Durham News: Sports

Best Sports: NCCU volleyball gets a new coachBest Sports: NCCU volleyball gets a new coach

Nicki Holmes, N.C. Central Volleyball Coach
Nicki Holmes, N.C. Central Volleyball Coach NCCU

After 13 years of assistant coaching at various colleges and U.S. national teams, Nicki Holmes is steering his own ship.

Holmes, hired as N.C. Central’s new volleyball coach in April, is set to begin his first season Aug. 29. He replaces Georgette Crawford-Crooks, whose contract was not renewed.

“I am very excited about having Coach Holmes lead our women’s volleyball program in a new era,” Athletics Director Ingrid Wicker-McCree said. “His diverse background, including his work with USA volleyball programs, brings a wealth of experience to NCCU.”

Holmes previously was a two-year assistant at Central Florida, where working with setters was his specialty. He coached setter Marie Reiterova to a career-best 1,173 assists and a career-high 13 double-doubles.

He takes over a NCCU team that hasn’t had a winning record since 2007. The Eagles are predicted to finish next to last in the MEAC South, but Holmes is undeterred.

“Talking to Ingrid (during the interview process), she’s very passionate about the program,” he said. “That in and of itself is what attracted me to NCCU. We are in a great position to be really successful. The kids are not broken, they are really very talented.”

Nine veterans return, joined by five newcomers.

Senior Da’sha Brown leads the returning class with 208 kills from last season. Joining her are sophomore Kelsey Murphy (158 kills) and senior Ashley McCarthy (152 kills, 210 digs). Senior Alice Genna is the team leader in assists (404).

The recruiting class consists of true freshmen Anastaja Jones (Frisco, Texas), Gabrielle Leclerc (Narragansett, R.I.), Paige Phillips (Birmingham, Ala.) and Lauryn Martin (Round Rock, Texas), and junior college transfer Kelly Rossip (Port Charlotte, Fla.)

“All five kids are players we believe can immediately impact the team,” Holmes said. “We didn’t settle because I came in April with a month left in recruiting. We’re going to really focus on our serving game. If we can uptempo our serve, everything else is a level playing field.”

Southern falls in Jamboree

Raleigh Middle Creek scored the first touchdown and never looked back in a 17-12 win over Southern Saturday in the HighSchoolOT.com Jamboree at Cardinal Gibbons.

The game showcased senior quarterbacks Brant Grisel and Kendall Hinton. Grisel completed 14 of 20 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns for the Mustangs; Hinton finished 15 of 28 for 139 yards and two TDs (one rushing, one passing). Despite the loss, the Spartans outgained Middle Creek 228 yards to 192.

Golf fundraiser

A golf pairing party for the upcoming Walker Williams Celebrity Golf Classic is Friday from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Washington Duke Inn.

The fundraiser honors the late LeRoy T. Walker and St. Augustine’s athletics director/track and field coach George Williams.

Contact Joselyn Williams for more information at jmgmktg@aol.com.