|Alma Mater:||Southern Mississippi|
Melissa Batie-Smoose is in her third season as the head coach of the Holy Cross volleyball program in 2017. She is the 10th head coach in the history of the program.
During the 2016 season, Batie-Smoose led Holy Cross to its most victories since 2011 with a 10-19 overall record and 6-10 Patriot League mark. The team’s six conference wins tied for the school’s most league victories captured in a single season since joining the Patriot League in 1990. The Crusaders have tallied six conference wins just four other times (2000, 2004, 2011 and 2014), while their 10-19 overall mark stands as its best record in five seasons.
Mandy Sifferlen was named first team All-Patriot League and Academic All-Patriot League, while setting two school records with 497 kills in a single season and averaging 4.97 kills per set, good for ranking sixth in the nation at the conclusion of Holy Cross’ season. Two other school records were set in 2016, including Emily Popp’s 1,381 career digs and Mary Mullen’s 247 career blocks.
In her two years as head coach of the program, Batie-Smoose led Holy Cross to its most wins out any of the program’s head coaches in their first two seasons since 1989, when John Cody led his Holy Cross squad to 23 victories in his first two years.
Under Batie-Smoose in 2016, Holy Cross earned victories over Patriot League foes Bucknell, Lafayette, Loyola (Md.) and Lehigh. The team averaged a .170 hitting percentage, which stands seventh all-time in the program’s history, while notching 1,544 digs, which rank eighth in school history.
In addition, to the team’s league wins, the Crusaders started the season with non-conference victories over North Carolina Central before taking down Brown for the first time since 1987. Outside Patriot League play, Holy Cross added wins over Quinnipiac and La Salle.
In Batie-Smoose’s first season, the Crusaders posted wins over Quinnipiac, UMass Lowell, Hartford, Navy, Loyola (Md.) and Lafayette. Mandy Sifferlen was named to the Academic All-Patriot League Team, as well as Second Team All-Patriot League. The team tallied a total of 1,185 kills, which is the most since the 2010 season and is tied for fifth-best in program history. Additionally, the Crusaders posted 1,105 assists which is third-best in team history and earned 201.5 blocks, which is the most since 1991.
With over 20 years of collegiate coaching experience including in the Ivy League, ACC, SEC, Conference USA and Missouri Valley conferences, Batie-Smoose spent three seasons (2012-2014) as the head coach at Cornell where she brought an up-tempo, aggressive style of play.
The program made history in 2014 with the school’s first Ivy League Defensive Player of the Year as Natasha Rowland earned the honor. The team also had two Ivy League Rookie of the Week awards, a first for the program since 2006. In 2013, Cornell proved to be strong defensively, ranking first in the conference in blocks (2.27 per set) and third overall in opponent hitting percentage (.204). Under her direction, Rachel D’Epagnier, Breanna Wong and Rowland were named to the All-Ivy team, the most selections for the Big Red volleyball program since the 2008 season. In her first campaign with the Big Red, Batie-Smoose led the squad to a record of 9-16 overall and 5-9 in the Ivy League. Both win totals were the highest since 2008. Cornell finished 2012 strong, earning victories in three of its final four games, which included snapping an 11-match losing streak to Princeton.
Batie-Smoose was the most successful head coach in the history of Savannah College of Art & Design, guiding the team to an 81-43 overall record (.653) from 2008-2011. The 2009 Sun Conference Coach of the Year led her squad to a conference tournament title and an appearance in the NAIA national tournament. That team ranked as high as 20th nationally. She previously served as head coach at Nova Southeastern University (2005), helping recruit a core of players that would advance to the Elite Eight of the 2008 NCAA Division Division II tournament.
In addition to serving as a head coach at the NAIA and Division II levels, Batie-Smoose also served as an assistant coach in the ACC, SEC, Conference USA and Missouri Valley Conferences. She spent two seasons as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at Florida State (2006-07) and two years as an assistant at Wake Forest (2003-04), a year at Creighton (1998) and four seasons at Charlotte (1992, 1994-96). Batie-Smoose also spent a year as a volunteer assistant at Florida (2000). After her first season at Charlotte, Batie-Smoose spent one year as an assistant volleyball and softball coach at Allegheny College (1993) before returning to assist the 49ers.
Batie-Smoose has also had great success at the junior level. She spent two seasons as the head coach of the Gainesville Juniors 16/1 Club Team. Ranked eighth nationally, they finished in the top 10 at nationals. One of her Gainesville pupils, Marcie Hampton, was named to the 2007 U.S. Women’s National Team. Batie-Smoose also coached Team Florida, part of the USA High Performance Program, and took them to the Volley Classic in Utah.
Batie-Smoose earned a degree in sports administration from Southern Mississippi in 1991. She was a two-year starter for the Golden Eagles after transferring to Southern Miss from Texas Tech, where she played her first two years. A two-time team MVP for Southern Miss, Batie-Smoose still ranks in the top 10 on the school’s career list for solo blocks and total blocks and is on the single season charts for blocking assists.