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Centenary Names Frances Blackburn New Head Volleyball Coach

CONTACT: Christopher Norris, Sports Information Director, 318-869-5092

SHREVEPORT, LA -- Centenary College Director of Athletics Russ Sharp announced Monday the hiring of Frances Blackburn as the new Centenary Ladies volleyball coach. She takes over a program that has never registered a winning season in its history, compiling a 66-174 (.275) record in its 10 years of existence. Blackburn replaces Michele Hyden, who left in January to become the assistant softball coach at Sam Houston State University.

"I am truly excited to be at Centenary College and ready to build a tradition," said Blackburn. "We have a lot of work ahead of us but we have great support from the college."

Blackburn, a native of Graham, Texas, spent the past year as the head volleyball coach at El Centro Community College in Dallas, Texas. She also served as head women's volleyball coach at Bowie State University in Bowie, Md., where she led the school to its first winning season and its first appearance in the CIAA Conference Tournament. While at Bowie State she also worked as senior women's administrator and interim head women's basketball coach.

After a successful high school career in Levelland, Texas, where she garnered All-State honors in basketball and All-District MVP honors in volleyball, Blackburn attended Angelo State University in San Angelo, Texas, on a full basketball and volleyball scholarship. Blackburn was a three-time All-Conference selection, leading Angelo into the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament in her senior season. After graduating with a B.S. in accounting from Angelo State in 1990, she served as assistant coach at the United States Naval Academy prior to her time at Bowie State.

In 1992, Blackburn left Bowie State to become the restricted earnings coach at Texas Tech University and served as head coach for the men's club team in the fall of 1993 and 1995. In between her stints at Texas Tech, she also found time to become the first American woman to play professional volleyball in Brazil when she joined Jundai Clinicas team of Jundai, Brazil.

"We won't be speaking Portuguese, but we will use a lot of Brazilian strategies that I learned playing professionally," said Blackburn. "I think the Ladies are ready to make this change."

"I am very pleased that Frances Blackburn will be joining our staff," said Sharp. "She has a wealth of experience at every level of volleyball competition and she was the overwhelming choice of every member of the search committee."

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