Blinn College volleyball coach Erin Mellinger enters her third season fresh off the game's ultimate honor -- the national championship.
After leading the Buccaneers to a 27-7 record in her debut season at Blinn, Mellinger guided the Buccaneers all the way to the title. The Buccaneers finished the season 39-3 and won all four matches at the tournament to claim the title.
The Buccaneers earned a berth to the national tournament by winning five of six matches at the Region XIV Championships, defeating the team they would eventually play in the NJCAA finals for the regional title.
Middle blocker Bruna Evangelista was named the NJCAA's Female Athlete of the Year, while Crystal Young joined her in earning National Junior College Athletic Association and American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America honors. Kariana Castanon-Hill was named an All-American by the NJCAA.
Mellinger came to Blinn from the College of Southern Idaho, where she helped guide the Golden Eagles to the 2009 national championship. In Mellinger’s five seasons, CSI made three national tournament appearances, won two Region 18 championships and posted an overall record of 148-48.
Prior to her stint at CSI, Mellinger spent two years as head coach at Lewis-Clark State College, an NAIA Division I program, for the 2005 and 2006 seasons. She was also the head coach at Independence (Kan.) Community College, where she led the NJCAA Division I program to a 62-21 record over two seasons, coached two All-Americans and was named the NJCAA District K coach of the year.
Mellinger’s own collegiate playing career began in the junior college ranks with Treasure Valley (Ore.) Community College, where she helped the school reach the Scenic West Athletic Conference tournament for the first time in 19 years. A defensive specialist, she then transferred to Lewis-Clark for one season before concluding her career at Chicago State University.
Mellinger has a master’s degree in physical education and teaches kinesiology. She and her husband Gary have two daughters – Piper and Paige.