Sports

Auburn's Parker joins volleyball staff at SPU

Nicola Parker, who is more familiar to Seattle Pacific volleyball fans as an opponent, will come over to the Falcons’ side of the court this season, joining the program as an assistant coach.

Parker, an All-American libero at Western Washington University in 2002 and 2003, not only will be on head coach Chris Johnson’s staff, she also is a math teacher at SPU, a position she took this past spring.

“When I moved to Seattle about a year ago, I just contacted the school (about a teaching position),” said the 26-year-old Parker, a native of Auburn, a Seattle suburb. She also asked about coaching possibilities, and during the spring, an assistant's spot opened.

“It all came together, Parker said.

Parker played at Western from 2000 to 2003, graduating in 2004. She was a setter who became an outside hitter at Auburn High School, then played a defensive role as a freshman at WWU before becoming the libero when that position opened.

“I fell into that position, and it just worked out for the team,” Parker said.

Johnson feels he has found a complete package in Parker, who’ll join veteran assistant Johnny Lai on the Falcons’ bench.

“From the start, it looked like it was going to be a real good fit,” Johnson said. “This is kind of a dream job for her to teach and coach at the same institution. She feels comfortable coaching most positions. And coaching is kind of a team effort -- she’ll complement both Johnny and I real well and be a great addition to the team.”

Parker, who also was a solid tennis player in high school, went to Europe last summer and played on a team based in Prague, Czech Republic. She also spent some time hiking on the continent, then returned home to begin focusing on her next path in life.

“I always knew I wanted to teach college,” said Parker, having earned her master’s in math in 2006. “One of my roommates started going to school here, and she just loved it. It’s going to be so fun – I can’t wait.”

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THE NICOLA PARKER FILE

Position: Assistant volleyball coach.

Age: 26.

College: Western Washington.

Of note: Led NCAA Division II in digs per game (6.16) as a senior in 2003. … Owns WWU records for digs per match (38), single-season digs (542), digs per game (6.16) and career digs (1,453). … Part of three consecutive GNAC championship teams (2001-03). … First-team Daktronics All-American and AVCA honorable mention All-American as a senior. … Academic All-American. … Assistant coach at WWU 2004-06.

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