Blackwood hired as new volleyball coach

Clay Blackwood

July 31, 2007

Olympia, WA - After a long search Evergreen Athletic Director Dave Weber has announced that Clay Blackwood will be the Head Women's Volleyball for the Geoducks.

Blackwood, who will work full time at The Evergreen State College as coach and the Recreation and Fitness Coordinator, will start his new position immediately.

Formerly at Olympic College in Bremerton, WA, Blackwood coached the volleyball team from 2004 to 2006. In his second season as head coach for the Rangers Blackwood advanced the team to the NWAACC tournament. Before coaching at Olympic College he coached eight seasons at North Kitsap High School.

Blackwood has strong roots in the Kitsap Peninsula area, attending high school in Poulsbo. He earned his associates degree from Olympic College in 2001 and in addition to coaching volleyball, he also coached softball for five years at the same institution. Blackwood received his B.A. in Workforce and Education from Southern Illinois University in 2002.

With less than a month before the first volleyball match, Blackwood's first priority and challenge is to bring his new team together and pull in some late recruits. "In addition to bringing together former team members I have been searching high and low to put together a team" Blackwood shared. "We are holding tryouts and our first practice on Friday. It will be a tough transition but we'll make it work".

Sharing coaching duties with Blackwood will be Gerry Cassel. Cassel has been an assistant to Blackwood for the past three seasons at OC. Having worked together in the past will help tremendously in starting the program basically from scratch. "We are both enthusiastic to be a part of a four year program" adds Blackwood.

Cassel is currently attending Pacific Lutheran University pursuing a teaching degree.

A baseball player in high school and college, Blackwood found an interest in the new sport after enrolling in a volleyball class while attending OC. Nine years later he was teaching the same class. He studied the game closely, played in adult leagues and found he had a strong pull to coach the sport.

The Evergreen Volleyball Team, which struggled last season with a 3-16 record, has a hopeful outlook for the future. Immediate success in '07 will be tough to achieve. Blackwood has the experience to build the program back to better days in the future.