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Pac-12 women's volleyball Diversity Mentorship Program enters second year

Nov 30, 2021

Diversity Mentorship Program Application

SAN FRANCISCO – Following a successful first year, the Pac-12 women's volleyball Diversity Mentorship Program is now accepting applications for its next class through Monday, Dec. 13 via the Pac-12's TeamWork Online site

In January, four mentees will be selected from an applicant pool to consist of minority graduating seniors or coaches who are early in their careers, passionate about coaching women's volleyball, and interested in getting experience at the highest collegiate level, with special consideration given to student-athletes from Pac-12 schools or HBCUs. 

Pac-12 women’s volleyball coaching staffs collectively launched the Diversity Mentorship Program in October 2020 with the aim of strengthening the pool of minority candidates for collegiate head and assistant coaching positions in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball. 

“I’m proud of the work our mentees, mentors and sport administrators have put in over the past year,” Washington head coach Keegan Cook said. “Meaningful relationships take continuous effort and the extension of the Diversity Mentorship Program is a commitment to deepen our connections and build our network of mentees.”

Six mentees participated in the first year, receiving hands-on experience with Pac-12 coaches, who spearheaded the program's creation to educate and prepare the next generation of minority coaches and support a more diverse coaching pool in the sport within the Conference and across the country. 

“I am extremely grateful and appreciative for my experience as a mentee in the first year of the Pac-12 Diversity Mentorship Program,” said Cheneta Robinson, the head coach at Spalding University in Louisville, Ky. “I am thankful for not only the information that I learned, but also the connections I made, including with my fellow mentees, which are greatly valued and will help me throughout my career.”

“The Pac-12 Diversity Mentorship Program has been a phenomenal experience and opportunity for me to grow and develop as a coach,” added Simone Asque, an assistant coach at Seton Hall. “Between the behind-the-scenes view we received from each coaching staff, the relationship I was able to build with my mentor, the True North Coaches Academy, and the invaluable insight from the various senior level administrators, it has been an outstanding privilege to be on the receiving end of such a profoundly impactful program. 

“The existence of this program is a refreshing example of action in an era when minority representation is still lacking in the volleyball coaching community. The growth and knowledge I gained was something I expected, but the genuine care, dedication, and effort to connect with each mentee was a deeply appreciated surprise. The consistency, follow through, and passion to fulfill the promises of the mentorship program was where I was completely blown away - and during the season too! I am beyond grateful for this experience and hope I can pay it forward one day and help raise others as I rise in my own career.”

Elements of the Diversity Mentorship Program include regular meetings with assigned coaching staffs and program administrators, travel for in-person meetings with assigned mentors, six live-lesson and discussion sessions with True North Sports’ leadership development, and AVCA membership and educational and diversity programming at the organization’s annual convention. The mentees serve in non-coaching capacities, and all elements are funded through Pac-12 coaching staffs as well as donations from friends of Pac-12 women’s volleyball programs.

2021 Pac-12 Volleyball Diversity Mentorship Program Participants

Mentee Mentor
Cinthia Angus, Loyola (Md.) Sanja Tomasevic, Arizona State
Simone Asque, Seton Hall Kevin Hambly, Stanford
Carrie Gurnell, Purdue Michael Sealy, UCLA
Chenta Robinson, Spalding Matt Ulmer, Oregon
Melissa Robinson, Alcorn State Dave Rubio, Arizona
Brittany Williams, Bethune Cookman Keegan Cook, Washington