The Pro Volleyball Federation has some new coaches, a PVF franchise signed a key player and more, Kentucky added a former star Wildcat to its staff, and Texas continues to get everyone’s attention in beach volleyball.

Pro Volleyball Federation

The Omaha and Columbus franchises have hired coaches.

Omaha hired former Wingate coach Shelton Collier. Collier, a 2022 AVCA Hall of Fame inductee, coached for 21 years at Wingate in Charlotte, North Carolina, on the NCAA Division II level. He previously coached at Pitt and Georgia Tech. 

“The Pro Volleyball Federation is unique and special in bringing a new level of financial support for players,” Collier said in a news release. “The ownership groups in every city have committed resources for travel, salaries and facilities at a level that has never been done before in the U.S. For the first time, volleyball players in our country will truly be treated and paid as professional athletes and will not have to go overseas to make a living playing the sport they love.”

Read more here.

The Columbus Fury hired Ángel Pérez. Pérez, who coached Las Pinkin de Corozal to back-to-back league Puerto Rican league championships. Pérez  played professionally in France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Romania, and Slovenia. He also played on the Puerto Rican men’s national team and for Changos de Naranjito in the Puerto Rican men’s pro league.

For more, read this story in The Columbus Dispatch.

PVF also has franchises in San Diego; Orlando; Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Atlanta, and expects at least two more before starting play in February 2024.

Leah Edmond, right, celebrates a point with Morgan Hentz when Athletes Unlimited played at Kentucky this spring/Jade Hewitt, AU photo

The Atlanta franchise may not have a team name yet, but it has the first player to sign a PVF contract. Leah Edmond, the effervescent former Kentucky star who has played with Athletes Unlimited the past two seasons and also played in Puerto Rico, will play for Atlanta. The franchise previously hired former UCF coach Todd Dagenais to be its coach.

Atlanta also signed former Illinois All-American middle Ali Bastianelli, former Arizona outside Kendra Dahlke, outside Grace Cleveland of Purdue, and Allison Whittin, a DS who played at Morehead State and finished last season at Creighton. Bastianelli and Cleveland were first-team All-Americans and Dahlke was a third-teamer.

Also, Michael Stephens, former Ohio U senior associate athletic director, is now the senior vice-president of sponsorship and ticket sales for Omaha team.

LOVB, the other team-based pro league scheduled to play in 2024, is expected to name another franchise and announce the signing of some key players next week.

Lilley joins Kentucky staff

Now that NCAA Division I programs can hire a third full-time assistant, Kentucky is bringing on one of its own.

Madison Lilley, the national player of the year who led Kentucky to the spring 2021 NCAA title and this past season played in France, is becoming a coach at her alma mater. She hasn’t ruled out playing again, UK coach Craig Skinner told us.

“We will talk through that if an option comes along that will allow her to do both,” Skinner said.

Spring 2021 VBM All Americans-Madison Lilley-Kentucky volleyball
Kentucky’s Madison Lilley sets against Washington in the spring 2021 NCAA semifinals/Jamie Schwaberow, NCAA Photos via Getty Images

Kentucky finished 22-8 last year, 15-3 in the SEC, before losing in the NCAA Tournament round of 16. The Wildcats open play August 25 at Colorado State.

Akers goes to Texas beach

Angie Akers, who coached April Ross and Alix Klineman to the Tokyo Olympics gold medal, is the first hire by new Texas beach volleyball coach Stein Metzger.

Akers spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at Loyola Marymount, which won back-to-back West Coast Conference championships and played in the NCAA Championshp.

Texas made a big splash two weeks ago with the hiring of Metzger, who won two national titles at UCLA.

“We are very fortunate to have attracted Angie to the Longhorn family,” Metzger said in a Texas news release. “She is the most sought-after assistant coach in the country and it shows the excitement folks have for the trajectory of this program.”

Angie Akers coaching at LMU in a match at UCLA

Akers, who played indoors at Notre Dame, played pro beach volleyball and then coached in the Netherlands. We featured her and the LMU staff during the 2022 season.

“I am beyond excited for the opportunity to help build the Texas Beach Volleyball program,” Akers said. “To be able to work with and learn from Stein and help develop an elite program at Texas is an opportunity I could not pass up. 

“Both Stein and the University of Texas are proven winners and have a vision for a program that I am excited and honored to be part of.”

Texas finished 1-12 in its inaugural season this spring. Texas won the NCAA title in December and then indoor assistants Erik Sullivan and David Hunt served as beach coaches.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here