Dec. 3, 2013
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - University of Southern Mississippi Director of Athletics Bill McGillis announced Tuesday that the school has elevated Amanda Berkley to head volleyball coach, after spending the past season as the program's interim coach.
"I am very excited about Amanda's future as our head volleyball coach," said McGillis. "She did a magnificent job as our interim head coach this season and flat-out earned this opportunity. Amanda demonstrated the leadership qualities necessary to build a very competitive program and, as importantly, I know how much she values providing a wonderful student-athlete experience to the women in our program is to her."
In her first season, Berkley's team finished 17-14 overall, a plus-nine wins over 2012 season and 7-7 in league play. Her team advanced to the quarterfinals of the C-USA Tournament. She had a player who earned second team All-Conference USA. Several players also ranked among the league leaders in every statistical category.
"I'm happy for everyone associated with Southern Miss volleyball as a result of this appointment, but none more so than our current players," McGillis said. "We have a terrific group of women returning next season, and, I believe, together with their new head coach, they can achieve great success."
Prior to the interim position, Berkley served as an assistant coach for the past three seasons for Abbey Sutherland with her duties including on the court coaching, recruiting, scouting, assistance in practice planning, fundraising, travel, camp coordinator and various administrative duties.
"I would like to thank Mr. Bill McGillis, Mr. Jeremy McClain, and Ms. Sonya Varnell for the opportunity to lead this program," Berkley said. "I am extremely excited to continue on as the head volleyball coach for The University of Southern Mississippi and to build upon the success of this past season. Southern Miss has had a great family atmosphere and I am excited to continue being a part of the Golden Eagle family. "
Before coming to Southern Miss, Berkley spent two seasons as UW-Whitewater's graduate assistant coach. She also coached the junior varsity team as well as planned practices and scheduled matches. Her duties also included being assistant strength and conditioning coach for the volleyball, football and track teams.
Berkley graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in kinesiology/physical education and a minor in health in 2008. She competed on the University of Wisconsin's volleyball team as a defensive specialist. During her career, the Badgers placed second in the Big Ten twice and made it to the Elite Eight twice as well as finishing in the tournament Sweet 16 tournament once.
"I believe her playing experience in one of the best programs in the country at Wisconsin, as well as her coaching experience and familiarity with Southern Miss have prepared her well for our head coach position," McGillis. "Amanda has a special spirit about her; a fun and dynamic personality and is a ferocious competitor. She is a rising star who I am very confident will be a terrific match for our program.
As a player, Berkley walked on as a freshman and earned a scholarship in 2005. She finished third on the team in service aces in 2006 and 2007. She has coached at various clinics and camps throughout the state and has coached club volleyball for Capital Volleyball Club.
Berkley attended Washington Park High School in Racine, Wis., where she played volleyball, basketball, and soccer. She was a four-year letterwinner in volleyball and soccer, while earning two letters in basketball.
The Racine, Wis., native earned her master's degree in professional development with and emphasis in health, physical education and coaching from UW-Whitewater in 2009. She is the daughter of Robert and Kathryn Berkley. Her sister, Susie Johnson, played volleyball at Idaho State and is now the head volleyball coach at UW-Milwaukee.