Salem Coaches

Adam Ellis- Club Director/Head Coach 18 Forefront Team

The North Pacific Juniors Volleyball Club is Adam Ellis’ dream come true. Coaching in the CEVA region since 2004, he always wanted to create a nationally recognized volleyball club and last season he achieved that goal leading NPJ 18-1 Forefront to a CEVA Regional Championship and a Bronze Open finish in USA Volleyball Girls’ Junior National Championships in Dallas. But bigger than that, is his love for the game at all levels. So NPJ hosts non-travel teams for 10s and 12s and club-level teams for girls that just want to play.
Adam recognizes talent and has a vast network of college coaches to call upon. Every NPJ girl that wants to play college volleyball has found an opportunity to do so. With his energy level and commitment, former NPJ players now want to come back and coach for the club. The NPJ Family will expand into Bend this season.

His experience coaching high school, collegiate and beach volleyball make him a sought-after coach on the West Coast. He grew up playing in California as a setter, finishing 3rd in USA Volleyball Boys’ Junior National Championships. And he’s won a few dollars playing professional beach volleyball. Married to Katie Brewington, the couple reside in Sherwood with their fur babies Sadie and Rosie.


Philosophy: *In Club handbook


Mike Gee- Assistant Coach 18 Forefront Team & Technical Director

Mike Gee enters his second season at UCF in 2015. He is responsible for scouting and player development among other duties on the bench with head coach Todd Dagenais and assistant head coach Michelle Chatman.

Gee spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Cal State Fullerton. He joined the Titans’ volleyball staff in 2011 as a second assistant coach after three highly successful years as the head coach at Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, Calif.

A native of Orinda, Calf., Gee assisted head coach Carolyn Zimmerman in the development of the Titans’ defense and passing systems, and also assisted in the programs’ recruiting efforts.

In 2012, libero Gabrielle Dewberry totaled 600 digs, ranking second all-time in Fullerton single-season history, while her 4.80 per set average rated third in the Big West.

As a team in 2012, the Titans accumulated 2,020 digs, a number that ranked third in CSF single-season history and fifth in the Big West standings. Additionally, Fullerton’s total of 1,451 assists ranked fifth in the program’s single-season history.

In 2011, Fullerton’s average of 12.05 assists per set ranked fifth in the league while the clubs’ average of 17.18 digs per set ranked second in the Big West and fourth all-time in single-season history.

In three seasons at the helm of the Bishop O’Dowd volleyball program, Gee’s teams compiled a 99-27 overall record and produced three consecutive Hayward Area League and North Coast Section titles, going undefeated in league from 2008 to 2010.

Overall, Gee guided the Dragons to a 21-3 overall record in the postseason and took them to the CIF Northern California Finals in 2009, earning him East Bay Coach of the Year recognition by The Contra Costa Times.

Gee got his first taste of coaching in 2004 with his alma mater, Miramonte High School (Orinda, Calif.), serving as the girls’ junior varsity head coach and the volunteer assistant for the boy’s varsity team. He moved on to assist at the varsity level at Campolindo High School (Moraga, Calif.) from 2005-07 and helped the Cougars to a CIF State Championship in 2006.

At the club level, Gee has served as a head coach, head technical trainer and an assistant coach for the Golden Bear Volleyball Club since 2003. He has helped over 40 junior club players sign at the Div. I and II levels, including Cal first-team All-American outside hitter Tarah Murrey.

He has also served as the Youth A2 assistant coach and lead tryout coach for the USA Volleyball Girls’ High Performance Program since 2005.

As a player, Gee lettered three years at Miramonte High School and helped the Matadors to a CIF Div. I North Coast Championship in 2003 as a senior. That year he was named a Diablo Foothill League first-team honorable mention and the team’s most inspiration player.

Gee, 29, is a graduate of Cal (2008) with a degree in psychology.

