First Match As Collegiate Head Coach Slated To Come Against The Bulldogs

Jill Schopieray A former Ferris State University women's volleyball player and assistant coach has joined the head coaching ranks as Jill (Behrns) Schopieray was selected as the new head coach at NCAA Division II Saint Joseph's (Ind.) in an announcement made recently (April 6) by SJC Athletics Director Bill Massoels.

Schopieray, who has spent the last two seasons as an assistant coach at NCAA-I Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., also formerly served for two years as the head varsity volleyball coach at Big Rapids High School. She will be the Pumas seventh head coach in the program's 31-year history.

She succeeds former head coach Linda Deno, who has stepped down to focus on her administrative duties as the Associate Athletics Director and Compliance Coordinator. SJC is a member of the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) in Rensselaer, Ind.

Schopieray began her collegiate playing career at Northeastern Illinois during the 1997 season, but transferred to Ferris State after the school discontinued its program following her freshman year. She ranked seventh on NIU's squad in kills, service aces and total blocks in her initial collegiate campaign.

While at Ferris State, Schopieray helped the Bulldogs compile a 93-38 (.710) overall record from 1998-2002 while serving two seasons each as both a player (1998-99) and the squad's second assistant coach (2000-01). In 1999, she was the recipient of the team's Heart Award as a result of playing despite reoccurring knee problems. She totaled 13 digs and nine service aces in 18 matches (1999) after playing in six outings during the 1998 campaign.

As a player, she was a member of FSU's 1999 NCAA-II Tournament squad, which compiled a 26-8 overall record under head coach Tia Brandel-Wilhelm. The Bulldogs posted a 38-18 (.679) record in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) action in her two-year FSU playing career.

Schopieray joined the Bulldog coaching staff in 2000 and helped guide Ferris State to a 21-11 overall record and a second-place GLIAC finish in 2001. The Bulldogs won 20 matches or more in all four of her seasons with the program.

Schopieray took over the varsity head coaching duties at Big Rapids High School after earning her Bachelor's Degree in marketing from Ferris in 2001. She led the Cardinals to their first conference championship in 15 years during the 2003-04 campaign while serving two seasons as the program's head coach.

After leaving Big Rapids, Schopieray headed to Bradley, where her responsibilities have included practice organization, recruiting, scouting, match preparation and setter training under head coach Scott Luster. The Braves recorded a 16-17 overall record in 2005, marking the program's best finish since the 2002 campaign. Schopieray was also active in helping with team travel and camps while in Peoria.

A 1997 graduate of Dieterich (Ill.) High School, Schopieray earned All-Midland Trail Conference, all-area and team Most Valuable Player Award honors as a prep senior. She led her high school squad to a conference championship while attaining all-conference honors during her junior season.

Schopieray was married in June of 2003 to Jayme Schopieray, a Big Rapids native who formerly served in a game management role with the FSU Athletics Department prior to moving to Peoria.

Schopieray inherits a Saint Joseph's team which finished 10-22 last season and is two years removed from its most recent GLVC Tournament appearance. Twelve of the squad's 15 letterwinners from last year will return next fall.

Her first match as a collegiate head coach is tentatively slated to be a non-league tilt against Ferris State Thursday, Aug. 24, starting at 7 p.m. (EDT) in FSU's Ewigleben Sports Arena at Big Rapids. The Pumas will also compete in the annual Ferris State Invitational Friday and Saturday, Aug. 25-26, with match times still to be announced.

Besides Schopieray, two other former assistant coaches under Brandel-Wilhelm have recently landed head coaching positions. Lee Anderson (2003-05) completed his first season as head coach at NCAA-II Glenville State (W.Va.) last fall while former assistant Jason Smith (2001-02) landed the head coaching position at Arizona Western College in March after a three-year stint as an assistant coach at the University of Utah.

Photo Courtesy of Saint Joseph's College Sports Information Office

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