TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Well-accomplished beach volleyball player and coach Danalee Corso has been selected as the first Florida State University sand volleyball head coach, FSU Director of Volleyball and indoor volleyball head coach Chris Poole has announced.
“We were very fortunate to have great applicants for this position. In the end, Danalee stood out because of her overall experience. She has played indoor volleyball at a high level, transitioned outdoors to the beach where she had a very successful career, moved to coaching professional beach players and was instrumental in developing players for our USA National Beach program,” Poole said. “We felt like Danalee had the total experience and we’re very excited that she has chosen to move across the country to start our sand volleyball program.”
Corso is well-known throughout the beach volleyball circuit after enjoying a highly successful professional career both domestically and internationally. Corso, a native of Honolulu, Hawaii, spent 13 seasons excelling in several professional tours, including the Women’s Professional Volleyball Association, Fédération Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB), USA Volleyball, Beach Volleyball America and The Association of Volleyball Professionals.
“I am both honored and excited to be the first head coach of sand volleyball at FSU,” Corso said. “Sand volleyball is growing exponentially in the United States, with the largest amount of growth in Florida. Additionally, FSU is one of the most elite athletic programs in the nation and is stepping up with its support for sand volleyball by pioneering a full program.
“With sand volleyball being a new emergent sport for the NCAA, I wanted to be a part of a university that believes in the sport’s potential,” Corso added. “FSU is setting itself up for success and I wanted to be part of that momentum. With the popularity of sand volleyball at the Olympics, around the world and at the junior level, I am certain it will be a great addition to the NCAA. I am also confident that sand volleyball’s inclusion to the NCAA will help grow indoor volleyball by bringing new marketing opportunities and exposure, which is great news for women’s sports in general.”
In 2004, Corso received a Brazilian Pro Beach Coaching Accreditation and helped coach the United States National Beach Volleyball Team from 2004-07 with a specific focus on the tandem of Rachel Wacholder and Tyra Turner. She has also coached 2008 Summer Games Olympian Nicole Branagh as well as professionals Makare Wilson, Michelle More and Suzanne Stonebarger.
“I am excited to see such a well-rounded coach coming to create the Florida State sand volleyball program,” former FSU volleyball star and worldwide renowned figure Gabrielle Reece said. “Danalee's commitment to the game and her own excellence is apparent in the amount of time she has dedicated to learning how to condition and coach athletes. Her understanding of the game and how to prepare her athletes to be as competitive as possible is going to be exciting to watch.
“I believe coach Corso, coach Poole and the Florida State Sand Volleyball program are going to set a wonderful precedent of what a beach volleyball program could and should look like at the collegiate level,” Reece added.
Following her national team stint, Corso became owner of Aloha Ball Club – a full-service beach volleyball school that offers classes and private lessons for amateurs and professionals as well as fitness training. She was also head coach of the Under-19 and Under-21 U.S. National Teams for men and women, and head coach of the World University Championship men’s and women’s teams. She most recently coached the Costa Rica Women’s National Beach Team in 2009-10.
“Danalee is a great addition to the FSU staff,” said USA Volleyball Beach High Performance and Development Programs Director Ali Wood-Lamberson. “Her experience both as a world ranked athlete and as the coach of several successful international teams makes her a valuable commodity in the beach volleyball community.
“USA Volleyball is delighted with FSU’s commitment to the implementation and success of women’s sand volleyball as an NCAA sport, and looks forward to supporting FSU and other NCAA sand programs in the years to come.”
Some of Corso’s greatest playing achievements include finishing as one of the top 10 teams in the competitive USA Volleyball Pro Tour from 1994-97. On the AVP-USA Pro Beach Volleyball Tour, Corso guided her squad to top-8 tour finishes from 1999-2002. In 1998, her team finished first on the Switzerland Pro Beach Tour.
As a professional, Corso won five different events that include the 1995 Motherlode Open in Aspen, Colo., an international tournament in Three Lakes, Switzerland, in 1998, the 1998 Switzerland FIVB Satellite Tournament in Jona and two Norceca Tournaments in both San Juan, Puerto Rico and Mexico City in 2003.
Corso is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University, where she played indoor from 1989-92. She captained the team and was a First Team All-West Coast Conference pick.
Sand volleyball becomes the first sport added by FSU since women’s soccer was brought to the university in 1995.
Seminoles.com will release more information about the sand volleyball program through the coming weeks and months to better educate the public on the NCAA’s newest Division I sport. Check back all summer long for updates on FSU’s latest athletic program.