LCSC names Brown as
new volleyball coach
Former player and Idaho native Erin Brown is the new women’s volleyball coach at Lewis-Clark State College, LCSC President Dene K. Thomas announced Wednesday.
Brown played one season at LCSC in 1999 under former coach Kip Yoshimura who, along with last season’s coach Jerry Pruitt, highly recommended Brown for the position.
“She is a highly qualified candidate and we are lucky to have her,” Thomas says. “Kip and Jerry both say she is just what we need here at LCSC.”
“I’m so excited for this opportunity,” Brown says. “It means a lot to me to coach at a place I dearly love.”
Brown grew up in New Plymouth, approximately 45 miles west of Boise, and played volleyball for two seasons at Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Ore. She then was a defensive specialist for the 1999 LCSC squad, which qualified for the NAIA national tournament. The following year, she transferred to Chicago State University, an NCAA Division I school, and earned the Coach’s Award that season.
The following year, she served as a graduate assistant coach at Chicago State and then in 2002 was an assistant coach at the University of Great Falls. She also spent time as the Boise River Volleyball Club coach for 15-16 year-old girls.
In May 2003, she was named head volleyball coach at Independence Community College in Independence, Kan., where she compiled a 22-12 record her first year and a second-place finish in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference. Last season, the team went 40-9 and won the conference, region and district titles and played in the national junior college tournament. She coached two All-Americans, including one that made the all-national tournament team.
On May 18 this year, Brown was named head coach at Nicholls State University, an NCAA Division I program at Thibodaux, La. Brown spent the last two weeks working at a camp at Nicholls State. Brown, however, never signed nor was under contract – her starting date wasn’t until July 1, the start of the fiscal year – and immediately applied for the LCSC opening when she heard Pruitt had resigned, expressing a desire to return to LCSC and her home state.
“I’m a former player at LCSC and one of the main things that attracted me about this job is what the capabilities are,” Brown says. “LCSC has a great program and that is where I want to live. I know I was only there for a year but I loved it. I know what the people are like in Lewiston, what the people are like on campus and what a great place it is.”
“The decision to leave Nicholls was Erin’s,” Thomas says. “The timing may not be the best for Nicholls, but that isn’t where she wants to be. I can’t imagine Nicholls would want her to stay if that’s not where she wants to be.”
“Back home is where I want to be,” Brown says.
Brown will begin her duties on July 5, five days after Pruitt’s final day. Pruitt announced his resignation earlier this month to accept a high school teaching position in Utah. Pruitt coached at LCSC the past 1 ½ seasons, compiling an 18-21 record during that time.
“I think Erin will bring a new level of energy, enthusiasm and direction to the L-C volleyball program,” Pruitt says. “She is a passionate and successful coach that brings great court skills and recruiting savvy to the program. I am confident that she will create the next era of excellence for the L-C volleyball program.”
Brown says the biggest challenge is trying to meet the playing and success level of her former coach Yoshimura, who had LCSC competing for a national tournament berth annually.
“This job really means a lot to me and I want to meet the potential that this program has,” Brown says.
Thomas moved quickly with the hire, putting together a three-person search committee that included her, Pruitt and Lori Gaskill, Director of Human Resources at LCSC. The three interviewed Brown over the phone and were impressed.
“I normally like to bring in three candidates, but we really liked what we heard from Erin and we made her an offer,” Thomas says. “She knows the area, she knows the college and she’s proven she can recruit and coach. I’m really excited to get someone like Erin.”
The 26-year-old Brown is engaged to be married to Gary Mellinger of Spokane, Wash., on July 30.
A news conference to introduce Brown is set for July 11 at noon in the second floor conference room of the LCSC Activity Center. The public is invited.