Joe Houck-
joe houck

Joe Houck, who previously revived volleyball programs at Western Oregon and Concordia University, was hired to the position of head volleyball coach at the University of Portland in January, 2008. Houck also helped the Eastern Washington volleyball program reach unprecedented heights as the associate head coach.
Prior to joining the Pilots, Houck compiled an overall record of 131-76 in eight seasons as a head coach. He spent the past three years at Western Oregon, where he led the Wolves to their first ever trip to the NCAA Division II postseason in 2007 after seeing a nine-match win improvement from 2006. The team finished 16-10 and second overall in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, the best finish in school history for the Wolves.
Previously, Houck was the associate head coach at Eastern Washington University. During his two years (2002-03) with the Eagles, Houck helped the team win back-to-back Big Sky Conference championships, while posting a 51-10 overall record. EWU also reached its highest national ranking in school history, spending six weeks at No. 15 in the NCAA/AVCA Poll in 2002.
“Joe is a coach that has had success at every stop along his career path,” Williams said. “His ability to develop and take multiple programs to unprecedented levels is no fluke.
A native of Portland and a graduate of Gresham High School, Houck’s roots lie even deeper in the UP volleyball family. His wife, the former Ann Pinkowski, is a member of the UP Athletic Hall of Fame after a stellar volleyball career (1989-92). She still holds several career records at UP, including kills (1,609) and digs (1,770) as well as single-season records in kills (485, 1989) and kills per game (4.53, 1989).
Houck began his head coaching career at Tigard High School in 1987 after graduating from Portland State in 1986. As head coach at Sam Barlow High School (1992-95), Houck won three Oregon 4A State Championships. He was named the Oregon High School Coach of the Year five times.
In five seasons (1997-2001) at the helm of the Concordia volleyball program, Houck turned the Cavaliers into a perennial regional power. After a 9-19 rookie campaign, the Cavaliers improved to 15-9 in 1998 before claiming the Cascade Conference title in 1999, finishing with an overall mark of 19-5. In 2000, Concordia went a perfect 16-0 in league play, won the regional title and qualified for the NAIA national tournament for the first time in school history. The Cavaliers finished fifth at nationals and completed the year with a school-record mark of 29-2. In his five seasons at Concordia, Houck compiled a 97-32 overall record, won three conference regular season titles and three conference tournament championships, while advancing to the national tournament three times. He was also named conference coach of the year four times and was the NAIA Region I Coach of the Year in 1999.

Hannah Bell- Assistant Coach 18 Forefront Team
Hannah Bell

 Katie Herber- Assistant Coach 18 Forefront Team

Played at Western Oregon University for 4 years (1992-1995), in those four years the
teams placed 3rd, 5th, 2nd, and 3rd in the NAIA National Championships. Katie still holds
several records at WOU(prior to NCAA DII): 1st in digs for a season with 769, 1st in
service aces in a match with 8, 2nd in digs per match with 45, and 3rd in Career digs with
1911. Katie began her coaching career at Western Oregon University as an assistant for a
year in 1996. After one year off, started coaching at Sprague High School in 1998 as the
Junior Varsity coach. From 1999-2010 continued to coach at Sprague as the Head Varsity
coach, and in those years participated in the state playoffs 10/12 years, 3 conference
champs, and named Coach of the Year twice. Took one year away from volleyball in
2011. Became the Head Varsity Coach at West Salem High School in 2012 where in 5
years, claimed 2 conference champs, placed 6th in State twice, and named Coach of the
Year twice. Retired from High School Volleyball at the conclusion of the 2016 season.
Started working with NPJ during the 2017 club season. Katie has been married 20 years
to Erich Herber (Current Head Track & Field Coach at West Salem High School), and
together they have two children Isaac 15, and Ian 10.
To help develop a sense of work ethic, accountability, honor and desire to be a team
player while using the game of volleyball as a tool.

Dan Stephens- Assistant Coach 17 National Team

I have been a Concrete Contractor for 26 years here in the Willamette Valley area. I learned to play volleyball in Alberta Canada where I played 2 years of high school volleyball and returning to Oregon I began playing mens club volleyball when I was 20 years old.
Assistant Varsity coach for Santiam Christian 2008-2009
Head Coach for Mid Valley Volleyball Club 2008-2010
Assistant Coach for Boss Volleyball Club 2014
25 years of men’s club volleyball
Still actively playing sand volleyball
Have coached many sand volleyball clinics and have coached Washington State University team and skills camp 2014 and 2015. I have coached youth baseball, basketball and football and spent 3 years on the Linn-Benton Pop Warner board one year as Commissioner.
Building and development of basic volleyball skills along with proper speed and agility training to round out a complete volleyball player.
I have been married to my wife Tina for 26 years and have two adult kids, Tye 22 and Tani 21.

