Plenty has happened to Melanie Miller since the beginning of December.
She’s said goodbye to a job, been hired for a new job and relocated to the Olympia area.
“I’m a little overwhelmed, but I’m good,” she joked.
Miller was hired as South Puget Sound Community College’s first volleyball coach on Jan. 11. The program was built by athletic director Nick Schmidt, who took over the department in July, to replace softball.
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Schmidt said there were 30 applicants for the position in a nationwide search.
This will be the first head coaching position at the junior college level for Miller, who has six years of coaching experience and spent the past two seasons as an assistant at Clark College in Vancouver.
“Getting this job is honestly a dream position for me,” Miller said. “I’ve played for 17 years, and experienced a lot of good coaches, and some not-so-good coaches, and I feel like it’s my turn to give back.”
Miller’s position will have dual purposes — she’ll also serve in an admissions role for the college. She earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from Concordia University in Portland, where she played volleyball.
“It’s a benefit because I’m in that advising role and outreach role,” Miller said. “They do connect in a way because I’m learning about SPSCC as a whole, and I can help advertise that to athletes.”
Schmidt said Miller’s success at Clark — which also competes in the Northwest Athletic Conference — made her an ideal candidate. Clark finished second at last year’s NWAC volleyball championships.
“For us knowing what the talent is in this area, we feel very strongly we should be able to compete very well very quickly,” Schmidt said. “I think Melanie’s personality and her background — everything seemed to fit into place.”
The letter-of-intent period for volleyball players opened on Jan. 15. Miller will spend much of the next few months recruiting before practices begin in August. The Clippers debut Aug. 27 at the NWAC Volleyball Showcase in Eugene, Oregon.
“It’s going to be exciting to see the process through to fruition,” Schmidt said. “I’ve been a party to this from the decision process to get rid of softball, to now our first home game on Sept. 7 against Clark.
“It’s going to be fun to see it come full circle.”