New South Puget Sound Community College Admissions Specialist and Volleyball Coach Melanie Miller is ready to start living her "dream come true." Miller begins at SPSCC on Jan. 11 where she will serve in both an admissions role and as the college’s first volleyball coach, building up a new program that will see its first season in fall 2016.
"I am looking forward to being the first volleyball coach here at SPSCC," Miller said. "It is not often that you get the opportunity to build a program from the ground up; now how exciting is that?! It is a dream come true! I am so passionate about volleyball and I am so excited to give back to the sport because it has given me so much."
With more than 17 years experience as a volleyball player and more than 6 years coaching experience, Miller is eager get the program off to a strong start quickly.
"My goals are to have a competitive program from the start," Miller said. "I want to surpass any low expectations anyone may have due to the program just starting. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of a brand new team and I want to build a team that is proud to represent the Clippers nation."
A native of Long Beach, Calif., Miller moved to Hillsboro, Ore., at a young age. There, she attended Liberty High School before spending a year at Western Oregon University. She then transferred to Concordia University in Portland where she earned her bacherlor’s degree in social work. Miller spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach at Clark College in Vancouver, Wash., helping lead the team to a second-place finish at last year’s Northwest Athletic Conference volleyball championships. She also coached club teams and numerous summer camps, skills camps and conditioning camps.
SPSCC Director of Athletics Nick Schmidt said there are many reasons Miller was the right choice to lead SPSCC’s first volleyball team.
"She’s a Pacific Northwest local and knows first-hand that this area produces high quality volleyball talent," Schmidt said. "She knows what it takes to compete, recruit and be successful in the NWAC. And she comes from one of the more successful athletic programs in the league and knows what it’s like to be part of a winning culture. As we look to build Clipper Athletics for long-term success, she will play a key role."
SPSCC Director of Student Recruitment and Outreach Meg Woolf said Dunn is a perfect fit for the admission specialist position too.
"Melanie brings a nice balance between passion for the sport of volleyball and passion for the importance of all students finding a great ‘fit’ in a college on the path to a great career," Woolf said. "Melanie’s extensive experience at various levels of volleyball—whether that be club or college level, and as a player and student who has overcome challenges herself, will inform her approach to outreach efforts that work for the benefit of all students—on and off the court."
Miller said she is also eager to begin working with students.
"I am looking forward to getting to wake up every day and work with people; to help future students explore avenues and options to continue their education," she said. "The impact this position can make both for the school and individually is huge, I cannot wait to be a part of that."
Mark Dunn, head volleyball coach at Clark, said there’s lots he’ll miss in Miller.
"I will miss the way she interacted with our student athletes," Dunn said. "Mel found a way to get the most out of our players. Mel’s enthusiasm for the game of volleyball and her competitive spirit will make her successful in coaching."
Miller also added she’s excited to begin recruiting come the Jan. 15 start. Practices begin on Aug. 1, and the new Clipper squad makes its debut Aug. 27 and 28 at the NWAC Volleyball Showcase, cohosted by Lane Community College and Eugene (Ore.) Cascades and Coast Sports Commission. The team makes its home debut on Sept. 7 against Miller’s previous employer, Clark College.