Lad Salness-

I have been a public School teacher for the last 40 years teaching biology, Physical Education and Health. In High School I Played Football, Basketball and Tennis all 4 years at Anaheim high School in Southern California. I Began my coaching carrier helping coach with my sister at Lowell High School in Fullerton California from 1973-1978. I also Played football at the University of Oregon my freshman year in college which was 1973, I Injured my shoulder and it ended my collegiate football carrier.
I have coached many different sports Including but not limited to Coaching High School Football for 14 years, High School Basketball for 2 years, coaching Men’s High School Tennis for 18 years and I have been the Head Varsity Volleyball Coach At Sunset High School for the last 24 years.

My coaching background is as follows:
1984-1989 Men’s Head High school Volleyball at University High School In Irvine California.
1992-1995 Head Varsity Volleyball Coach at Sunset High School.
2004-Present Head Varsity Volleyball Coach at Sunset High School where we have finished 7th place Finish in 1995, 3rd place finish in 2008,3rd place finish in 2009, 4th place finish in 2014, 4th place finish 2015, and 3rd place finish in 2016.
I also am the founder and club director/ administrator for ABC Apollo VBC from 2004 to Present. In 2015 I was an Assistant Coach for Salem VBC with there 18’s team. In 2016 I was an Assistant Coach for Adidas NW Juniors Matt 18’s where I helped the team win a regional championship. This year I will be coaching The NPJ 17 National team and I am very eager to help all of the athletes not just on that team but in the entire club achieve their goals.

Sydney Blakinship- Head Coach 17 Black Team

Currently Playing: Western Oregon University as a middle blocker

Coaching Background:
Two years as an assistant coach at Capital City Elite Volleyball in Salem, Oregon. Three years coaching various college camps at Western Oregon as well as Willamette University. In 2016-17 club season coached the NPJ 18’s Black team as an assistant.

Playing Background:
Three year Varsity Starter at Westview High School in Portland, Oregon. Senior year was co-captain, all conference and team offensive MVP. Played for T.E.A.M Hiki No Volleyball Club located in Portland. In college, went to University of Alaska Anchorage. After a red shirt season at UAA transferred to Western Oregon University. Sophomore season (2015) finished with a .321 season hitting percentage, ranking 8th in school history. Junior season (2016) finished first on team and ranked 9th in GNAC Conference with a .271 season hitting percentage. Three time GNAC All Academic selection. Currently ranked 3rd in school history for career hitting efficiency (2017).

Morgan Haskett- Assistant Coach 17 Black Team

Currently playing: Western Oregon University as an outside hitter/ middle blocker

Coaching background:

Three years coaching at Roseburg Volleyball Club in Roseburg, OR. Six years coaching and leading various camps at Roseburg High School. Two years coaching camps at Western Oregon University. Extremely excited to start coaching here at NPJ!

Playing Background:

Four year starter at Roseburg High School, helping the Indians with a three time state appearance, as well as a championship match, finishing second in state. Freshman year (2012) of high school, voted second team all conference. Sophomore year (2013), Junior year (2014), senior year (2015) voted first team all conference. Also in 2013, received Player of the Year for the 6a southern Oregon conference, as well as first team all state for 6a in Oregon. Voted as captain both my junior (2014) and senior year (2015) for Roseburg High School. Played for Roseburg volleyball club from fourth grade to 9th grade. Then played for 16-1 BOSS volleyball club, located in Albany, OR where my team went to nationals. Then played for Webfoot 18-1 where my team played in the open division for nationals. Graduated as valedictorian for Roseburg High School in 2016. Now currently playing at Western Oregon University as a sophomore in college. Also named to GNAC far scholar athlete list.

Stephen Stone- Head Coach 16 National Team

Currently coaching: Lincoln High School, Varsity
Last coached: OJVA 16-3

My coaching began in 2008 in my first year of college in New Zealand. Whilst not playing I continued to coach 16s and 18s at the high school I attended. Our coaching staff coached to a national championship for our boys program in 2009.

I got to America in 2013 and began my club coaching season as well as coaching at McMinnville high school.

