NEW LONDON, Conn.--Coast Guard Academy has hired Aylene Ilkson as the head coach of the women's volleyball team after a national search that produced a very strong applicant pool.
Ilkson was the top assistant at Springfield College for the past three seasons as the team has posted a three-year record of 81-12 overall and 24-3 in league play.
"I'm really excited to have the opportunity to work with these elite athletes that also serve their country," said Ilkson. "It's a privilege to work for the Coast Guard Academy and I'm excited to build upon the regional and national success that this program has achieved."
She was a four-year starter, two-time All-conference and All-New England performer for the Pride as the team compiled a record of 108-31 overall and won the 2008 New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) championship. She earned All-America honors from the American Volleyball Coaches Association in 2008.
Ilkson began her coaching career as a student assistant coach with the Springfield College men's program during the 2009 season before being named the head coach of the girls volleyball team at Oceanside High School in Oceanside, New York.
She graduated from Springfield in 2009 with a degree in Movement and Sports Studies and received her Master's Degree in Athletic Administration. Ilkson is currently working towards her certificate of Graduate Studies in Advancing Coaching.
"We're very pleased that Aylene Ilkson has chosen to join us here at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy," said Tim Fitzpatrick, Coast Guard Academy Director of Athletics. "Women's volleyball has been extremely successful over time here at Coast Guard, and I have no doubt that we will continue to achieve and exceed under Aylene's skillful guidance and instruction. She is a bright, enthusiastic, determined and gifted coach who will be an asset to our cadet-athletes from the very beginning. Today is a great day for Bears volleyball!"
The Bears were 18-14 overall and 6-3 in the NEWMAC last season. They return senior middle blocker Kelsey DePorto, who has earned first team All-conference honors for the last three seasons. DePorto led the Bears with a .356 hitting percentage and 105 blocks and she was second with 274 kills last season.
Ilkson will start at the Coast Guard Academy on June 15th.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT AYLENE ILKSON
Larry Bock, Head Coach, U.S. Naval Academy
"Aylene is one of the rising stars in the volleyball coaching world. She will be an immediate asset to the Academy as well as the volleyball coaching communities. Congratulations to the Coast Guard Academy for a great volleyball hire.'
Moria Long, Head Coach, Springfield College
"First and foremost she is an outstanding human being, a quality leader and a great coach. She knows the game and has passion for volleyball. She will do a great job leading the cadets. I don't relish the date we have to play them. She knows so much about our team and about me. I wish we could have kept her here."
Patty Giannattasio, all-time winningest volleyball coach at Coast Guard, with a 211-99 record from from 1997-2006 including a trip to the NCAA Elite 8 in 2006.
(Aylene coached Patty's daughter Molly at Springfield and Patty coached against Aylene)
"Aylene is an extremely competitive and enthusiastic coach who has a solid foundation in the game. I have seen her progress from a player to an assistant coach and encouraged her to step into a head coach role somewhere. She really cares about the players and is excited about learning about the culture at the Coast Guard Academy"