Volleyball’s Palileo Announces Natalie Thomas As Assistant Coach

Jan. 12, 2017

DENTON – North Texas head volleyball coach Andrew Palileo announced the addition of Natalie Thomas to his staff on Thursday.

Thomas comes North Texas after serving as a volunteer assistant under Mark Pryor at the University of North Dakota, will serve as an assistant coach on Palileo’s staff.

“I’m excited to have Natalie join our staff,” Palileo said. “She attended my camps when she was younger, so it’s nice to see her grown up and that her passion for coaching reflects the passion she had as a player. She will have the opportunity to be a great role model to our players and I can’t wait for her to get in the gym with this team.”

Last season, UND (26-10, 14-2 Big Sky) secured the Big Sky regular-season conference championship, won the Big Sky Tournament and advanced to the NCAA Tournament before falling to Minnesota.

Thomas’ primary role at UND was assisting with the defensive system. The Fighting Hawks’ tallied 2,228 digs over the course of the season, the 15th most a Big Sky team has logged in a single season.

Additionally, she recorded statistical data to keep a running tally of passing numbers throughout the season to track individual progress, broke down film and assisted in recruiting.

Previous to UND, Thomas spent three years (two as a graduate assistant, one as a student assistant) at Minnesota State Moorhead, where she worked primarily with setters and the offensive system. In 2015, while at MSUM, she was named a recipient of the 2015 Minority Award scholarship to attend the American Volleyball Coaches Association's annual convention.

“I am very excited to become an assistant coach at North Texas,” Thomas said. “I can’t thank coach Palileo enough for allowing me this opportunity. I am looking forward to being a part of the Mean Green family.”

Thomas played her collegiate career at the University of Minnesota, Morris, where she amassed 2,696 assists, third most in program history, was a first-team all-conference selection as a senior and earned Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Setter of the Week honors on three different occasions.

Thomas graduated from MSUM in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education non-teaching, with a strength and conditioning minor and a bachelor’s degree in exercise science, with a coaching minor. She earned her master’s degree in educational leadership with an emphasis in higher education from MSUM in 2016.



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