Former Oregon State star Arica Nassar was promoted to assistant coach in June 2020.
The 2021 season will be Nassar’s fourth year back on campus in Corvallis after spending the 2018-19 seasons as a graduate student assistant.
During a shortened COVID-19 season in 2020-21, Oregon State went 5-13 in a season that was all conference matches. The Beavers swept Arizona State and California in Nassar's first season as assistant coach, along with a win against USC. She helped coach Grace Massey to the Pac-12 All-Conference Team, while Mychael Vernon and Kateryna Tkachenko each earned Pac-12 Freshman of the Week during the season. Despite the shortened season, four Beavers earned a spot in the program's single-season records. Freshman Izzi Szulchewski recorded the seventh-highest marks for freshman in assists (589) and digs per set (2.82), while posting the fifth-best freshman mark in a season with 8.79 assists per set. Massey notched the seventh-most digs per set in a season with 4.21. The freshman combo of Vernon and Aliyah McDonald tabbed top-10 marks for freshmen, Vernon third with 3.35 kills per set and McDonald with an attacking percentage of .239 for ninth.
“I am extremely excited to welcome Arica into the assistant coach role,” head coach Mark Barnard said at the time of her hiring. “She brings a level of energy that will ignite the recruits and players on this team. Being a former Beaver with one of our most successful teams in NCAA History along with a professional career in Europe makes her the perfect choice for this position. She is an outstanding communicator and has a passion to be a great coach and I have no doubt that she will achieve that. Her recency of experience will enable her to relate both to recruits and our current student-athletes”
Both of her seasons in her role as a GA were marred by injuries to key players.
In 2018, starting middle blocker Kory Cheshire missed the entire season due to injury, outside hitter Shekinah Clarke missing all but four matches and starting opposite Haylie Bennett missing time due to three separate injuries. Despite the injuries, the Beavers finished the preseason with a 10-2 record and road wins over a pair of top 25 teams in Iowa State and San Diego. Massey was named to the Pac-12 All-Academic First Team and five of her teammates were also honored for academics.
In her second year as a GA, the 2019 season was disrupted by a slew of injuries and illness with starting setter Maddie Sheehan going down at midseason and hitters Chloe Brown, Maddie Goings, Cecilee Max-Brown and Amy Underdown missing time including one stretch with all four sidelined. In addition, opposite hitter Nya Buckner missed the full season for the second year in a row. Despite the difficulties, the Beavers won six preseason matches and swept the opening weekend of Pac-12 play for the first time since 2004, beating No. 24 Oregon in five as well as Colorado. Massey earned the second Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week award of her career following the opening week of conference play. Eight OSU players earned Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll.
Nassar returned to the Willamette Valley after working as a volunteer assistant at UCLA in 2017.
One of just two players in OSU history with 1,000 career kills (1,033) and 500 blocks (540), Nassar ranks third all-time in blocks, 13th in points (1,380), and 15th in kills. She led the Beavers in blocks per set all four seasons.
She played in every match during her four years with the Beavers and helped lead her squad to the best season in program history as a senior in 2014. Oregon State posted 21 wins, the third-most in program history, including the Beavers’ first two NCAA postseason victories and a trip to the Regional Semifinals.
She earned a degree in chemistry in 2015 and was a three-time Pac-12 Academic Honorable Mention selection.
Nassar played professionally in Finland (WomanVolley, 2015-16) and Sweden (Engelholm, 2016-17), helping Engelholm to League and Gran Prix Championships.