UTICA – Utica College recently named Aris Bird head volleyball coach. Bird, originally from nearby Dolgeville, joins the Utica volleyball staff as head coach after spending the last six years coaching at both the collegiate and high school levels.
Bird, who played four years of Division I volleyball at Niagara University, has coached volleyball in different capacities at Granville High School (2008-11), Herkimer County Community College (2012) and Dolgeville High School (2007-13).
“Aris brings great experience both playing and coaching volleyball. I think she is going to provide the energy and enthusiasm that we are looking for as our volleyball program continues to grow,” Utica College athletic director David Fontaine said in a news release. “As a school teacher Aris really understands what the student-athletes are looking for and that aspect of her resume prepares her to coach at this level.”
She has spent time as a volunteer assistant coach for the Dolgeville varsity volleyball team for the last six years, and in the winter of 2012, she took over as the Dolgeville A and B modified head coach.
In the fall of 2012, she spent time as an assistant coach at Herkimer County Community College and she also assumed duties as the Dolgeville modified soccer coach. She spent two consecutive spring seasons (2011-12) as the Granville junior varsity softball coach and she also spent two winters (2011-12) as the Granville girls seventh-grade basketball coach.
“I like the atmosphere here at Utica College. It’s a very family oriented institution and it’s a beautiful campus,” Bird said in the release. “I’m looking forward to coaching the young women here at UC.”
From 2009-2011, she was the girls varsity volleyball coach at Granville after spending one season (2008) as the girls modified volleyball coach. She has also had two different stints as the girls modified softball coach at Dolgeville (2008, 2013).
“I believe in being fair and consistent. I’m looking for the type of student-athlete that wants to continue to get better, even if they are the starting player, they should always be striving to improve,” Bird said in the release. “I’m also looking for student-athletes that bring a well rounded approach to the table in regards to athletics and academics.”
Bird accepted a position as an algebra teacher at Dolgeville last fall, and she also held a teaching position at Granville from 2008-12. During her time at Granville, she taught seventh- and eighth-grade math, as well as honors algebra.
As a student-athlete at Niagara, she played for four seasons as a Purple Eagle and was named captain in her senior campaign. She led Niagara to 36 victories over the course of her career, including a 16-win season as a sophomore where the Purple Eagles advanced as far as the semifinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament. She was a 2006 MAAC all-academic team selection after posting the second highest cumulative grade point average on the team (3.75).
She helped to build the foundation for a program that has advanced to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments (2010, 2011 and 2012).
Bird graduated from Niagara in the spring of 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in education, and she was a member of Kappa Mu Epsilon (Mathematic Honor Society).
In March of 2010, she earned a master’s in mathematics (6-8) from Walden University, and she is currently working toward a second master’s in coaching and athletic administration at Concordia University.
Her mother, Barb Allen, has been the varsity head volleyball coach at New York State Class C powerhouse Dolgeville for nearly 35 years, and she has amassed more than 500 victories in that span. Allen has the second most wins in the state among active coaches.
Bird played high school volleyball under the tutelage of her mother at Dolgeville and guided the Blue Devils to an 81-7 overall record, a regional and sectional title in 2003 and 2004, and a trio of divisional titles. She was named first team all-state as a senior, third team as a junior and honorable mention as a sophomore. She was a three-time all-league and all-section selection and was a three-time all-star. Bird led Section III in aces her last three years and she averaged 2.74 kills, 4.14 assists, 1.85 digs and 1.66 aces per game in 2003. She was also a two-time all-star in soccer and played for the Caroga Lake Volleyball Club team.
“We want to provide consistency, both from what we’re doing on the court and from a coaching perspective. I think that Aris can bring that to us,” Fontaine said in the release. “We want to build and be more successful on the court. It starts with small steps and it’s going to take time but I think we are certainly heading in the right direction.”
Bird currently resides in Raquette Lake with her husband, Mark.