This archived article was written by: Shania Hurst
A new chapter is being written in the USU Eastern volleyball program as Brittney Lee takes the helm as its newest head coach. Lee accepted the position of head volleyball coach at USUE in early May 2015. Prior to this she had been head coach at Southern Virginia University. Lee has a history of coaching volleyball. She says she, “started off as a head Junior Varsity coach at Sandra Day O’Connor High School” in Phoenix, Ari. She and her husband, Jager, moved to Buena Vista, Vir., to start her career in coaching collegiate-level volleyball.
“After one year as assistant coach I became the head coach. My first year as head coach we made school history by making it to the Capital Athletic Conference post-season tournament for the first time,” she said.
Lee’s decision to move to Price and coach at USUE instead of staying in Buena Vista, “felt like the opportunity was too good to pass up. Since my husband and I are both from the West Coast we were excited to be able to move closer to our families. Also, my husband’s grandpa played a huge role in building the USUE-Blanding and Price locations and so we felt a tie to this great school.” She, “love[s] how friendly people are here. Since we moved here, we have felt very welcome and people are so willing to help. We also love the family friendly environment at the college and in the community.”
Lee, an athlete herself, “was born and raised in Phoenix, Ari. I grew up playing every sport. I started off with soccer and ended up eventually switching to volleyball.” When she was a sophomore in high school, she earned the starting setter position for her team. She went on to play for Glendale Community College in Glendale, Ari.
Lee says her team was ranked, “top 10 in the nation for most the season” at GCC. She then transferred to Southern Utah University, in Cedar Utah, where her team made it to the Summit League Conference Tournament.
In discussing her life story, Lee started right off saying how much she has a love for coaching. “I always loved coaching and so I decided to major in physical education in hopes that I would be able to coach.” She finished her degree at SUU, and a year later in 2012, married her high school sweetheart. They now have two children, a daughter and son. Lee also talked about her high school career as an athlete, including that she had a great group of seniors when she was a sophomore, who taught her a lot. She claims that, “that year was a turning point for me in volleyball.”
Coach Lee has been pleased with the campus and the team she recruited. The only thing she would like to change/further improve about the volleyball program is she, “would like to get new standards/nets/balls for the volleyball program. I understand that it is very expensive to get new equipment and that this could possibly take a couple years. That is something that would be nice, but not necessary for us to be successful.”
The team is excited for the new coach. Lindy Bluemel, one of Lee’s new players, said, “Coach Lee is a great person, not only on volleyball, but off the court too. She has only been our coach for about two weeks and she has already turned the program around. She is super dedicated and the team has more of a family feel to it and I love it so much already. Her hard work reflects on how hard we work and together she will help us do great things.”
Vanessa Pawlak added that she feels like, “Coach works really hard to push all of us to our full potential. She is the kind of coach that can be given any type of team, and as long as they have the will to work hard, she makes it possible to reach goals and expectations people wouldn’t think we could do. I’m super excited to have her as my coach and to have her lead me and everyone on my team to great places.”
Lee has high expectations this year, but also believes they are reasonable. How does she think her team will do? She said, “I think that if our team works hard and does everything that is in our control we will be able to finish in the top two in conference.”