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Melissa DeRan enters her fifth season at the helm of the Bates volleyball team in 2019.
In each season since she was hired, DeRan's Bobcats have improved their overall record, reaching a mark of 14-9 in 2018, their best record since 2009.
DeRan came to Bates following a successful four-year stint at Union College, where she led the Dutchwomen to a 22-11 record in 2013, including an appearance in the Liberty League championship match, and a 24-12 mark in 2014. Five players from the 2014 team earned Liberty League all-conference honors, and one, libero Katherine Moeller, also received Honorable Mention All-America laurels.
Bates has a proud volleyball tradition, with a 949-524-1 record over 52 seasons. The Bobcats won the first of four ECAC championships in 1989 to cap a 36-0 season, and they have since made two NCAA tournament appearances.
"It's such an honor and a privilege to become a member of the Bates community. My sincere thanks to the entire search committee for their confidence in me," DeRan said. "Bates has a strong history of successful volleyball and I am deeply humbled to be a part of it."
DeRan came to Union after serving as an assistant at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The Beacons produced a record of 30-5 and won the Little East Conference Championship in her one year on campus, the 2010 season. UMass Boston finished in the top 20 in the AVCA National Poll for the first time in school history, and also reached the NCAA Division III Elite Eight for the first time.
For three seasons, 2007-09, DeRan was head volleyball coach, assistant track and field coach, and strength and conditioning coordinator at St. Lawrence. She was 77-39, for a winning percentage of 66 percent, and became St. Lawrence's all-time winningest coach in just three years. She was the 2009 Liberty League Volleyball Coach of the Year, leading the Saints to a school record win total with a 30-8 season. Her first year featured 19 wins, the most in 15 seasons, and the Saints won 28 in her second year. DeRan produced 12 Liberty League All-Academic student-athletes in her three seasons. In 2009, Abigail Rose earned player of the year honors under DeRan's guidance. DeRan trained three national champions, seven All-Americans, and six national qualifiers for the St. Lawrence track and field program, and joined other staff members as the Liberty League Coaching Staff of the Year three times (2007 indoor and outdoor, 2008 outdoor).
DeRan was a graduate assistant at Otterbein in the 2006 season. That squad won 22 matches and broke 13 school records. She was the head coach at Tiffin, where she also assisted the track and field program, for three seasons (2000-03). Six all-conference honorees and four Academic All-Americans were produced during her tenure. DeRan also has coached in the Gold Medal Squared summer camp program, which trains high school and middle school age athletes throughout the country.
A 1999 graduate of Murray State University, DeRan was the captain of the Division I Racers in her senior season. She received a Master of Arts from St. Lawrence and earned a Secondary Teaching Certificate from Capital University.
Hailing from Newton, Mass., coach Wyatt Emenaker is a 2019 graduate of Brandeis University with a degree in chemistry. He was a student assistant for two years and was awarded for being a part of the UAA coaching staff of the year with Brandeis earning its highest finish at the UAA conference tournament (5th) since 2008.
Emenaker played club volleyball all four years at Brandeis and was the club president for three of them. He was chosen to the NECVL All-Tournament team in 2018 and 2019. Emenaker also previously coached for SMASH Volleyball Club.
Assistant coach Rob Thompson is back with the Bates volleyball program for his sixth season in 2019.
Thompson, currently a teacher at Lewiston Middle School, was the founder and former Head Coach for the Cape Elizabeth High School volleyball program from 2006-2013. He also coaches for the Maine Juniors Volleyball Club and has done so for the past twelve years at the 18 Gold, 16 National, 16 Gold, 15 National, and 14 Gold levels.
Thompson earned a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from the University of New England. He played lacrosse for the university and switched over to volleyball soon after. He has been playing in adult leagues for over 20 years and has attended USAV Indoor and Beach Impact clinics as well as USAV CAP (Coaching Accreditation Program) I and CAP II courses. He is a Gold Medal Squared certified coach and has attended over 10 Gold Medal Squared Clinics.
Thompson believes it is the coaches’ responsibility to assist in the development of players by focusing on skill, sportsmanship, relationships, and the value of teamwork, without sacrificing fun. Additionally, to inspire each player to develop the confidence to maximize their potential, value the team, and love the game. Thompson values “the process” over results and tries to foster a growth mindset with athletes. In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work.
Thompson is currently the president of the Maine Volleyball Coaches’ Association for high schools and resides in Yarmouth, Maine with his partner Elaine and son Michael.