Meet Nicole: From Record Setting Player to Trail Blazing Head Coach

Meet Nicole: From Record Setting Player to Trail Blazing Head Coach

A new era in UCSB women's volleyball begins this fall when the Gauchos host national powerhouse Stanford on August 30. Headlining this new era is new head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch. Before taking over for the Gauchos, the 2012 ACC Coach of the Year built the University of Miami (Fla.) program from putting together its inaugural team to making the NCAA tournament four consecutive seasons. This week, we asked Lantagne Welch about her playing days at the University of Maryland and her transition into coaching.

Season tickets for Lantagne Welch's first season at the helm are now available by calling 805 893-UCSB (8272) or by going online. Family Plans of five season tickets- two adults and three GKids- can also be purchased for $100. Adult tickets will receive the commemorative UCSB Volleyball long sleeved shirt with purchase and GKids will receive the 2013 GKids t-shirt.

Each season ticket holder will have access to the Founders Room for light pregame refreshments.

How has your experience playing the setter position helped you in your coaching career?

In general I think a lot of people who become coaches were setters and it's probably a lot in part that you're running the show on the court and you're that player in charge of where everyone needs to be and what plays need to be run to be successful. You're already kind of thinking in a different mindset than some of your teammates would be. I'm sure having that kind of background was something that carried over since I was already thinking about the game in a different way.

Do you agree with the notion that the setter is coach on the floor?

Oh yes, the setter is a lot like the coach on the floor– like the quarterback in football, or like the point guard in basketball. Those are some comparisons that are very relevant.

Did your coaches at Maryland instill a lot of trust in you as a player?

Definitely. There's going to be times when they want to run a certain play through you and that's great since they have the knowledge from what they've seen on the sidelines; they can see a lot more. But they also trust that you're going to make a lot of those decisions on the fly as well to help your team be successful.

How was your transition from playing to coaching?

It was an easy transition for me. I went to a new place at Ohio University, so I didn't know the players and I hadn't played with them. It was easy to be on staff since I already knew Ellen Dempsey who was an assistant coach at Maryland. I knew a lot of the things that we were running and what we were doing since I did them as a player. It was a pretty smooth transition for me to the coaching side.

Who has influenced you as a coach?

Some of my biggest influences would be my sister Jenelle Duvall and my boss at Texas A&M Laurie Corbelli. Jenelle is my older sister of three years and she's been a role model of mine for years. She was also a setter. We played a lot together, so we probably coached us when we played. I just learned so much from her over the years.

Lori really invited me in to see every side of a program and help prepare me to be a head coach. She shared with me everything she had to deal like things that you wouldn't realize that head coaches are dealing with sometimes. She's a great person and great coach. I learned a ton about the game from her, how to deal with people, and about every other aspect of coaching from her.

You've experienced success as both a player and a coach. Which do you prefer: playing or coaching?

I love competing, so you get that in both. I'm someone who wants to compete in everything I do. I love the aspect of competing at the highest level. So as a player, that's when you're in the moment, that's when you're playing. As a coach, that's the process of getting people to reach their potential to get out there and compete at their best. I'm fortunate that I get to experience that in different ways. I'm not favorable of one over the other. I have competition in my life.  


Check back here at for more Meet Nicole Interviews leading up to the season opener on Aug. 30 against no. 3 Stanford in the Thunderdome. 

To read past editions of Meet Nicole, click here.