Houston Volleyball Coaches

  • Zshanelle Jones - 14 White Assistant Coach

    Sport: Volleyball

    Favorite Verse:
    Philippians 4:13: "I can do all things through Christ."

    Experience:
    I have played volleyball since 7th grade. Most of my club experience was with Acers, YMCA, Skyline, etc. Coaching started my junior year when I received stress fractures in my left and right shin. I volunteered around Houston volleyball camps, assist coached for HCC, assist coached for Acers, the YMCA leagues, and Head Coach at Sam Houston State University club team.

    Personal Fact:
    April 28, 1995 I was born with two extra fingers.

    Why I love to coach:
    I fell in love with volleyball because of it's challenge . There will always be something for you to learn, or get better at (that could be from fundamentals all the way to reading your opponents offense). Volleyball has given me so much joy, energy, friends, family, and so much more unlike any other activity. There is a huge importance on communication in the sport, and knowing your teammates responsibilities, and tendencies. But when the team has that high degree of concentration and awareness of one another it is absolutely beautiful to see what they are capable of. It is an intensifying outstanding emotion only Volleyball could give you!

  • Leon Blazer, 12 White Head Coach

    Sport: Volleyball

    Favorite Verse:
    Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths."

    Experience:
    Leon grew up playing volleyball every chance he could. He played club volleyball for 2 years in college and transferred that love of playing to a love of coaching. He has coach all levels from 6th grade all the way up to Division 1 volleyball. He coached in college for 4 years before moving to Houston and returning to club coaching.

    Personal Fact:
    Leon has a degree in music and has played piano since he was 6.

    Why I love to coach:
    Coaching is definitely where I found my passion in life. I was hesitant the first time a friend asked me to help coach, but from the moment I stepped in the gym I found I was able to connect to kids and make a difference in their lives. I found success early on with coaching and have enjoyed greatly watching players develop into great athletes.

  • Kayle Ray - 15 Maroon Head Coach

    Sport: Volleyball

    Favorite Verse:
    I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 2 Timothy 4:7

    Experience:
    I started playing volleyball MANY years ago! In my younger years, club volleyball did not exist, and it was not near as big as it is today. I had a high school coach that turned my love from basketball to volleyball, and I've never looked back since!! Fast forward to 1989 when I began my teaching and coaching career. I started at the middle school level and worked my way to the varsity level where I still am today. I have coached varying age levels in school and in club, and I have enjoyed all of them!! Volleyball is not a JOB of mine, it is a PASSION!! Even though I have been coaching volleyball for 27 years, I do not plan to end any time soon!:)

    Personal Fact:
    I have 3 daughters who are 26, 23, and 20. My 26 year old played volleyball for Clemson University and West Texas A&M University and became an All-American her junior and senior years in college. My 23 year old played for West Texas A&M University and became an All-American her senior year in college. My 20 year old began her college career two years ago at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and got the opportunity to transfer this summer to Clemson University to finish her last two years! So, I will be a die hard Clemson Tiger volleyball fan again for the 2016 and 2017 seasons as she finishes her college career! I've been very blessed to have 3 daughters be scholarshipped to play the sport I love so much while earning their degrees. Two of them have moved into the next chapters of their lives, and my little one is working hard and still living the dream!

    Why I love to coach:
    I love to coach because I want to help girls fulfill their dreams! To see the light bulb go off and their face light up when they get that 1st serve over the net or that 1st jump serve over or whatever they are working to master.....that smile and excitement is all I need to keep going. I push hard! I'm not easy, and I don't intend to be because nothing worth anything is easy! Watching a player achieve her goals is so rewarding! Sharing my love of volleyball makes me happy, and that's why I coach.

  • Courtney Nordyke - 13 Red Head Coach

    Sport: Volleyball

    Favorite Verse:
    Matthew 5:15 - "In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven."

    Experience:
    I was introduced to volleyball in the third grade and started playing in fourth. I started playing volleyball year round until my senior year of High School. I played four years at Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi where I was a two-time All Conference player my Freshman and Junior year. After I finished my senior year, I coached the 16s team at Mississippi Impact Volleyball for three years. I'm currently the head coach at St. Mark Lutheran School in Houston where I coach the varsity team.

    Personal Fact:
    I'm originally from Austin, Texas. I moved to Mississippi for college where I received my Bachelors and Masters in Education. After six years in Mississippi, I decided to move closer to home. I currently teach middle school Science and sixth grade Religion at St. Mark Lutheran. In the summer time, I enjoy working at Camp Lonehollow in Vanderpool, Texas.

