John Newberry | Assistant Coach
Entering his 3rd season on the Central Arkansas staff, UCA alum and football All-American John Newberry has helped to shape Sugar Bear volleyball into one of the nation's premiere Division I programs both on and off the floor.
Joining the Sugar Bear coaching staff prior to the 2012 season, Newberry's impact was immediate as he coached one of the country's most successful teams during his first two seasons – making consecutive NCAA Tournaments and winning back-to-back Southland Conference regular season and tournament championships, a feat not accomplished within the league in 23 years.
In 2012 and 2013, the Sugar Bears went a combined 59-9 (the 2nd most wins in Division I during that period behind only 2013 national champion Penn State), defeated Top 25 teams, broke into the Top 45 nationally in RPI, maintained perfect APR scores and ended the 2013 season ranked No. 17 in one national Top 25 poll. The Sugar Bears have taken home the league's Player of the Year and Student-Athlete of the Year awards and Setter of the Year twice, while having six 1st team All-Southland selections.
Newberry’s unmatched passion to learn about the sport and desire to win developed through helping his wife, Brittany, while she was head coach at Conway Christian School and a national coach for Fatchmo Volley. Newberry proved to be a quick study – taking over his own team in 2012 and winning three gold medals at regional tournaments and placing 3rd at a national qualifier.
Since graduating from UCA in 2005, Newberry has worked as a full time television producer for Mike Barber Ministries, a worldwide prison ministry. He has overseen the production of the television show from inside prisons all over the United States, highlighted by their time spent with the women on death row in Texas. Over the course of their experience with the show, John and Brittany have spoken to many offenders about how to have a successful marriage.
Newberry put together a decorated football career as a punter at UCA from 2000-03, earning 2nd Team All-American, 1st Team All-Conference and 1st Team All-Region honors. He also appeared in the 2004 D2 Senior Bowl where he set the event's record for longest punt. He holds the 2nd highest career punting average in UCA's 100-plus year football history, and earned UCA’s 1st Team All-Decade award at punter for the 2000s.
He graduated with a BA in Mass Communication and minored in Speech Communication. He and his wife Brittany live in Conway.
Marissa Collins | Assistant Coach
Former Sugar Bear Collins is in her first season as an assistant coach with the Central Arkansas volleyball program, having joined the Sugar Bears in May of 2017.
"We are thrilled to add Marissa back to UCA Volleyball, this time in an assistant coaching position," said Chatman of the hiring. "As a highly-decorated student-athlete, Marissa brings great passion, knowledge, and experience to our staff. We also love that she is a person that truly bleeds purple and gray!"
Collins, one of the most highly-decorated players in Sugar Bear history, spent four seasons as the starting setter for UCA. She started all 36 of Central Arkansas' matches in 2010, becoming the first player in Southland Conference history to garner Freshman of the Year and Setter of the Year honors while ranking 15th in the nation with an average of 11.54 assists per set as the Sugar Bears won the Southland Conference with a 15-1 record.
Her sophomore season saw Collins named All-Southland Conference Second Team while averaging 10.4 assists per set and leading UCA to a first place finish in the East Division of the SLC. During her junior campaign, Collins was a force for the Sugar Bears, leading the league and finishing third nationally with 12.42 assists per set, earning Setter of the Year, All-SLC First, Team, and All-SLC Tournament Team honors as UCA won the Southland Conference Regular Season and Tournament Titles and made its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
Collins closed out her collegiate career in spectacular fashion, finishing fourth in the nation with 12.07 assists per set to become the first player in Southland Conference history to earn Player of the Year and Setter of the Year honors in the same season. She helped lead Central Arkansas to a perfect 18-0 record in league play and a second-consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. During her four years in Conway, Collins set a program record for career assists 5,466, while putting up three of the top-ten single season assist numbers in program history.
"I really love this school and I love the school pride that people have here," said Collins. "Central Arkansas was a really good place for me for the four years that I spent here and I had a great experience here. I wanted to be in an atmosphere where I could show players the experience and the culture that I was able to experience when I was at UCA, because it was a life-changing experience for me. I love Arkansas, and I love Conway, the staff here is great, and I'm really excited to be back."
After playing professionally in Sweden for a season, Collins took a position as a graduate assistant at Mississippi State, joining former UCA head coach David McFatrich and helping to lead the Bulldogs to two of the most successful seasons in program history. She helped MSU's setters to 1,543 assists in 2016, the third-highest total in program history and the highest total since 1997.
"I'm really ready to be on staff here at UCA and to be involved in making a difference. I think that Coach Jones and Coach Huskey will be able to help me with the transition from GA to full-time coach, and I really think that I'll be able to make a difference here. I feel like I've been bleeding purple and gray ever since I stepped on campus here, I love this school so much, so I'm so excited to come back to this culture and be able to share in this experience with a lot of great people."
Clare Buckman (CSCS) | Strength and Conditioning Coach
Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association
Undergraduate: Received a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Exercise Science and minors in Strength and Conditioning and Nutrition from Lindenwood University (St. Charles, MO) in 2015. Competed as a pole vaulter on the Lindenwood Track and Field team all four years.
Strength & Conditioning History: Joined Central Arkansas S&C Department in November 2016 as the Assistant S&C Coach… Previously an Assistant S&C Coach at the University of Houston for Football and Track and Field… Served as a Graduate Assistant at Central Methodist University for the 15-16 academic year; working with Football, Track and Field, Cross Country, Women’s Soccer, and Women’s Basketball… Interned at Central Arkansas for the summer of ’15; working with Football, Men’s Basketball, and Volleyball… Worked as a student assistant in the Lindenwood S&C department for the 13-14 and 14-15 academic years… Interned at Sparta Performance Science the summer of ’14.