Successful years at OJVA for the 2013 and 2014 seasons were important stepping stones for my coaching career with the 16-3 team. In both seasons we finished ahead of our 16-2 team at regionals.

2015 I coached the 18-2 team at OJVA winning 4/5 power leagues that season. We had every senior that season play for a college at varying levels.
2016 I enjoyed another year with OJVA with another finish “in the teens” with a 16-3 team beating 42 other 16-1 or 16-2 programs.

I have been the head coach at Lincoln High School for the last 3 Years 2015,16,17 school years. We began with a 2nd place finish in league, following up in 2016 with my first league title with Lincoln and also received the leagues coach of the year award. Our 2017 season has begun with a 14-0 start to the season.

I am super excited to be on the NPJ team for coaching this 2017 season.

My playing experience covers 13 Years. Since I was 13 years old I have played for 4 national age group development teams U17x2 U18x2, and travelled to Australia, Singapore, and Japan upon playing for the men’s National team in 2013. At 2013’s national tournament I received the best blocker award on the “star six” players for players represented at New Zealand’s premier tournament.
I continue to play national and regional tournaments for indoor and beach volleyball in the Portland area and beyond.

Kayla Piper – Head Coach 16 Black Team

I began my volleyball career at age 14, playing for my middle school team. I went to Warrensburg High School in Missouri where I played as a middle blocker and right side hitter. I received All-Conference and All-Region recognition my senior year. From 2010-2014 I played for Lewis & Clark College, becoming the starting middle blocker my junior and senior years.

I began my coaching career in the fall of 2014 as the Junior Varsity coach at Franklin High School. The following club season I was the assistant 12 Gold coach for Warrior Volleyball Club.

Kristin Penn- Head Coach 16 Orange Team

My volleyball career started in elementary school, where I played for my school’s CYO team. I fell in love with the game and went on to play competitive club volleyball for five seasons as a setter, leading my teams to top 10 finishes each year at the CEVA Regional Championships, including a CEVA Regional Championship 1st place finish. I attended Gresham and Central Catholic High School (graduated from Central Catholic) where I was a three sport varsity athlete, played as both a defensive specialist and setter, and achieved 2nd and 3rd place finishes at the OSAA 6A State Championships.

After receiving offers to run cross country/track and play volleyball in college, I decided my love for the game just wasn’t where it used to be, so I took a break from volleyball. Eventually, the volleyball itch returned, so I began playing again and led the Oregon State club team to a 3rd place finish at the National tournament as their setter, receiving 1st Team All-Tournament honors.

I started my coaching career this past 2016-2017 club season as the assistant coach for NPJ’s 14 Black team. I am thrilled to be back again this year as a head coach and can’t wait to meet my team! As a coach, I aim to foster and grow players’ passion and knowledge of the game. One of my favorite things about the game of volleyball is the strategic aspect behind every play (what I call “volleyball smarts”). I fully intend to help my players develop the mental and strategic components of the game while also working on their technical performance.

Let’s have a great season! Go NPJ!

Hannah Whipple- Head Coach 15 Black Team

I am a junior at Oregon State University, studying Kinesiology. While going to school I am also a student manager for the women’s Volleyball team at OSU. Before that I was the manager for the volleyball team at Chemeketa Community College during the 2015 & 2016 seasons. I played volleyball for nine years, four of those at West Salem High School, and two of those seasons in club. This will be my third season as a coach here at NPJ. I have previously coached 16 black and 13 Elite. I am looking forward to another great club season!

Troy Shorey-
Troy Shorey


I have been involved in the sport of volleyball for 30 years,
either playing or coaching. Started playing at Thurston High school and
then club ball at the University of Oregon. I continue to play
recreationally in Eugene and occasionally in competitive men’s
tournaments in the area.
I started coaching for Kidsports in Eugene. After a year, moved into coaching club for
Storm-N-West, coaching the third 14’s team. Coached two years with them
and then co-founded Emerald City, coaching the top 16’s team. After two
years, started another club named Webfoot Juniors and coached the 18’s
top team. Three years of running that club, merged with Cathy Nelson
and coached the top 14’s team. Spent 12 years with Webfoot focusing  on
14’s and 16’s until last year when I was with the 18 silver team.
the same span I have coached at various levels at various high schools.
I started at Pleasant Hill High school as their JV2 coach. I moved to
Sheldon high after a year. After a year as Sheldon’s JV coach, I got
the varsity head coach position at Willamette high school. I was there
for 6 years, followed by a year break. I then coached the JV team at
Thurston high for two years and decided to take a break again until
last year, when I volunteered to assist the varsity team at Lebanon


