University of Central Arkansas volleyball coach Jeni Jones Chatman has filled a vacancy on her staff with one of the program’s greats, former setter Marissa Collins.
“As a highly-decorated student-athlete, Marissa brings great passion, knowledge, and experience to our staff,” said Chatman. “We also love that she is a person that truly bleeds purple and gray.”
Collins, one of the most highly-decorated players in Sugar Bear history, spent four seasons as the starting setter for UCA. She started all 36 of Central Arkansas’ matches in 2010, becoming the first player in Southland Conference history to garner Freshman of the Year and Setter of the Year honors while ranking 15th in the nation with an average of 11.54 assists per set as the Sugar Bears won the Southland Conference with a 15-1 record.
In her sophomore season Collins named All-Southland Conference Second Team while averaging 10.4 assists per set and leading UCA to a first-place finish in the East Division of the SLC. During her junior campaign, Collins led the league and finishing third nationally with 12.42 assists per set, earning Setter of the Year, All-SLC First, Team, and All-SLC Tournament Team honors as UCA won the Southland Conference Regular Season and Tournament Titles and made its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Collins closed out her collegiate career finishing fourth in the nation with 12.07 assists per set to become the first player in Southland Conference history to earn Player of the Year and Setter of the Year honors in the same season. She helped lead UCA to an 18-0 record in league play and a second-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.
“I really love this school and I love the school pride that people have here,” said Collins. “Central Arkansas was a really good place for me for the four years that I spent here and I had a great experience here. I wanted to be in an atmosphere where I could show players the experience and the culture that I was able to experience when I was at UCA, because it was a life-changing experience for me. I love Arkansas, and I love Conway, the staff here is great, and I’m really excited to be back.”
After playing professionally in Sweden for a season, Collins took a position as a graduate assistant at Mississippi State, joining former UCA head coach David McFatrich and helping to lead the Bulldogs to two of the most successful seasons in program history, and helping MSU’s setters to 1,543 assists in 2016, the third-highest total in program history and the highest total since 1997.
“I’m really ready to be on staff here at UCA and to be involved in making a difference,” she said. “I think that coach Chatman and coach Huskey will be able to help me with the transition from GA to fulltime coach, and I really think that I’ll be able to make a difference here. I feel like I’ve been bleeding purple and gray ever since I stepped on campus here, I love this school so much, so I’m so excited to come back to this culture and be able to share in this experience with a lot of great people.”