John Newberry will return as assistant volleyball coach for the University of Central Arkansas. His duties include recruiting coordinator.
“Like Marissa (assistant coach Collins), he was a big part of the rich tradition of success in this great program,” said UCA coach Jeni Jones Chatman. “John brings a tremendous personality, work ethic, and knowledge of the game. UCA is home for him, and his love for Central Arkansas, and the Purple and Gray, radiates from him.”
A native of Crossett, Newberry first joined the Central Arkansas family as an All-America punter for UCA’s football team from 2000-2003 before serving as an assistant coach for UCA Volleyball for the 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons. He helped lead the Sugar Bears to an overall record of 79-21 (.790) and a mark of 46-6 in Southland Conference play (.885) in addition to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances in 2012 and 2013 and three-straight SLC Tournament finals appearances.
“I was in Conway for 15 years, from college until two years ago, so this is home for me,” said Newberry. “We won a good chunk while I was here, Jeni has done a great job, and I really feel like we have a chance to win the conference again, and I really want to help her, Marissa, and the team put more banners on the wall.”
Newberry has spent the past two seasons at Mississippi State, helping the Bulldogs to two of the most successful seasons in over a decade. With Newberry’s help, MSU won at least 14 matches in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2005-2006. Newberry also coordinated a Bulldog blocking scheme that put up 260.5 blocks, a total that is good for eighth-most in program history, and 12 matches with at least 10 blocks, the most in program history.
“At the SEC level, the girls are bigger and they jump higher, but they don’t necessarily hit harder, so the game is still the same,” said Newberry. “It’s still Division I volleyball. When I was as UCA before, we beat ranked teams and we beat SEC teams, and we can still do that.”
Newberry and the Sugar Bears open the 2017 season with a pair of exhibitions, playing their annual Purple and Gray Scrimmage on Aug. 18th and their Alumni match on Aug. 19th.