Collier retires after winning 3 national titles as USC’s beach coach

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Anna Collier
USC beach volleyball coach Anna Collier, who retired after eight years, shown here with her most accomplished players, Kelly Claes and Sara Hughes/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

USC sports information news release
Anna Collier, a two-time AVCA National Coach of the Year who led the USC women’s beach volleyball team to three national titles, announced today (June 6) that she is retiring from collegiate coaching.

Collier, the only head coach in USC’s eight-year-old program, said she will remain involved in the sport of beach volleyball by coaching individual players on the national and international levels as well as conducting camps and clinics.

“It has been an honor and pleasure to develop the women’s beach volleyball program at USC,” said Collier. “We have had great championship teams and great student-athletes who have represented USC at the highest levels. This program has established an unparalleled winning tradition and I know that will continue. I want to thank all the players, alumnae, coaches, staff and fans at USC for the support they have given to me. I will always cherish my time coaching at USC and I will be cheering on the Women of Troy forever.”

Anna Collier-retirement

Said USC athletic director Lynn Swann: “When I arrived at USC, women’s beach volleyball was already a championship program under Anna and it remained so under her guidance. We are grateful for all that she has contributed to building the foundation of USC women’s beach volleyball and for setting the high standards of competition that our teams and student-athletes exhibit. We know she will continue to develop outstanding talent as she remains involved in the sport in the future. We wish her the very best. She will always be regarded as a great Trojan.”

Swann said that USC will begin an immediate nationwide search for Collier’s replacement.

Collier, a USC graduate, compiled a 206-38 (.844) overall record in her eight seasons (2012-19), taking the helm of the inaugural Trojan team and developing the program into a national power. The Women of Troy won three national championships, consecutively (AVCA in 2015 and NCAA in 2016 and 2017), and three Pac-12 crowns (2016-17-19). The 2015 squad went 28-0, while the 2016 and 2017 teams set an NCAA record by winning 62 consecutive matches. She was named the AVCA National Coach of the Year in 2014 and 2019. She was the first collegiate head coach to reach 100, 150 and 200 victories.

Anna Collier-retirement
USC head coach Anna Collier and the USC beach celebrate after winning the Pac-12 tournament/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Collier’s 2019 team went 32-6, won the Pac-12 Tournament and finished as the NCAA runnerup. USC was the only team to defeat 2019 NCAA champion UCLA, doing so three times. Collier was the 2019 Pac-12 Coach of the Year.

She coached USC pairs to four individual national titles: Kirby Burnham and Stevi Robinson in 2013, Burnham and Sara Hughes in 2014, and Hughes and Kelly Claes in 2015 and 2017. The past three Volleyball Magazine National Pairs of the Year were Collier pupils: Hughes and Claes in 2017, then Abril Bustamante and Tina Graudina in 2018 and 2019. Collier’s USC players were named All-Americans 20 times.

Collier has coached beach volleyball since 1990, working with such legends as Misty May-Treanor, Kerri Walsh Jennings, Nicole Branagh and Angie Akers. She led two U.S. teams to fifth-place finishes at the Olympics: Holly McPeak and Nancy Reno (1996) and Annette Davis and Jenny Johnson (2000).

She played professionally on the beach for seven seasons in the 1970s and 1980s.

She came to USC after 36 years at Santa Monica (Calif.) College, where she taught kinesiology and coached track and field and cross country.

Collier was on the track and field and swimming teams while a student at USC in the 1970s, earning All-American honors in track.

“I can’t thank Anna enough for what she did for me and the USC Beach Volleyball team,” Hughes told VolleyballMag.com via text. “She was the heart and soul of the team and built it to be the most dominant program in collegiate volleyball.

“I would not be the same player and person without her.

“I can’t wait to see what she will do next. She was the pioneer who brought beach volleyball to the collegiate level and has helped the sport grow to what it is today. Thank you Anna for all that you have done and accomplished.”

 

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