EAST GREENSBORO –North Carolina A&T volleyball coach Hal Clifton announced promotion within his coaching staff on Tuesday. Clifton has promoted Blaine Tendler to associate head coach and Ariel Newman to assistant head coach.
“Ariel and Blaine have been instrumental in continuing to move the volleyball program forward,” said Clifton. “Ariel and Blaine have been a big part of our recent success and have put in a lot of extra time and effort. They share my same vision for the continued growth of the program at A&T.”
The program is having its best success in more than a decade. N.C. A&T has won 28 matches over the past two seasons winning 14 matches in each of the past two years. They have not had back-to-back double-digit win seasons since the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
Clifton partially credits Tendler’s experience and passion for the sport for the program’s turnaround. Tendler brings a lot of new ideas and studies the game to utilize the best techniques and current trends in volleyball when appropriate according to Clifton.
Tendler, a former assistant coach for the USA Women’s Junior National Team, has more than 35 years of coaching experience on the collegiate, club and international levels. He even married a volleyball coach. His wife, Mary, is the head coach at Elon University. “His work with Edie (Brewer) and our middles showed on the court this past fall,” said Clifton.
Brewer is considered one of the most versatile players in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Brewer led the team in assists (7.51), ranked second in digs (2.09), second in service aces (0.33), third in kills (1.71) and third in blocks (0.44) per set. She also had a .210 hitting percentage which was second on the team.
Newman has been with the Aggies program since the start of the 2016 season. Before coming to N.C. A&T, she coached on the club and high school levels. She was the team captain for the UNC Greensboro volleyball team as a senior. Newman’s Greensboro ties run deep, not only is she a coach at N.C. A&T and a graduate of UNCG, the Greensboro native is also a graduate of Southern Guilford High School.
“Ariel, though young, has a variety of experiences to draw from and does a nice job working with our pin players,” said Clifton. “We saw a lot of growth in that position this year. She has done a fantastic job as the recruiting coordinator and directing our social media among the many other things she does.”
The Aggies open the 2019 season on Aug. 30 in the Cristi Curtis Volleyball Invitational hosted by Winthrop University. Their first opponent will be Morehead State. The Aggies are coming off a season where they reached the MEAC championship match before losing to Howard. It was their first appearance in the championship final in 13 years.
“We want to compete for conference championships and going to the NCAA tournament annually. It will not be easy to do, as the conference as a whole continues to get tougher,” said Clifton. “We have come a long way, made some big strides this past fall, but we are still not where we want to be year in and year out. I have no doubt with their continued efforts we will get there.”