New Volleyball Coach Hired

Posted by Paula Paine on March 18, 2014 in Ottawa University Direblessington_melissa_MG_0963.jpgctor of Athletics Arabie Conner is pleased to announce the hiring of Melissa Blessington as the new head coach of the University’s volleyball program. Blessington becomes the 11th head volleyball coach in program history. She will also be teaching in Ottawa University’s Exercise Science and Sports Studies programs and fulfill various administrative responsibilities within the athletics department.

“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,” said Conner. “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.”

Blessington comes to Ottawa University from Southwestern Community College (SWCC), Creston, Iowa, where she spent the past three seasons at the helm. She led the team to a 37-10 mark in 2013 while receiving votes in the NJCAA II Poll. Blessington finished her three years at SWCC with an overall record of 72-52. 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.

Prior to coaching at SWCC, Blessington was a graduate assistant volleyball coach at Durham University (DU) in Durham City, England, where she helped lead the team to a third place finish at nationals and served as head coach for two months while a head coach search was conducted. While in England, Blessington received coaching and instruction from the English National Team Coaching staff.

Before going to DU, Blessington was the head volleyball coach at Milwaukee Area Technical College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, from 2006 to 2010. At MATC, she helped lead the team to the most wins in program history in 2009 and led MATC to its first regional appearance. Blessington coached three All-Conference performers and two First Team All-Region players.

As a player, Blessington was a First Team All-Conference performer on the volleyball court for Grand View University in Des Moines, Iowa. She was also a member of the Viking track and field team and was a conference champion in the shot put.

Blessington earned her associate of arts from Southwestern Community College, her Bachelor of Arts in Public Relations from Grand View University, a master’s diploma in management from Durham University, and a master’s degree in health and human performance from Pittsburg State University.