NEW ORLEANS — Christabell Hamilton is the new head coach of women’s volleyball at Xavier University of Louisiana.
Hamilton, who has coaching experience at the college, high school and club levels, worked her first day at Xavier on Tuesday.
We are confident that Christabell will do an outstanding job,” XU Athletics Director Dennis Cousin said. “She impressed our search committee with her knowledge, her enthusiasm, her confidence and her personality. She’s a great fit for Xavier.”
Hamilton, 29, coached five seasons (2005-09) at Tarleton State University, an NCAA Division II member in Stephenville, Texas. She was a graduate assistant in the 2005 and 2006 seasons and was promoted to full-time assistant after receiving her master’s degree there. She helped the TexAnns go 22-10 in 2008 — the program’s first winning record in 16 seasons — and reach the semifinals of the Lone Star Conference Tournament for the second time in three years. Tarleton’s 2008 team placed second in the LSC regular season.
She moved to New Orleans in August after her husband, Ronnie, was hired as a men’s basketball assistant coach at Tulane University. She was
a middle-school volleyball coach at Metairie Park Country Day School, then a varsity girls volleyball assistant coach at Louise S. McGehee School, where she helped the Hawks reach the semifinals of Louisiana’s Division IV state playoffs in 2010. She was coaching the girls 17s at Krewe Volleyball Club when Xavier offered her its position.
“I want all my kids to graduate from Xavier, first and foremost,” Hamilton said. “I want them to succeed in volleyball and get recognition on the conference, NAIA and national levels. And most importantly, I want them to be great people — to represent our community, Xavier, as well as their families in a positive light.”
Hamilton was a three-time All-LSC selection — she was known then as Christabell Mariner — at NCAA Division II member Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. She played middle blocker and outside hitter for the Zias from 1999-2002, set school records for kills in a season (575 in 2001) and career (1,695) and was inducted into the ENMU Hall of Honor in 2009. She received her bachelor’s degree from ENMU in 2005.
Hamilton is a native of Pago Pago, America Samoa, and was a standout volleyball player at Tafuna High School, where she had a 4.0 grade-point average and was valedictorian of the Class of 1999. Her uncle, Jesse Sapolu, was a San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman from 1983-97, a two-time Pro Bowl selection and a member of four Super Bowl champions.
“Samoans are known as happy people,” Hamilton said. “We are very family oriented, always put God first and respect others.”
Because of her hiring at Xavier, Hamilton was forced to resign as a player on the American Samoan national team which will compete in the Pacific Games in Nouméa, New Caledonia, in August.
Hamilton replaces Al’lisa Hale, who coached the Gold Nuggets for one season. Xavier was 11-26 in 2010 and placed third in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Tournament. The Gold Nuggets will begin the 2011 regular season in late August.
What They’re Saying About Christabell Hamilton
Mike Maguire, Eastern New Mexico Women’s Volleyball Coach: “You couldn’t have gotten a better coach. Christabell is an extremely fine young lady. She played here four years, broke a lot of records and was as humble as can be. She did a great job when she coached at Tarleton State. I know she’ll do a great job at Xavier. She’s fun-loving and hard-working. You guys are extremely lucky to get her.”
Mary Schindler, Tarleton State Women’s Volleyball Coach: “I am so excited for Christabell. This is going to be a great job for her — to build a program and establish something. She can recruit very well. She has a great personality, and she got along great with our players at Tarleton. She wants to win and she’s driven to win, but she wants to do it the right way. She wants her kids to graduate and do the right things.”
Val Whitfield-Dunn, Louise S. McGehee Girls Volleyball Coach: “There are no negatives about Christabell. She is very lively and upbeat. She has an excellent personality. She’s hilarious. She’s a people person. We are extremely disappointed that she left McGehee, but she is fulfilling one of her dreams, which is to be a head coach. She will do extraordinary and fabulous things for Xavier University and your volleyball program.”