Head Coach Amy Willis
Head Coach Amy Willis began her volleyball career in the 6th grade at the encouragement of her father, who let her play on his city league team. She continued to play in Junior High and Kodiak High School. Coach Willis went to college so she could continue to play volleyball, where she played outside and middle hitter at Columbia Basin College and then transferred to University of Alaska Anchorage. She started as middle hitter her junior year, then shifted over to off-setter her senior year. During her career at UAA, the team qualified for the NCAA tournament both years.
Coach Willis has always loved the program she grew up in; helping Kodiak coaches with camps and clinics when she was home from school. She began her official coaching career as a JV coach at KHS during a year off from college. She became varsity coach in 1996, following JD Cole -- the Bears won the Northern Light conference that year and placed 3rd at State. Coach Willis stepped down from coaching in 2000.
Coach Willis returned to the program in 2006 as C-team coach for 2 years and Junior Varsity for 3 years before moving back into the Head Coach role in 2011.
Coach Willis credits her junior high coach, Sarah Babbitt, for getting her career started but is grateful to all the coaches she has been directed by and worked with. She says, "It takes a whole team of coaches for a program to be this successful; and keep the success going. Although the volleyball community in Kodiak is relatively small; we have an excellent staff; and incredibly talented volunteers. We are lucky to have such talent, passion and support, for volleyball in Kodiak."
Coach Willis has a degree in Journalism with an emphasis in advertising from UAA. Coach Willis met her husband, Jim during a city league volleyball open gym and they just celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary. The Willis' have two daughters Anna and Danielle. Coach Willis is also the Attendance Secretary at Kodiak High School. Besides volleyball, Coach Willis loves babies (especially those of former players and coaching staff).
Coach Merissa Kohler-Williams
Coach Merissa Koller Williams arrived in Kodiak in 2010 after graduating with a degree in Creative Writing from Minnesota State University, Mankato.
On a quest for adventure, Coach Williams chose to apply for work at the Pillar Creek Hatchery in Kodiak, and worked there for her first summer on the Island. Then, she put her scribble skills to work at KMXT Public Radio for four years and is now employed at the Kodiak Area Native Association. She has 15 years of playing experience including four years of high school volleyball at Owatonna High School, four years of club volleyball with the Tonna Spikers, and helped launch the first ever collegiate club volleyball team at the University of Minnesota, Duluth - the same city where her coaching career began. Winters are tough in Duluth, which is perched on the edge of Lake Superior, and Coach Williams wasn't above begging for a job doing what she loved. This led to freelance journalism with the Duluth News Tribune and coaching with the East End volleyball club. Coach Williams has one year of experience coaching 14's, two years coaching 16's, two seasons coaching 17's, four years of coaching for KHS - two with the C team and, after this season, two with the Junior Varsity.
Coach Williams and her husband, Owen, have two dogs and just finished building their first home. In her rare spare time, she loves to reach for lofty goals and dream of big ideas.
Coach Rick Carman
Coach Rick Carman picked up the sport of volleyball after being cut from the men’s soccer program as a sophomore in college at Penn State University. He was invited to play in the “power” volleyball program by a roommate because he was tall. After a few pointers like, stay out of the net, he was on his way to playing middle blocker. Since then, he’s been hooked on the sport, playing on different power volleyball teams. Though Coach Carman has had no formal coaching, he learned skills by watching others and adapting what he saw to how he played. He retained the most important skill as a middle blocker: get out of the setter’s way.
Coach Carman started coaching in the late 1980’s as a volunteer assistant coach for a newly formed high school boy’s program before moving to Kodiak in 1992. In the late 1990’s, he assisted with the Kodiak High School program under Coach Willis, eventually becoming the C team coach, then moving to Junior Varsity and eventually taking over the Varsity coaching position until 2010.
In 2011, Coach Carman and his wife, Jody, moved to Cape Cod, MA where he became an assistant coach for the NCAA DIII Massachusetts Maritime Academy Women Volleyball program. He confused many players his first year coaching MMA with his cheers of “Let’s go Bears” (his team was the “Buccaneers”) which he promptly adopted to “Let’s go Blue” (they did have blue in the school colors).