Traci Stephenson- Technical Director Head Coach 14 National Team & Assistant Coach 16 National TeamIMG_2402

Traci Stephenson has extensive experience coaching volleyball at all levels. She is entering her 4th year as the Head Volleyball Coach at Chemeketa Community College where she has made it to the NWAC Championship Tournament three out of the last four years. Stephenson started her coaching career at Gresham High School, her Alma Mater, and at the club level for Oregon Northwest Juniors (1996-2001), also where she played club volleyball for five seasons. She then went on to spend another five years with Salem Volleyball Club (2004-2009). Traci coached at Willamette University where she was the Asst. Coach for the Bearcats for two seasons (2007-2008). In 2010 Coach Stephenson was added to the staff at Chemeketa Community College. Stephenson coached as an assistant for the Storm for one season and then took over the program in 2011. Coach Stephenson attended Western Oregon University where she studied physical education and health. Traci has been married to Scott Stephenson for 12 years and has two children Rhyan and Hannah, ages 10 and 7. Coach Stephenson still plays competitive sand volleyball and is a premier sand player in the state.



Benny Sexton-

West Salem Assistant Varsity Coach

Benny has been a volleyball coach at West Salem High School since it opened
in 2002.  He has been the freshmen coach for 5 years and the assistant
varsity coach for the rest of the time.  The past 6 years, Benny has coached
a 14U girls’ volleyball team and a boy’s 18U volleyball team.  He began
playing competitive volleyball while in high school with his wife, Sandy
Huntley Sexton, an Oregon State 4 year scholarship player.  While in
college, Ben played on various Men’s AA USVBA Club teams in Salem,
Corvallis, Eugene and Portland.
Volleyball must run through his family’s blood…Benny’s daughter, Kyley,
was a 4 year scholarship volleyball player at San Diego State University.
Kyley played on West Salem High School’s varsity team all 4 years and was
selected on several 1st team League All-Star teams, was the Conference
Player of the Year  twice and recognized on three Oregon’s All-State teams.
Benny’s two boys, Cameron and Chase Sexton, played on the SVC’s Boys 18U
team.  Cameron attended University of Southern California (USC) and was the
Men’s Varsity Volleyball Team’s student athletic trainer two seasons.
Besides coaching volleyball almost year around, Benny finds time to play in
the Salem’s Co-Ed Adult volleyball league with his two sons’.  Benny is
employed at Oregon Department of Transportation as a Software Team Lead and
Project Manager.

Jenny Hatfield- Head Coach 14 Orange Team
Jenny Hatfield

Currently Coaching: West Salem Assistant Varsity Coach

Playing Experience: I started playing volleyball in 8th grade. I moved to Oregon going into high school where I started playing at Sprague High School here in Salem. I played 4 years at Sprague, 2 of those years being on Varsity. I was on a league championship team and was named 2nd team all-league in the 2008-09 season. I also played club volleyball for 3 years. I was recruited to play at Corban University here in Salem starting in 2009. I was a 4 year starter as a Warrior playing as an outside hitter my freshman year, and a middle blocker my sophomore through my senior year.

Coaching Experience: I am currently on my second season of coaching volleyball at West Salem High School. This will be my first year of club coaching, and I am so excited for it!

Other Experience: Volleyball is not the only sport I am involved in. While I was in high school I also played 2 years of Softball and competed on the Track team for 2 years. I continued Track and Field into college where I competed as a heptathlete. I competed in the NAIA National Championships 2 times and in my Senior season I finished 14th in the nation for the Javelin. My love of track and field also continues as I am the Javelin coach at Sprague High School during the spring.

Personal: I graduated from Corban in 2014 with a degree in Social Studies Education and am currently working as a Special Needs Instructional Assistant at West Salem High School where I work in a DLC classroom. My husband, Jordan Hatfield, and I are going on 2 years of marriage. He graduated from Corban in 2014 with a degree in Exercise Science. He works as a strength and conditioning coach for Dynamic Strength and Performance where he trains developing high school athletes, collegiate athletes, and combat athletes to perform at a higher level. He coached football at Cascade High School for a season. He has also returned to Corban to coach Track and Field. It is safe to say that our little family is rooted in athletics.

