddle (Opp, University of New Mexico, Roswell, N.M., 2)

Name (Position, School, Hometown, 2013 College Eligibility Remaining)
Deedra Foss (S, Colorado State University, McKenna, Wash., 2)
Hannah Johnson (S, University of New Mexico, Longview, Wash., 3)
Elizabeth Koberstein (S, Marquette University, Madison, Wis., 1)
Hannah Kvitle (S, University of Louisville, Quincy, Ill., 2)
Mackenzie Dagostino (S, University of Maryland, Tampa, Fla., 3)
Hannah Tedrow (S, Loyola Marymount University, Foothill Ranch, Calif., 3)
Courtney Thomas (S, University of Wisconsin, DeKalb, Ill., 2)
Rainette Uiato (S, University of Hawaii, Long Beach, Calif., 1)