Mary Ellen attended Southern Connecticut State University, where she said, after being mentored by the outstanding staff and taught volleyball by Louise Albrecht, she was passionate about helping student-athletes achieve excellence.
Mary Ellen was hired in 1976 by her High School alma mater, The Gilbert School, and her contract was contingent upon her coaching three sports. She has coached almost continually since then, coaching six different boys’ and girls’ sports over the years.
The volleyball program was in its infancy when she took over and was 3-9 in her first season. Over the following 10 years, her teams qualified for the state tournament each year. Her teams also won 3 Northwest League titles and after joining the Berkshire League won additional titles there as well.
In 1979 and 1981, Gilbert played in the state tournament semifinals and in 1983 played in the tournament finals. At the beginning of the ‘86 season, Mary Ellen announced her retirement in order to care for her growing family. That year, Gilbert won its first day championship title. Her 10 year record as head coach was 150 -53. Three years later, she realized she could not stay away and returned as an assistant coach to then head Coach Cindy fixer, a former player of Maryellen’s. She worked in the programs the next 22 years and in 2000, when Gilbert one another state championship title, Maryellen’s two daughters were members of the team.
Over the years Mary Ellen also ran USVBA Junior Olympic volleyball programs, as well as summer volleyball leagues. She was a Woman’s Sports Foundation “Grants for Girls” recipient, and was the 1998 recipient of the Pathfinder Award from the National Association for Girls and Women in Sports.
When Mary Ellen graduated from Southern Connecticut State University, she said she was confident she could help young women improve their physical, mental, and emotional well-being through competition. She was absolutely right.
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