Four years later, he’s rejoined the program as the C team coach.
Coach Carman has a degree in Parks and Recreation Management, a Master’s in Elementary Education, and is the Morale, Well Bean and Recreation Director for USCG Base Kodiak. He has three children, Zac, Linzee and Maggie, two grandchildren, Olivia and Caiden, as well as four pets: cats Maggie, Mickey and Tigger, and dog, Daisy.
GO BEARS! GO BLUE! It’s great to be back.
Assistant Coach Shannon McClelland
Assistant Coach Shannon McClelland is originally from Sacramento, California where her volleyball career began her junior year. Shannon speaks highly of her coaching staff who taught her the basics of volleyball and the fundamentals of being a middle blocker very quickly. After high school graduation, Coach Shannon attended Sierra College in Rocklin, California where she took several volleyball classes and played on their collegiate team as middle blocker. Shortly after her collegiate career began, Coach Shannon was recruited by Chicago State University in Illinois and offered a full scholarship to play volleyball. Coach Shannon competed as a Division I middle blocker at CSU for her first year, and was shifted to off-setter/blocker thereafter. CSU competes in the Mid Continental Conference. Coach Shannon has been playing women¹s and co-ed recreational volleyball for the last 10 years, including 4 years of beach volleyball in Florida. Her coaching experience includes one year of coaching a 13/14¹s club team in Chicago, a few volleyball clinics at Sierra College, assisting with Kodiak Island Volleyball Club’s Junior Nationals Team in 2015 and one-on-one coaching/skills work.
Coach Shannon is a teacher at Peterson Elementary in Kodiak with a degree in Education and certificates for teaching Elementary Education, Special Education and Gifted Education. Coach Shannon has transferred here as a U.S. Coast Guard Spouse and is very excited to be coaching for the Kodiak Bears!
Assistant Coach Jasmine Oliver
Assistant Coach Jasmine Oliver is a descendent of U.S. Coast Guard retirees, originally from the East Coast. Coach Jasmine was born in Kodiak though and was first introduced to volleyball during 7th grade P.E. class at Kodiak Middle School. She continued her career at Kodiak High School where she made her debut on Junior Varsity as a Freshman. Coach Jasmine participated on Varsity as a setter for her last three years of high school until she graduated in 2005.
After High School, she attended Oregon State University, where she participated on their collegiate club team for two years. In 2009, Jasmine graduated from OSU with a degree in Exercise and Sport Science. Following graduation, she returned to Kodiak to work at the Kodiak Area Native Association, and has since been involved as a volunteer coach for the Kodiak High School Volleyball Program. Coach Jasmine has assisted with the Volleyball Club’s most recent competitions at the Phoenix Volleyball Festival in 2013 and the Amateur Athletic Union’s Junior National Volleyball Tournament in Orlando, FL in 2015.
Coach Jasmine loves sports of any kind and enjoys playing basketball and ultimate Frisbee, as well as enthusiastically spectating sports such as tennis and football.
Assistant Coach Kate Bizorik
Assistant Coach Kate Bizorik is from Green, Ohio, where she began her volleyball career. She’s been playing volleyball for over 17 years at varying levels of competition. While at Green High School, Coach Kate played all the way around as an outside hitter and was awarded Best Defensive Player her senior year. During the off season, she participated in club volleyball for three years. Coach Kate competed for Heidelberg College in Ohio where she continued her career as an outside hitter and was awarded the Coach's Award her senior year. Since college, Coach Kate was the Head Coach of a 15's club team in Ohio for a year before moving to Wisconsin where she was the JV coach for Sturgeon Bay High School for two years. She has been assisting the Varsity program for three years at Kodiak High School as well as two seasons with the Kodiak Island Volleyball Club – and is enjoying every minute of it.
Coach Kate earned her degree in Science Sports Management from Heidelberg and worked as a personal trainer for three years. She is now a Preschool teacher at St. Paul Lutheran’s Preschool part time and is a full time mother to the team’s mascot, Layla Ann. Kate and her family transferred to Kodiak with the U.S. Coast Guard.