Eastern New Mexico University (1993)
Phone: (281) 478-3656
Now in her 14th season at the helm of the San Jacinto College volleyball program, Head Coach Sharon Nelson has established herself not only as one of the best coaches in San Jacinto College volleyball history, but among the best in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA). Her 376-127 overall record is sixth among active NJCAA Division I coaches. She was named the 2010 and 2012 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Southwest Region Two-Year Coach of the Year and has earned eight Region XIV coach of the year honors.
Since arriving at San Jacinto College in 2002, Nelson’s teams have won nearly 75 percent of their matches, claimed eight regional titles, nine conference championships, and finished in the top 11 at the national tournament in nine seasons of the last 10 seasons... No small feat for a head coach at any level. As she does every season, Nelson has again positioned herself and her team to vie for a conference championship and a return trip to the NJCAA national tournament.
Last season, San Jacinto College finished the season with an overall record of 19-13, ranked 13th in the country. Five student-athletes – Ana Helena Ribeiro, Kacey LeBlanc, Hannah McRee, Brianna Moten, and Hanah Baker – earned all-Region XIV honors, while Ribeiro was named a NJCAA all-American. Three players went on to sign National Letters of Intent to continue their volleyball and education careers at four-year universities.
In 2013, San Jacinto College finished the season ranked 13th in the country with a 22-10 overall record. Five players – Ana Helena Ribeiro, Elisa Woinowsky, Lea Lieb, Keili Harrison, and Jacie Pullig – earned All-conference honors, while Ribeiro was also named a first-team NJCAA and AVCA All-American. A record seven student-athletes signed National Letters of Intent to continue their education and volleyball careers at four-year universities, a statement to the success of San Jacinto College volleyball that Nelson has built. In addition, Nelson was selected as the two-year coach representative to serve on a recruiting panel during the AVCA / National Collegiate Scouting Association College Prep Combine held in Houston.
San Jacinto College spent most of the 2012 season atop the NJCAA polls. Nelson’s squad entered the national tournament ranked No. 1 in the nation, was the number four seed, and finished third. It was the seventh-consecutive top-10 national finish under Nelson’s tutelage. Five players signed National Letters of Intent to continue their education and volleyball careers at NCAA DI or DII schools, a testament to the academic and athletic training received at San Jacinto College. Nelson also had two NJCAA and AVCA all-Americans in Marie-Pierre Bakima and Marlaina Pleydle. Bakima was the Region XIV Most Valuable Player, an all-conference selection and the region’s player of the year, while Pleydle was an all-conference selection and was named to the Region XIV all-tournament team. Krista Koopmann, Oni Lattin, Julia Menhart, and Shelbee Pier were also all-conference selections, and Menhart was selected as the region’s libero of the year.
San Jac finished fourth at the national tournament in 2011, with an overall record of 32-5. Six players were named to the All-Region XIV team, and San Jac grabbed the newcomer (Marie Pierre-Bakima), co-setter (Kanoe Pupuhi), and player (Jazmine Green) of the year. Bakima and Green were also recognized by COBRA Magazine and named to the All-Southwest Region team.
The 2010 season was the most successful under Nelson, as she guided her team to a 29-10 overall record, including another perfect conference season at 10-0. San Jac advanced to the national tournament for a sixth-straight year, finishing as the national runner up. The second place finish was the highest national finish for any Nelson-coached team. Six players were named to the all-conference team, including Alyssa Dibbern and Candace Soares who were also named NJCAA and American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Americans. San Jac earned the conference player, setter, newcomer, and coach of the year honors, and had six sophomores sign national letters of intent to play volleyball at four-year institutions.
In 2009, Nelson had to dig deep to build a squad that finished 32-9 overall, and made its fifth-straight appearance at the NJCAA tournament. With only four returning players from the previous season, San Jac proved many people wrong. Six players earned a spot on the all-conference team, including Christie Dorch who was named the conference player and offensive player of the year, and Alyssa Dibbern who was named the Region XIV freshman of the year. Four players went on to earn scholarships to NCAA schools, and Nelson earned her fifth-consecutive Region XIV District M coach of the year.
In 2008, San Jac made its fourth straight trip to the national tournament, finishing with a 33-3 overall record, including a perfect 10-0 in conference play. Five players, including all four sophomores and one freshman, signed to play with Division II schools. Setter Abbey Parker led the nation in assists per game for most of the season, and Zuzana Cizova finished fifth in kills per game. Nelson was named the Region XIV coach of the year, Cizova was the conference’s player of the year, Parker earned setter of the year honors, and Julia Teixeria was selected as a member of the NJCAA national all-tournament team. In addition, five players were named to the all-conference team.
In 2007, Nelson’s squad came together in a big way. Led by a class of sophomores (of which four went on to play at NCAA Division I or II institutions), San Jac finished the season with a record of 30-13, and made its third-consecutive trip to the national championship where they finished sixth. SJC blew through its Region XIV opponents, winning all 13 matches, dropping only two sets along the way. San Jac was ranked in the top 20 throughout much of the season, and finished sixth at the national tournament. Two players were named all-region, and Nelson was crowned the Region XIV District M Coach of the Year for the third consecutive year.
San Jacinto College was the region champion in both 2005 and 2006, and Nelson earned the District M Coach of the Year both years. San Jac finished 11th and eighth, respectively, at the national tournament.
In 2006, freshman middle blocker Nyla Ware was named an NJCAA all-American, and five of Nelson’s players were named all-conference. The 2005 season saw Nelson’s players nab five all-region selections, and Gena Rhodes earned an NJCAA all-American honor. Nelson began her San Jac career in 2002, guiding her squad to a second-place conference finish that year. In all, Nelson’s San Jac squads have garnered nine conference championships.
Nelson is no stranger to the Houston area, having grown up just south of the city in Manvel. She graduated from Alvin High School in 1988, and went on to attend Alvin Community College, graduating in 1990. While at Alvin, Nelson was an All-conference, All-region, All-American, and Academic All-Region selection. She then went on to play at Eastern New Mexico University, where she was a two-time All-conference and academic All-American. Nelson holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Biology, and a Master’s of Science in Biochemistry, both from Eastern New Mexico University.
Nelson and her husband, Tim, have been married for 16 years. Nelson’s children are Gaberiel (24), Haley (16), and Josef (12).
Coach Nelson Year-by-Year