April 10, 2014
Complete USA Volleyball Release
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Northern Illinois University head volleyball coach Ray Gooden has been selected as an assistant coach for USA Volleyball's Collegiate National Team, the organization announced Thursday.
Gooden is one of nine coaches on the team, which will compete in the USA Volleyball Girl's Junior National Championships on June 22-July 1 in Minneapolis, Minn. The roster of 36 players includes some of the nation's top collegiate athletes.
"Anytime you are able to work for the USA or anytime the USA asks you to do something for them, you do it," Gooden said. "You try to the best of your ability and that's the way I was taught from the beginning. Of all the things that I've been a part of, this is another opportunity to wear the letters of one of the best volleyball programs in the world. To assist in that is awesome."
"I'm very thankful for that - I really am. We hope at some point one of these players will get a chance to play for USA in an Olympics or a world championship in 2016 or 2020."
The veteran Huskie head coach is part of a staff led by former U.S. national team coaches Mike Hebert and Bill Neville, who have combined for several years coaching at the collegiate and international level. Neville has served as head coach for both the men's and women's U.S. National Teams as well as assistant on the U.S. Men's National Team. Hebert has contributed to the U.S. Women's National Team as an assistant coach.
Gooden will be joined by six other assistants, as Nicki Holmes (Central Florida), Ashley Allen (Nicholls State), Linda Hampton-Keith (Arizona State), Ben Lee (Arizona Storm Volleyball Club), Marci Sanders (Texas-Dallas) and Jay Van Vark (Cal State-San Marcos) round out the staff.
After the training portion of the program, the 36 athletes will be divided into three equal teams that will compete in a round-robin event June 27-30. The round-robin event may add an international team to increase the field to four teams that would complete June 26-30. This program is considered a second tryout for the U.S. Women's National Team.
At NIU, Gooden has continued the Huskies' winning tradition. Since 2010, the program has accumulated 95 wins and three Mid-American Conference Tournament appearances, along with an NCAA Tournament berth in 2011. Additionally, NIU has picked up 13 All-MAC selections, four MAC All-Freshman honorees and 11 Academic All-MAC picks.