College Sports

Royals tap Long as new volleyball coach

Hannah Long replaces Lettie Wilkes, who spent five seasons leading the Royals’ volleyball program.
Hannah Long replaces Lettie Wilkes, who spent five seasons leading the Royals’ volleyball program. Queens Sports Information

Queens’ volleyball team will have a new head coach next season, with Hannah Long joining the program March 30 after 12 seasons leading Southwestern University’s program.

Long replaces Lettie Wilkes, who spent five seasons leading the Royals’ volleyball program. She compiled an 81-74 record overall and 56-42 in conference play in that time.

“This is such a unique and special opportunity,” Long said in a prepared release. “Queens’ commitment to achieving success on a national level is obvious.

“I was so impressed with everyone I met. The university has a clear vision for providing the best student-athlete experience possible with state of the art facilities, dedicated professional staff support, and first-class educational programs. This dedication to athletic success, without sacrificing education, mirrors my vision as a coach.”

Wilkes posted back-to-back 20-win seasons her first two years, going 23-9 (15-2 Conference Carolinas) in 2011 and 22-12 (13-2 CC) in 2012 before going 17-12 (14-8 CC) in 2013, Queens’ final season in Conference Carolinas.

Once the move was made to the South Atlantic Conference, the Royals began to struggle. They went 6-25 (3-19 SAC) in 2014, but improved to 13-16 (11-11 SAC) last season, good for sixth place in the league standings.

At Southwestern, Long compiled a 363-94 record in 12 seasons, winning three Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference championships (in 2005, 2009 and 2014) and making 10 appearances in the NCAA Division II national tournament, advancing to the regional semifinals six times and the regional finals twice.

Along the way, Long was named the SCAC’s coach of the year five times (2005, 2008, 2009, 2011 and 2014) and the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s South Region coach of the year in 2009.

In her time at Southwestern, Long coached 16 All-Americans, including the program’s first first-team selections in Christina Nicholls in 2011 and Kaitlyn Foster in 2015.

Before taking over Southwestern’s program, Long was an assistant coach at both Western Oregon and Portland State, her alma mater. She was a two-sport athlete (volleyball, where she was an all-Big Sky Conference selection, and basketball) at Portland State, earning the school’s female athlete of the year award in 1999 and female scholar-athlete of the year in 1998.

“Coach Long brings with her a wealth of experience and proven success that will be instrumental in leading our volleyball program,” Queens interim athletics director Cherie Swarthout said in a prepared release.

“With a solid foundation already in place, we are excited to reach new levels of excellence through her vision and under her leadership.”

Squire wins NCAA title

Queens women’s sprinter Nikia Squire became the first athlete in school history to win a national championship in indoor track, taking the 60-meter dash title at the NCAA Division II national championships in Pittsburgh, Kan., on March 12.

Squire, a senior, set and broke her own school record in winning the D-II title. She posted the top time during the preliminaries at 7.34 seconds, then eclipsed that in the final, winning in 7.32 seconds.

Squire’s time in the 60 sprint final was the third-fastest in NCAA Division II nationals history.

The Columbia, S.C., native also finished second in the women’s long jump, setting a school record with a jump of 6.21 meters (20.4 feet).

She tied for the best jump of the final round with Chadron State’s Stacia Reuwsaat, but Reuwsaat won the title by virtue of a tiebreaker – the competitor’s second-best jump of the day. Reuwsaat’s jump of 6.14 meters (20.14 feet) beat out Squire’s 6.04-meter (19.82 foot) jump.

Squire would earn All-American honors in both events for the second straight year, another first for the Royals’ indoor track program.

Bill Kiser is a freelance writer: