After leading the volleyball team to three Ivy League titles in three seasons as head coach, Deitre Collins-Parker has resigned from her position at Cornell to take a position as head assistant coach at Georgia.
“It was just an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” Collins-Parker said in a phone interview before heading to a practice session with Georgia players yesterday.
Collins-Parker accepted the offer from Georgia and the Bulldogs’ new head coach Joel McCartney on Jan. 9. Despite the success of her teams at Cornell, Collins-Parker always knew that she would leave the Red if a chance arose to live and work in an area in closer proximity to her family.
[img_assist|nid=21027|title=I’ve got a plan|desc=Former volleyball head coach Dietre Collins-Parker (pictured) strategizes on the sideline during a match in the 2006 season|link=none|align=left|width=100|height=74]
“The only thing that came into play was that if I ever had a chance to get closer to my family, that’s what I’d do,” Collins-Parker said. “As much as I loved my job and loved Ithaca, it was ultimately in my head to be somewhere my mom could move to.”
While her mother does not currently live in Athens, Ga., Collins-Parker said the close location of her husband’s family played a large role in her decision to change jobs. Right now, Dale Collins-Parker is a volunteer assistant coach with the Cornell women’s basketball team.
In her three seasons with the Red, Collins-Parker compiled a 54-24 record, including a 34-8 mark in Ivy League regular season play. She also guided the squad to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in 2005 and 2006. This past season, Cornell dropped a 3-2 decision to Hofstra in the first round, a bittersweet loss that featured the first two games won by the Red in NCAA competition.
The team received an email over winter break when Collins-Parker made the decision, then had a final meeting with their coach on the first day of classes this semester. Despite the loss of a head coach, the Red has continued to move forward in the offseason.
“Of course, I’m sad to see her go but this is obviously a good move for her family,” said Cornell assistant coach Sarah Bernson. “[But] I’m very positive. … They’re definitely a unified team and taking this as an opportunity to band together.”
Although Collins-Parker said she had hoped to continue leading the growth of the Cornell program, she is excited about the chance to help McCartney rebuild a Bulldogs program that finished 2006 with a 6-25 record overall and ended up last place in the SEC standings with a 2-18 league mark.
“It’s fun as far as being at a school that is so big and so into sports,” Collins-Parker said. “[Georgia] really wants the program to turn around and that’s our job.”
McCartney, who was the head coach at Winthrop before moving to Georgia, knew Collins-Parker prior to hiring her and knew of her desire to move closer to her family. Collins-Parker will primarily handle recruiting responsibilities for the Bulldogs.
“I feel very blessed to have someone the caliber of Deitre join our staff, as she understands the dedication necessary and the passion required to build a successful program,” McCartney said in a press release. “She has played at the very highest level and is truly one of the treasures of our sport.”
Anita Brenner, the Cornell Associate Director of Athletics, said that a search for the next head coach of Cornell volleyball is in the preliminary stages.
“I know we’ll have a successful search,” Brenner said. “I am not focused on any one candidate yet but I am very happy [with the applicants]. They are highly qualified with really great credentials. … As [Athletics Director] Andy [Noel] always says, ‘We’ll take as long as we need to find the right person.’”