Barnes Announces Hiring of Assistant Coaches

March 18, 2002


University of Wyoming head volleyballcoach Jim Barnes announced today the hiring of Candice O'Brien andMelissa Ferris as assistant coaches with the Cowgirl volleyball program.Both hirings are subject to UW Board of Trustee approval.

"Both of these individuals bring a great deal of knowledge about thegame to the Wyoming program," said head volleyball coach Jim Barnes. "Ifeel the qualities and abilities they bring really fit well together,and the knowledge and experience of the entire coaching staff will be vital in developing a Top 30 program."

Candice O'Brien comes to Wyoming from the Lamar University (Beaumont,Texas), where she was an assistant coach for the past year under Barnes.She joined the Lamar coaching staff after one season as the head coachat Niagara Community College.

O'Brien was a four-year letterwinner and all-conference performer atthe University of Buffalo in New York. As an outside hitter for theBulls, she finished her career as the school's all-time leader in killswith 1,641 and second in digs with 1,377. She also set the single-seasonmark with 510 kills, and ranks first in kill average for a season with4.416, for a career with 3.440 and is fourth all-time in service aceswith 184.

O'Brien received her bachelor's degree in exercise science from Buffaloin 1997. She and her husband Pete are expecting their first child inJuly.

"Candice O'Brien's playing and coaching experience will be a big assetin the growth of the program," said Barnes.

Melissa Ferris joins the Cowgirl program after spending four years atSouthwest Texas State in San Marcos, Texas. While at Southwest Texas,she was responsible for all the day-to-day activities, such asrecruiting, preparing scouting reports and coordinate team practices.During that time, she was the head coach of the Austin Junior VolleyballAssociation from 1998-2000. She was also a Volunteer Assistant Coach atthe University of Arizona and the head coach of the Zona VolleyballClub, Inc. for a short time in 1998.

A four-year letterwinner at the University of Arizona in Tucson, shewas a member of the United States Olympic Festival Team as a sophomore.Ferris also played in Switzerland in 1996 and for the NationalVolleyball Association Team in 1996-97. Her career awards include beinga member of the Pac-10 Conference All-Decade Team in 1998 and inductioninto the Pinecrest High School Hall of Fame in 2000.

A native of North Carolina, she earned her bachelor's degree in familystudies in 1996 from the University of Arizona.

"Melissa Ferris, who has been a recruiting coordinator in the past, Ifeel is a big time recruiter and that will be her main focus for us. Herplaying experience at the University of Arizona will also help us inseveral areas and she's a quality person, which will help us in ourprogram."