Former Morgan State volleyball player and assistant coach Ashley Preston was recently named Coppin State’s head volleyball coach, as announced by Derrick Ramsey, CSU’s director of athletics.

“Ashley is one of the rising young stars in college volleyball, and we were fortunate to hire her,” said Ramsey. “Ashley was very successful in the classroom and on the court as a student-athlete, and I want her to bring those winning attributes to our program.”

Preston becomes the 10th head coach in Coppin State volleyball history and will look to make her mark in her second stint as a head coach. Last season, in her lone year as head coach at Spelman College, Preston led the Jaguars to a 9-16 record, which established a school record for wins in a season, while also serving as the school’s sports information director. Prior to Spelman, Preston served as an assistant coach at Loyola (Md.) and Morgan State.

“I’m so fortunate that Mr. Ramsey and Coppin State Athletics have afforded me the opportunity to coach in the same conference that I have played in,” said Preston. “Baltimore is my second home and I had so many great experiences in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and I love historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) sports. I have played and coached in the MEAC before, but being a head coach is most fulfilling. I’m so grateful for coaches like Ramona Riley-Bozier, Scott Pennewill and Millicent Sylvan Van Norden, who have all helped me pursue my goal of being a head coach.”

Preston ranks as one of the top players in Morgan State history. She was a three-time first-team All-MEAC selection from 2004-06 and is the Lady Bears’ all-time leader in digs with 2,066. She led the team in digs all four years and also owns the top three marks in Morgan State history for digs in a season, including a school record 640 digs during her sophomore campaign, breaking the previous record of 525 which she set as a freshman. During her tenure she helped Morgan State to a total of 68 wins and was essential to the Lady Bears having one of their best seasons in five years as a junior. That year she helped the team to a 23-9 mark and a 10-0 record against MEAC North Division opponents, as Morgan State advanced to the MEAC Tournament championship match in 2006.

Off the court Preston was equally impressive. A native of Las Vegas, Nev., Preston was a three-time recipient of the MEAC Commissioner’s All-Academic Award and garnered Arthur Ashe Scholar’s first team honors as a junior. Following her junior season Preston also earned the Elijah Rowe Award, which goes to the female athlete with the highest grade point average at Morgan State.

Preston graduated in May of 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in telecommunications and was honored that summer as Morgan State’s representative for the MEAC Woman of the Year Award.

“The landscape of MEAC volleyball has changed and every team is a contender for the championship and I feel as though Coppin is right in the trenches fighting for our spot,” said Preston. “There is so much growth and opportunity at Coppin and I’m fortunate Mr. Ramsey has given me a chance to build the Eagles’ volleyball program.”

Kevin Paige

Special to the AFRO