Sam Gould-

I have been playing volleyball for 14 years and am still actively playing whenever I can in many different co-ed leagues around Oregon. I played for 4 years at West Albany High School, 2 of which were on the varsity team where we received a 2nd place 5A state finish in 2011, and then a 1st place finish in 2012. My playing experience also includes 6 years of club volleyball, most notabley on the BOSS 18-1 team for the 2011 season where we competed in platinum for the majority of the season.

I began my coaching experience by volunteering my time at the boys and girls club coaching 6th grade for one season and then 8th grade for two seasons. I then began coaching at DSK where I spent four years coaching year round academy for ages 8-18. Throughout my time there I also coached many athletes in private lessons for a range of different volleyball skills. DSK was also where I began my club coaching career. I spent the 2013 season assisting their 14-1 team, and then went on to head coach their 16-2 team for the next two seasons. After my four years at DSK I was asked to run a new volleyball academy program at the YMCA in Albany where I was responsible for head coaching all practices for athletes at many different levels ages 7-16. I then moved on to coaching at NPJ for the 2016 club season where I assisted the 17 national team. After the 2016 season I relocated to Newport OR where I spent a year teaching high school biology and assisting their varsity volleyball team. I am excited to be back in the valley now where I will be teaching high school science at Lebanon High School and head coaching their JV volleyball team.

Dan Santos- Assistant Coach

I grew up in Brazil and played every sport I could at my high school. Volleyball was a fun pastime that I enjoyed occasionally. In college, I found a couple of friends who also liked the game and we formed an intramural team that won the championship every year while I was there. That is where I found my passion for the game.

After college I moved to Tacoma, WA and started playing doubles on grass and sand. I had a sand court put in where I worked and started running tournaments there. Through those connections I was asked to help coach at Curtis HS, which started my official volleyball coaching career. I was the JV coach for 4 years, prior to moving to Gig Harbor and then to Portland.
With a little encouragement, I started coaching at Sunset HS and coached there as an assistant for 5 years, also starting my club coaching experience with Suncats, ABC Apollo, and the last 5 years with TEAM Hiki No. I’m now in my 9th year of club to go along with 12 years of high school coaching.

Volleyball has taught me a lot about life and has provided a wonderful training ground for my own children, all of whom love the game and have played for several years. I’m excited to join the NPJ coaching staff and have the opportunity to share my passion for this great sport through teaching and coaching it to developing players.

Jason Corwin- Head Coach 13 National Team



Coach Corwin started coaching volleyball at Waldo Middle School right here in Salem, Oregon in 1999.  He has coached at Springfield, Thurston, and Cottage Grove HS.  He also was the head coach of the Oregon Tech Volleyball team in the Cascade Collegiate Conference from 2009-2014.
Jason has coached club volleyball from 14’s to 18’s in both Eugene and Klamath Falls area..  Coach Corwin teaches at Lincoln Middle School in Cottage Grove, Oregon as a 7/8th grade PE/Health teacher.  He has grown up in the Willamette Valley, has 2 children (22 & 16), and is a veteran of the Air Force.


Brittany Eudy- Head Coach 13 Black Team

Currently Coaching: West Albany High School Assistant Varsity Coach

Playing Experience:
I started playing Volleyball my Junior year at Beaverton High School. I transferred my senior year to Sunset High School up in Portland, and played for the Apollos. I was named 2nd team all-league as a right side hitter, and got recruited by Head coach Judy Lovre, to play for Western Oregon University, a Division II school.

Coaching Experience:
I am currently in my 4th season of coaching volleyball at West Albany High School. This will be my first year of club coaching, and am really excited to be a part of the NPJ family. After going back and obtaining my Masters degree in teaching, I spent my first year as a volunteer JV assistant coach for South Salem High School.
Other Experience:
I was the JV softball coach for one year at West Albany High School, before taking some time off to have another child.

