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On February 2, 2015, Director of Athletics Kevin McHugh announced the appointment of Melissa DeRan, most recently head coach at Union College, as the 12th head coach in the 49-year history of the Bates College varsity women's volleyball team.
In her first season at the helm, DeRan led the volleyball program to their most NESCAC victories since 2004 and a spot in the NESCAC Tournament.
DeRan comes 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.
"I am ecstatic that Melissa will be our new volleyball coach," said McHugh. "She brings a wealth of experience and success as a collegiate head coach but, just as importantly, Melissa is a great fit for our staff and for the college. She will be a positive force for the volleyball program immediately and will also strengthen our department as well as contribute to the campus community. I couldn't be more pleased."
Bates has a proud volleyball tradition, with an 892-456-1 record over 49 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 Kevin McHugh and the entire search committee for their confidence in me," said DeRan. "Margo has assembled a talented group; there is a lot of potential on the current roster. 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.
Nikki Naccarato begins her second year on the Bates coaching staff in 2019.
"I am really pleased to have Nikki Naccarato join our coaching staff," head coach Melissa DeRan said. "She brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to our program. She is a terrific young coach and an outstanding person. She will be a fantastic role model and leader for our team."
Following a two-sport playing career at Division II American International College in Springfield, Mass., Naccarato became interim head coach of men's and women's volleyball at Regis College in Weston, Mass., in 2015. She then moved into the role of interim head coach of both programs in 2016-17, guiding the women's team to a 2016 NCAA Tournament bid after winning the New England Collegiate Conference Tournament. She also coached the NECC Player of the Year on the men's team.
She took over Maryville's Division II women's volleyball team in 2017-18, leading all facets of the program.
Naccarato captained both the lacrosse and volleyball teams at American International, earning the Milton Piepul Athletics Merit Medal and the AIC Women in Leadership Award while serving as president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for three years.
She earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from AIC, where she graduated summa cum laude in 2015. While serving as interim head coach of men's and women's volleyball at Regis College, she earned a master's degree in professional and organizational communications.