    Why I love to coach:
    Growing up, my outlet was volleyball. I looked forward to walking into a gym and leaving the hustle and bustle of life outside. I developed the love for the game and life long memories. As a coach, I enjoy developing the same kind of passion and love I had in my players. Coaching allows me to give back to the sport that gave me so much! My favorite thing is watching a player "get it" for the first time. The time where they realized every ounce of effort they gave, every hard practice they endured, and every lesson they learned paid off.

  • Stephanie Lust - 15 Red Head Coach

    Sport: Volleyball

    Favorite Verse:
    Philippians 2:3  "Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves."

    Experience:
    I have played volleyball for a number of years in Houston. Most of my club experience was with Houston Juniors Volleyball Club. Out of high school I received a scholarship to Houston Baptist University where I was recruited to play libero. In 2009, I graduated with degrees in both biology and kinesiology. Shortly after my graduation, I decided to pursue teaching/coaching and received a position at Katy High School as a biology teacher and volleyball coach.

    Personal Fact:
    I was born in Canada and still have family there, but I consider myself Texan at heart. I say “y'all” much easier than “eh”.

    Why I love to coach:
    Coaching allows me to give back to a sport that helped me develop as both a player and a person. The lessons learned in sports are irreplaceable and incredibly valuable in life. I love the idea of sharing confidence building, teamwork, and competition with others. Upward allows us as coaches to enrich this experience with a Christian influence.

  • Ashley Bryant - 14 National Head Coach

    Sport: Volleyball

    Favorite Verse:
    Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

    Experience:
    Ashley began her journey with volleyball in 7th grade in Birmingham, AL. She proceeded to have a successful Division 1 career with the University at Albany (NY) Great Danes for 4 years, helping them to 3 America East Conference championships. Following that experience she assisted at her Alma maters Hoover High school and Birmingham Volleyball Club. She served as a Graduate assistant at Kennesaw State University for 3 seasons while completing her Masters in Social Work. Since moving to Houston 3 years ago she has coached with Houston Juniors.

    Personal Fact:
    Ashley works as a Middle school social worker by day. She is a certified foodie and loves the variety of options, and opportunities to expand her palate in Houston!

    Why I love to coach:
    Volleyball has had such a huge impact on my life! I believe God has blessed me with this talent and has led me to places to nurture me to success. I love being able to share that gift with others.

  • Ragan Manning - 11 White Head Coach

    Sport: Volleyball

    Favorite Verse:
    John 15:4 “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me."

    Experience:
    I’ve played volleyball for over 10 years. I played in middle school, club teams, high school and continued with intramuals throughout college.

    Personal Fact:
    I’m an Art graduate from The University of Mississippi and making pottery is another passion of mine. Go Rebs!

    Why I love to coach:
    I believe that your attitude and character off the court is directly related to your behavior and performance you give on the court. I always want to challenge my players to be the best they can be in all walks of life and drive them to be the best on the court. I love coaching because it’s never just about the game, it’s about inspiring athletes to push their limits to become the greatest version of themselves.

  • Megan Crimi - 15 White Head Coach

    Sport: Volleyball

    Favorite Verse:
    John 8:10-11 "Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, 'Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?' 'No, Lord' she said. And Jesus said, 'Neither do I. Go and sin no more.'"

    Experience:
    I've been playing volleyball since middle school and it has always been one of my biggest passions.

    Personal Fact:
    I'm an Auburn alum and you won't meet anyone who loves cheering for Auburn football more than I do.

    Why I love to coach:
    Volleyball and sports in general have always been a huge part of my life and helped me become the person I am today. I love being able to use such a fun game to help instill some of the same qualities of competitiveness, hard work and perseverance into others!

  • Candace Tuiteleleapaga - 14 Red Head Coach

    Sport: Volleyball

    Favorite Verse:
    "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

    Experience:
    Candace comes from a family of rugby, football, and volleyball players. Volleyball is what stole her heart. She has played at club, high school, and college level. Her 5 years of coaching experience began in Atlanta, GA and continues here in Houston. She has coached all levels from 6th grade to skill training for college athletes.

    Personal Fact:
    As a child, I was taught to spell my last name through song. For a while, I had to sing it out loud while I wrote it.

    Why I love to coach:
    Volleyball is one of my passions. Coaching blesses me with the opportunity to not only develop an athlete's skill, but to be a part of their journey in discovering and fortifying their passion and love for the game. It's a very humbling and rewarding experience, one that I am so happy to have been called to do.