Tallahassee (WTXL) - Florida State University athletics has announced the hiring of U.S. beach volleyball professional Brooke Niles as the Seminoles new sand volleyball head coach. Niles is a California native who earned All-American honors as a player and has coached at the collegiate, junior college, club and high school levels working with both indoor and sand volleyball teams.
“I am beyond excited to join the Florida State family as the head sand volleyball coach,” said Niles. “The school has a rich history of athletic and academic excellence and shows amazing support for sand volleyball. Although sand volleyball is still a relatively new collegiate sport, FSU had already inserted itself as a dominant force. I have already fallen in love with Tallahassee and the university and I can't wait to share my passion, knowledge and love for the game with this team. I want to also thank Stan Wilcox, Vanessa Fuchs, indoor coach Chris Poole and the entire search committee for this amazing opportunity.”
“We are looking forward to Brooke joining us at Florida State to lead our sand volleyball team,” said FSU Director of Athletics Stan Wilcox. “Her broad and extraordinarily successful experience will be invaluable in continuing to grow the program. I know that she is as excited about leading our student-athletes as they are to be led by someone with her background and stature in the sand volleyball community.”
Niles, who earned a law and society degree from UC Santa Barbara in 2003, was a third-team All-American while playing for the Gauchos where she also was a three-time All-Big West selection and named conference freshman of the year. Following her playing career at UCSB, Niles spent three years as an assistant indoor coach at her alma mater before beginning a successful professional beach volleyball career in 2007 that saw her win numerous pro tournaments along with being named the AVP Beach Defensive Player of the Year in 2009.
While climbing to a top five ranking in the National Volleyball Beach League and spending 2010-13 as a member of the USA Beach National Team, Niles was a first alternate for the USA 2012 London Olympic Beach National team.
The Woodland Hills, CA resident returned to coaching in 2010 at Oxnard Junior College with the indoor team. In 2012 she began coaching professional beach volleyball teams competing on the FIVB World Tour from the USA, Costa Rica and the Netherlands. Most recently Niles coached at Mira Costa High School in California and she was the director, founder and head coach of The Beach Team Club in Hermosa, CA.
“I'm very excited for Brooke to join our volleyball family,” said FSU Volleyball Head Coach Chris Poole. “She played beach volleyball and indoor volleyball at the highest level. She has also coached indoor volleyball at a Top 10 level in the NCAA Division I and she has coached and trained with some of the best beach players in the world. The references we got from National Team level players/coaches and Gold Medalist were outstanding. She had a very impressive resume and made an impact on everyone during her visit.”
“Brooke will lead the squad in a fantastic way and help the ladies grow and learn in so many ways,” said Kerri Walsh a three-time Olympic gold medalist in beach volleyball. “Her competitiveness is truly an asset as it leads her to work hard and push for excellence. She practices what she preaches and this to me is what coaching/teaching is all about."
Niles will take over a program that has played in the AVCA National Championships in each of its four seasons since the program’s inception and will lead FSU into sand volleyball’s first season as a full-fledged NCAA championship sport in 2016.