Allison-Brewer leaves team after three seasons

Marcus Traxler

Marcus TraxlerAssistant Sports Editor

Nanabah Allison-Brewer resigned from her position as SDSU volleyball head coach on Jan. 12, after three seasons leading the Jackrabbits, citing family reasons.

“Although this has been a very difficult decision to make, it is the right one for my family and me. Having the opportunity to coach at South Dakota State has been an amazing experience and I know the program will achieve success in the years to come,” Allison-Brewer said in a statement. “I want to thank the entire Jackrabbit community and the city of Brookings for all of their support, it means a lot to me and my family.”

Allison-Brewer went 36-48 during her tenure as Jacks head coach after Andrew Palileo left for Washington State in 2007. The Jacks went 10-17 in each of her first two seasons, before going 16-14 in 2010. Last season’s campaign included an eight-game conference winning streak to qualify for the four-team Summit League tournament. The Jacks would lost in the first to IPFW.

“We weren’t expecting it at all. She’s been with me for three years and it came as a shock. We were sad to see her go but we understood that family comes first and we were there to support her,” said junior hitter Ellyce Youngren. Youngren was a team captain last season, leading the team in kills and service aces and was named second-team all-Summit League.

“She has a young family and the balance of trying to take care of her family and the demands that you have as a head coach can be difficult at times and she needed to make the choice and family is most important to her. I support her 100 percent in that regard. It was a difficult decision for her because she has a huge passion for volleyball and a love of the game and for her to make that decison and put her family first is a tough one but I think it’s one we all respect.

Assistant coach Kristin Belzung will take over as interim head coach after her first season as a coach for Allison-Brewer.

“We’re very lucky to have her, especially now because she’s a phenomenal coach,” Youngren said about Belzung. “She understands the game and she’s very right for her role and will do a good job of keeping that competitive drive in us through the spring.”

Sell hopes to have a new volleyball coach hired by Mar. 1.

“We’ll do a national search and then we’ll put together a search committee to be able to go through those resumes to find the best candidates that we can bring to campus and interview them,” Sell said.

“Like with all of our programs, we certainly want a strong commitment to the student part of student-athlete,” Sell said of the next head coach at SDSU. “We have a fairly young team and being able to continue the growth process and allow us to compete for Summit League championships and the ability to get into the NCAA tournament is huge.”

The Jackrabbits struggled early in conference play before catching fire in mid-October and playing their way back into contention in November, in part to the dominating play of Summit League player of the year Kelli Fiegen and solid team play all around.

“I’d like to see someone who keeps the family ideals like Nana had, while also continuing to push us and drive us because we have the girls on the team to Summit League, so we just need someone to get us there. We still have the same goals and we’re all still really driven to work hard and keep our focus on the future and what’s to come. Everyday is just a step in becoming the 2011 Summit League champs and we still have our eyes set on the prize,” Youngren said.

#1.1898214:2535854357.png:vball-coach-BRUA.png:Nanabah Allison-Brewer directs the Jackrabbit volleyball team in a game earlier this season. Allison-Brewer resigned last week after three seasons.:Collegian Photo by Stephen Brua