Vera Nelson is in her 11th year at the helm of Sierra College Volleyball program. Under her guidance the program has finished in the top 10 in NorCal the last 8 out of 11 years. The team has 177-100 overall record, with the highlight being the 2009 team’s trip to the California Community College State Championships where they finished 3rd.
Nelson has coached three All State players, 10 All NorCal regional players and 24 Big 8 All Conference players. She has helped her Sierra teams make the CCCAA All Academic team three different years and has had several players receive All Academic accolades as well.
As a collegiate athlete, Nelson earned a full scholarship to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo where her team finished in the top 8 in the country all four years. She captained her team her senior year as well as was honorable mention Big West All Conference.
After earning her business degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and teaching credential from San Jose State University, Nelson earned her Master’s in Kinesiology (sports performance) from Sacramento State University.
Nelson and her husband Rich have 3 children, Lindsay, Taylor and Darren.
Whitnack has over ten years of NCAA Division I and II coaching experience. She most recently served as an assistant volleyball coach at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco, Prior to that Whitnack spent three seasons at Fresno State, joining the Bulldog coaching staff in April of 2008. In both places she helped the programs earn their first ever AVCA Team Academic awards and trained several players to all conference, all region, and one All-American accolades.
Whitnack spent 2007 as an assistant at her alma mater, University of Nevada. She was co-director of the Nevada volleyball summer camps and assisted in the development of four Western Athletic Conference selections (two first-team, one second-team and one freshman).
Prior to that, Whitnack worked at the College of William and Mary in Virginia from 2003-2006. During her time there, she had a hand in the development of three All-Colonial Athletic Association selections, a rookie of the year and a defensive specialist of the year award winner. She established and co-owned the Colonial volleyball summer camps. Jackson was also the director of coaching development and a head coach for the Williamsburg Volleyball Club from 2004-2007.
She began her collegiate coaching career as a volunteer assistant at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The 2002 squad made a Sweet 16 appearance.
As a collegiate athlete, Whitnack earned a full scholarship to the University of Nevada in 1997 after transferring from De Anza College in San Jose, Calif. At De Anza, Whitnack was a two-time captain, two-time Coast Conference MVP and two-time all-state selection.
As a senior at Nevada she led the Big West Conference in assists per game, finished ranked 16th in the nation in assists per game and was named to the All-Conference Second Team, guiding the Wolf Pack to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. That same season she earned Big West All-Academic recognition and Nevada's Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year award. She captained the 1998 Wolf Pack squad that won the Eastern side of the Big West Conference for the first time ever.
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