Coming off one of its best seasons in recent history (21-4), the volleyball team should be feeling good about this season. However, the team will return no seniors to the court this year and lost its coach of five years, Christie Roes, last May. These potential problems may turn out to be a blessing in disguise as Cornell brings in Deitre Collins as its second Wendy Schaenen ’79 Head Coach of Volleyball.
“I’m overly excited and thrilled because I think I walked into a really good situation,” Collins said. “They’re coming off of a great season and they’re more determined then ever to win an Ivy title. My goal is to help them do that.”
Collins comes to Cornell after spending eight years as the head volleyball coach at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, where she took the program from non-existence all the way to a WAC tournament semifinal appearance last season. She brings with her a resume that shows an impressive volleyball pedigree as both a player and a coach.
As an All-America player at the University of Hawaii, Collins was a two-time Broderick Award honoree as the national player of the year. Playing in over 130 international matches she was the starting middle blocker for the 1988 Olympic team in Seoul, South Korea, and an alternate for the 1992 Barcelona Games. Collins also spent time playing professionally in Europe for teams in Italy and France.
Collins hopes her experiences as a player will help make her a better coach. “I guess you ought to ask my players,” Collins said. “I think the biggest thing that transfers over for me is my love of the game.”
Besides her eight-year coaching tenure at UNLV, Collins also brings further collegiate and international coaching experience to the Red. She held assistant coaching jobs at South Alabama, Northern Arizona, and Houston.
She’s served as head coach for several medal-winning U.S. junior national teams and has been an assistant coach for U.S. national teams.
Collins brings no set style of play to the teams she coaches. Instead she prefers to tailor the style of play to the players she has.
“The biggest thing is I stress fundamentals. I like doing skills correctly,” she said. “I think a style of play depends on the personnel you have. You can’t base it on the coach; you base it on the players, emphasizing their strengths.”
Besides fundamentals, Collins also places a great deal of importance on academics. Each of her teams at UNLV had a team grade point averages of 3.0 or better and her 2002 squad had a Mountain West Conference-record 10 academic all-conference selections.
“For a woman in athletics, there’s nothing else because once you’re done with college volleyball very few get to go on to continue to play.” Collins said. “I think the difference for me coming to a school like Cornell is that I don’t have to stress it as much as they’ll stress it for me.”
As for the lack of seniors, Collins isn’t too worried. In fact, she’s more than pleased with the core group of players she’ll have returning in the fall.
“They’re very hungry. They’re very determined,” she said. “I enjoyed talking to them and for sure I took the job because of them when I met them on the interview.”
Impressed with the quality of the program she has inherited, Collins has high hopes for the Red in the seasons to come.
“I just want to see Cornell volleyball be more than just a good Ivy League team,” she said. “I want them to be a competitive team, period.”
Archived article by Paul Testa
Sun Staff Writer