I graduated from Western Oregon University in 2005. A few years later, I went back to school to obtain my Masters degree in teaching. Shortly after, I got my first teaching position at West Albany High school. After the first year at West, I got the volleyball itch, and started assisting the volleyball program under the head coach Kelli Backer.
I have been married to my husband for almost 10 years. My husband is a football and wrestling coach for Sprague H.S. We have three children, who love being involved in the sports world just as much as we do!

-Claire Davis-

Currently Coaching: Central High School- Head Coach

Playing Background: 4 year starting varsity setter and right side hitter at Corbett High School in Corbett Oregon. Made second team all-league as a sophomore, and first team all-league as a junior and senior. Due to a shoulder injury my volleyball career ended after high school.

Coaching Background: Assistant coach for Mt. Hood Volleyball Club’s 12’s black for 2 years, and assistant volleyball coach for Mt. Hood Volleyball Club’s 14’s black team. JV II head coach for one year. In 2018, became the head coach at Central High School. Heading into my fifth year of coaching, my second year at Central High School.

Denee Newton-

Denee Newton started playing volleyball for Rosie Honl when she was in 7th grade. There, she played high school for Rosie Honl at Crook County High School.
There she was first team all league as a sophomore junior and senior – and all tournament as a senior.
Denee played for Rimrock Volleyball Club for Joel Kent for four years and still stays close to those central Oregon connections.
Denee played for Corban University for two years but surgery on both knees ended her career and lead her to coaching. In 2005 she coached webfoot until getting a teaching job at South Albany High. She coached at SAHS from 2010-2016. Last fall was her first season as head coach at Philomath where they grabbed the league title- she got coach of the year her first head as head coach there.
She also has a 7 and 3 year old daughter that are often in the gym with her and keep her busy!

Courtney Higlin- Head Coach 12 Elite Team Assistant Coach 13 National Team Assistant Coach 18 Black Team

Since I was young volleyball has always been a drive of mine. Starting in elementary school moving my way up to middle school and then playing at West Salem high school. My freshman through senior year I played on varsity. Aside from school ball I was involved with club volleyball for 5 years as well.
After  I graduated from West Salem High School in 2013, I continued my volleyball career as a setter/captain for Chemeketa Community College where we placed 5th in the NWAC conference.
This past season was my first year with NPJ where I coached the 12 elite team and assisted with the 14 national team. My goal as a coach is to have athletes walk away with knowledge, technique and passion for the game while having a fun and memorable experience.

Jacque Walker- Head Coach 12 Black Team

An All State athlete in volleyball, basketball and track graduated in 1985 from La Grande High School.  She attended Warner Pacific College in the fall of 1985 and helped lead her team to the National Christian College Championships where she was named an Honorable Mention All American.  She then transferred to Oregon State and was on the Oregon State Volleyball team through 1986 before an injury ended her collegiate career.  She then transferred to University of Oregon and was an all-star club, grass and sand player and began coaching at North Eugene High School for two years.  She coached the JV team at La Grande High School for two years and then moved to Salem as an Assistant Coach for Willamette University’s  Volleyball team in 1992. Jacque also coached two seasons with Emerald City Volleyball Club.  She spent two years as the Head Coach at Sprague High School and started Salem Volleyball Club through the Boys and Girls Club where it stayed for four seasons.  In 1996 she became the Head Coach at North Marion High School and turned the program around with three consecutive years of state qualified teams.  She took time off with her family until 2012 and began coaching again.  She ran her own club for one year and then coached a 14U team with Salem Volleyball Club last season.  This is her first season with NPJ!

Telia McDonald-

Coaching Experience:

Telia McDonald has experience coaching volleyball at all levels. She started her coaching career coaching at the club level for Washington County Juniors and Idaho Elite while playing college volleyball. She then returned back to Texas to coach middle school volleyball and basketball along with club volleyball. She coached for Xtreme Volleyball Club in Houston, Texas where she finished 3rd place at Junior Nationals in 2013 (2009-2013). Also while in Houston,

Telia coached at Wharton County Junior College where she was the assistant coach for the pioneers for four seasons (2009-2013).

McDonald just completed her 4th season as the Head Volleyball Coach at Auburn Mountainview High School in Washington where she has finished 5th place & 7th place at the state championship in 4A (2014-2018). This will be her first season at NPJ!

