Ellen Faaleolea has been promoted from a part-time assistant to head coach of the Hood College volleyball team, effective December 2012, as announced by director of athletics Gib Romaine.
Faaleolea inherits the job from Jaime Pryor, who resigned her position in November after four years at the helm in an effort to focus more of her time on her family and her full-time teaching position at Middletown High School.
Faaleolea joined the Blazer volleyball coaching staff as a volunteer assistant for the 2010 season and was promoted to a part-time assistant in 2011.
Originally from Dearborn, Mich., Faaleolea has served as a volleyball instructor and coach for 17 years. A three-year varsity starter at defensive specialist and setter at the University of Michigan Dearborn from 1995-98, Faaleolea was a two-time all-section pick and earned all-region recognition in 1998. During her four years at UM-Dearborn, she served as a varsity assistant coach at Dearborn High School.
Her previous head coaching experience includes stints with the Victors Volleyball Club and at Edsel Ford High School in Dearborn, Mich., as well as the FCV Tri-State Volleyball Club in Hagerstown and Metro American Volleyball Club - North Region in Ijamsville. Faaleolea also served as a guest skills coach at Herndon High School in Herndon, Va., in addition to serving as the head youth clinic instructor for the Activity Center at Bohrer Park in Gaithersburg. She also served as head clinic instructor for the Frederick Area Volleyball Organization (FAVOR) and Mid-Atlantic Volleyball (MAV).
In 2004, Faaleolea was tabbed the "Queen of the Court" by the Maryland School for the Deaf at the Washington D.C. women's pro volleyball tour. She participated in the Scotland Open Tournament in 2004 and was named the most valuable player at the 2006 North American Chinese Invitational Volleyball Tournament (NACIVT) nationals. Faaleolea was named to four all-tournament teams at the Chesapeake Region Volleyball Association (CHRVA) tournament from 2003-05, 2010 and traveled to Spain and Portugal as part of the spring exposure tour with BringIt Promotions, Inc. She also participated in USA Volleyball Nationals for more than 12 years at the women's club AA and A levels.
"Ever since I started playing volleyball, something clicked inside of me, and I knew it was always going to be a big part of my life," said Faaleolea. "Volleyball inspired a passion in me that I never knew existed. While in college, I was asked if I'd like to try coaching and I thought, "Sure, why not?" Little did I know that it would awaken a whole new level of commitment to the sport of volleyball. Becoming head coach of a college program became my ultimate goal.
"Coaching is my passion, and I realized long ago that this role provides me the ultimate opportunity to give back to a sport that has given me so much. Coaching offers me a way to positively impact the lives of others. Earning the position as head coach at Hood College is a dream come true. The experiences I have had, the coaches who have challenged me, and the connections and friendships created have all shaped me into the person/coach I am today. Of course, none of this could have been achieved without the support of my parents, family, friends, teammates, players and coaches. For that, I will be forever grateful."
Faaleolea received a bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Michigan Dearborn in August 1999. She is employed full-time at the Southern Research Institute as a supervisor of organic chemistry. Faaleolea is certified as a provisional referee and regional scorekeeper by USA Volleyball. She is also IMPACT certified and is a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).