Sunday, October 19, 2014

OU hires volleyball coach

By The Herald Staff | 2/12/2014

Ottawa University has hired Melissa Blessington as the 11th head volleyball coach. She will be teaching in the exercise science and sports studies programs and fulfill various administrative responsibilities within the athletic department.

Blessington spent the past three seasons at Southwestern Community College (SWCC). She led SWCC to a 37-10 mark in 2013 while receiving votes in the NJCAA II poll.

Ottawa University has hired Melissa Blessington as the 11th head volleyball coach. She will be teaching in the exercise science and sports studies programs and fulfill various administrative responsibilities within the athletic department.

Blessington spent the past three seasons at Southwestern Community College (SWCC). She led SWCC to a 37-10 mark in 2013 while receiving votes in the NJCAA II poll.

Blessington had an overall record of 72-52 at SWCC. Under her leadership, SWCC finished fifth at the 2013 NJCAA II Tournament and earned Region D coach of the year honors.

Blessington coached one NJCAA All-American, six all-region and eight all-conference players; 10 academic all-region players and had a 90 percent graduation rate.

“We were extremely pleased with the number and quality of applicants we had for the position and couldn’t be more excited about coach Blessington’s experience, enthusiasm and fit for our program,” Ottawa director of athletics Arabie Conner said.

“The impact she made in a short period of time on the court and in the lives of the student-athletes at Southwestern Community College sets her apart. She is a proven coach, recruiter and mentor and her record of success as a player and coach speaks for itself. We believe she will continue to build on the recent competitive successes of our volleyball program.

“Coach Blessington’s experience working in many aspects of campus life will make a tremendous impact on our campus community that will extend far beyond the court.”

She succeeds Tom Symons, who resigned after five seasons. He guided Ottawa to two conference tournament titles.

“I am very excited to be the next head coach at Ottawa,” Blessington said. “I am honored to become a member of the Ottawa athletic department because of their commitment to the growth of their student-athletes on and off the court. I look forward to the opportunity to continue to help grow this already well established program.

“I want to thank director Conner for the opportunity to lead and further develop the volleyball program.”

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