MONDAY, JANUARY 23, 2012
JU names Michelle Collier head volleyball coach
Jacksonville University has named former University of South Florida standout Michelle Collier as the eighth head coach of the Dolphins volleyball program on Monday.
Collier comes to JU after spending the last two seasons as an assistant coach at South Carolina. She will take part in the spring indoor season and head up the Dolphins’ inaugural sand volleyball slate in March.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Michelle to the JU family,” Director of Athletics Alan Verlander said. “She and her family will be a wonderful addition to JU Athletics. Her credentials and contacts in the sport of volleyball will enable her to be very successful at JU. I look forward to seeing her teams graduate and compete for championships in the near future. I’m excited about the new era of JU volleyball.”
“I am super excited and want to thank Alan and Marsha (Haskew, Senior Women’s Administrator), President (Kerry) Romesburg for opportunity to start my head coaching career at JU,” Collier said. “It’s been great and it was a great experience I had here (during the interview process). I am looking forward to working with a great group of girls and turning this program around and winning some championships.
“I am meeting the girls Monday and am excited to meet with them, talk to them and get them fired up for us to get ready.”
During her time with the Gamecocks, Collier worked with the outside hitters and defenders. She also coordinated the offense and international recruiting. Collier assisted with scouting and video breakdown and served as the liaison with the Gamecocks' strength and conditioning department.
In 2011, Collier helped the Gamecocks to a seven-win improvement which ranked as second-best jump in school history. The Gamecocks improved in nearly every category, including posting a hitting percentage 45 points better than in 2010. She also helped Paige Wheeler finish third in digs (4.57) in the Southeastern Conference, while Juliette Thévenin was fourth in kills pet set at 3.65.
In 2010, Collier was instrumental in coaching Thévenin to the SEC all-freshman team. Thévenin led the Gamecocks in both kills and aces, the third rookie ever and fifth freshman to lead South Carolina in kills. Thévenin ranked in the top 10 in the SEC in both kills and points per set, and she finished second on the team in hitting percentage.
“I am very proud of Michelle for reaching the next level in her coaching career,” said South Carolina Head Coach Scott Swanson. “Jacksonville University is lucky to get such a great person as its next head coach. Michelle will work hard to make both the indoor and outdoor programs into well-respected teams at JU. We want to thank her for her loyalty and hard work and we wish her and her family all the best as they move on to the next successful chapter of their lives.”
Prior to South Carolina, Collier spent two seasons as an assistant at USF where she was responsible for the outside hitters and headed up international recruiting. She helped the Bulls to finishes in the top half of the deep BIG EAST Conference each year, while the squad raised their RPI mark by 100 points.
As a player, Collier ranks among the greatest players ever collegiately. She ranks fifth in NCAA Division I history with 2,729 career kills and sits in the Bulls' top-10 in numerous career and single-season categories. She holds the top spot in USF history in two career categories (kills and digs, 1,747) and set three single-season marks during an amazing 2000 season. After coming back from an injury that forced her to the sidelines in 1999, Collier compiled 760 kills, 1,873 attacks and 6.28 kills per set.
A two-time Conference USA Player of the Year and 2002 All-American, she claimed the league's Player of the Decade in 2004. She also claimed the C-USA Freshman of the Year plaque in 1998 and led her school to three of the program's seven NCAA Tournament appearances. USF went 120-48 during her three years, claiming two C-USA titles and one C-USA tournament crown during her four playing years. Collier is the only volleyball player in USF history to have her jersey retired. She joined the USF Hall of Fame in its third class announced in 2011, the first Bulls volleyball player to earn that honor.
Before coaching, Collier played professional volleyball for four years in a global tour that took her to Cyprus, Indonesia, Puerto Rico, Spain and The Netherlands. Among the many accolades that she accumulated include the Indonesian League MVP and Cyprus' Best Foreign Player.
Fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese, Collier graduated from USF in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in web design and international relations.
Collier is married to Rafael Silva, who played for nine years in the top divisions of both Brazil and Spain. The couple has one daughter, Tais Collier Silva.
Collier's Coaching Timeline
Collier's Playing Timeline
Collier's Education Timeline