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By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

Volleyball director of operations earns AVCA Diversity Award

File Photo by Ethan Stoler
Head volleyball coach Sarah Bernson said the team has spent time virtually with Gianna, an 8-year-old battling an autoimmune disorder, over Zoom.

The volleyball program’s director of operations earned an American Volleyball Coaches Association Diversity Award, according to a press release Tuesday.

Bailey Williams is in her first year with the Colonials, joining the program after four seasons at George Mason where she racked up 961 kills in 357 total sets. Williams was sponsored by Atlantic 10 head coaches for the honor and was one of 26 sponsored award recipients. She was the only A-10 member chosen for the award.

“As a Black female and former student-athlete, I knew firsthand the challenges faced in a predominantly White sport,” Williams said in the release. “Now, in my transition from a student-athlete to joining a coaching staff, I hope to be a positive role model for student-athletes of color. I look forward to growing as a coach and using my voice to help advocate for women of color in the sport of volleyball.”

With her award, Williams will have access to a virtual series of educational, developmental and relationship-building programs, and she will be invited to in-person programs at the 2021 AVCA Convention, the release said.

She will also join the AVCA Diversity Award winner alumni group, which will continue to provide additional educational, relationship building and mentorship opportunities after completing the program, the release states.

Head coach Sarah Bernson said in the release that Williams’ membership will serve as a “gateway to networking, education and support.” She added that Williams is a “great fit” to represent the A-10 as it works to increase representation among coaches.

“Being both a student-athlete and a [Student-Athlete Advisory Committee] leader at George Mason and now a graduate assistant at George Washington, Bailey is a great fit to represent the Atlantic 10 in our coaching association governing body and our growing push to support a diverse group of coaches,” Bernson said in the release.

Assistant coach Christian Kiselica, who also joined the program in March, said in the release he was “thrilled” Williams received the award. He added that she works diligently and displays an “incredible” growth mindset in her first year with the program.

“Every day she comes in with a spark to help propel our program forward,” Kiselica said in the release. “We truly value Bailey’s experience as a former A-10 athlete and her diverse point of view as a person of color. Most of all, she is a prime role model for our student-athletes and will help guide our program to future success on and off the court.”

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