Playing Experience:

Telia McDonald started playing volleyball in 7th grade in College Station, Texas. She attended A&M Consolidated High School were she was a 4 year starter for volleyball as a middle blocker. She played club volleyball for Brazos Valley Juniors and was recruited to play volleyball in college. McDonald played two years at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas and then got a scholarship to continue playing at Boise State University. She was a 4 year starter for both schools as an outside hitter.

Other playing experience: McDonald was a 3 year starter for basketball and 4 year athlete for track in high school. She had offers for both basketball and track but volleyball is truly her passion.

Personal: Telia graduated from Boise State University with a degree in biology and currently working on a master’s in educational leadership at University of Oregon. She recently finished up my 4th year of teaching special education at Auburn Mountainview High School in Washington and taught 5 years in the Houston School District. Her husband, Michael McDonald, played football and graduated from Purdue University. He also has a master’s from Boise State in Kinesiology. Michael is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for Oregon State Football and they are excited for their new journey in Oregon.



Haylee Savage-

Coaching Background:
My coaching began in 2016 where I coached for Cowlitz Volleyball Club. In my two years there I assistant coached the 18-2 team, and then was the head coach of the 14-1 team the following year. Currently I am the junior varsity coach at Crescent Valley High School.
Playing Background:
I was a two year starter at Lebanon High School in Lebanon, Oregon. I was captain my junior and senior year, honorable mention setter junior year, first team all league setter senior year, and helped lead my team to a fourth and fifth place finish at the state tournament. After high school I continued my athletic career at Lower Columbia College in Longview, Washington. In my time at LCC I was a two year starter and awarded NWAC setter of the week 8/11 times my sophomore season, second team all league, first team all NWAC, and an NWAC champion. In my two years we made it to the NWAC tournament both years. In 2015 finishing in the top eight, and winning the NWAC Championship in 2016.


Kelli Backer-
kelli backer

My volleyball experience began as a player at South Albany High School with Coach Steve Pensinger, where I played on a state placing varsity team as a setter.  I then played at Western Oregon under head coach Judy Lovre.  As a senior at WOSC, we took third in the nation for NAIA.  I learned many of my coaching strategies from the two quality coaches I was lucky enough to play for in high school and college.

I have coached many levels over the last 25 years.  I began coaching for the South Albany Club team right out of high school.  I then coached for a year at Western Oregon State College with Judy Lovre while I finished my degree.  After college, I got my first teaching job at West Albany High School, where I became the head volleyball coach in 1996.  I have been the head coach for 13 years at West Albany, taking a small break in the middle to start my family.  During my 13 years, we have been to the state tournament the last 7 consecutive years, and won the Class 5A State Championship the last 2 seasons.  I have also been coaching club ball for the Mid-Valley Volleyball Club the last 3 years at the 12U and 14U divisions.

Volleyball is my passion, and I use it to teach young women life skills through the best sport on Earth.  I believe that through volleyball we can teach our young women to be confident, contributing members of society.

Lina Ruvalcaba-

Ever since I was a little kid, I enjoyed watching volleyball games at my school and on television. I started playing when I was 13 and have been active in the sport since then. I coached two years for the club team Invasion 14’s. I coached one year as Head Coach for the middle school program in Saint Paul, Oregon. I also volunteered coaching 3rd and 4th graders. I have been a part of different camps assisting. I strive to make all my players reach their full potential. Volleyball is my passion.


Coach’s Responsibilities:

  1. Provide each player and her family a handbook of protocol and schedule of practices and competitions
  2. Establish policies for supervision, training and coaching conduct
  3. Provide a communication tree for all families and players
  4. Prepare a schedule of drills and objectives prior to each practice
  5. Teach proper technique and fundamentals to all players.
  6. Teach and model proper strategies for optimal individual skill and team play
  7. Communicate clearly to each player her role on the team and redirect her efforts when they stray from the mission
  8. Balance hard work, FUN, and discipline during all practices and competitions
  9. Provide a positive and trusting environment for all players, including opportunities for reflective discussions and competition debriefing
  10. Lead by example: present as a positive role model for all players both on and off the court.
  11. Support and encourage all NPJ teams to play with confidence and commitment to winning
  12. Prepare each athlete to respond appropriately to a variety of situations that occur both on and off the court.