UNB Saint John Athletics
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Seawolves name Lauren Hale-Miller head coach

Author: Stephanie Guimond

Posted on Aug 3, 2016

Category: Varsity Sports , Volleyball

Lauren Hale-Miller 2

August 3, 2016- As the new head coach of the University of New Brunswick Saint John women's volleyball team, Lauren Hale-Miller wants her players to make an impact on and off the campus.

    "We want to try to create a community feel;' she said.  "We really want to see the people of Saint John out here supporting us and we want to be as involved in the community as we can."

Hale-Miller said a key strategy in that pursuit will be connecting with younger players. That will involve linking UNBSJ players with middle and high school programs.

"Even though our student-athletes are very busy, I think it's very important that they are engaged;' Hale-Miller said. "The youth do look up to them. Having our team run the programs will help the youth want to come to our games and be more involved in what we're doing. It just gets people out."

And when those students see the Seawolves competing on center court at UNBSJ, Hale-Miller hopes they're dreaming of wearing the red and black.

"Hopefully, we can create that feel and make these kids want to come to UNBSJ," the coach said. "I would love to have some recruits from our own programs. That would be great. There are so many. We have high school provincials down here and there are so many athletes that are in gyms.'

After playing for Leo Hayes High School in Fredericton, Hale-Miller took her talent to St. Thomas University. An injury ended her playing career after one season there, but she eventually turned to coaching.

It was a gradual transition and one that was encouraged by her former coach at Leo Hayes, Mike Gallagher. The two made a great team.

Working as an assistant to Gallagher, Hale-Miller helped the Leo Hayes girl’s AAA team win two straight provincial titles. The two were also instrumental in running the Spartans club program.

Hale-Miller later became the head coach of the Leo Hayes boy’s junior varsity squad, which won two consecutive AAA banners to cap a pair of undefeated seasons. She's glad Gallagher was so persuasive.

"Mike not only was my high school coach, he became family quite quickly for me;' Hale-Miller said. "He was a huge support system. When I was recovering from my injury, he was very supportive and his whole family was.

"I knew I didn't want to give up volleyball completely, so I just kept coaching with him. Over the past five years of my coaching career, he's been a huge support and mentor to me. He's really helped me to get to where I am today. He's pretty excited. He knows that this is where I want to be and that this is the best spot for me to continue to grow as a coach."

Hale-Miller also credits parents Andrew and Leanne, along with brother Brady. The newest coach at UNBSJ said she's impressed with the support from the, school's athletic department.

"I'm excited for a new environment and new faces," Hale-Miller said. "I'm ready to move on to the next level and build new relationships with new athletes. I think that's very important. I'm ready for the change.

"I think to grow as a person and as a coach, you need to (experience) change. I think we're going to do: good things for Saint John and the volleyball community. I'm just really excited and I hope that the returning girls are as excited as I am, and that the community of Saint John is ready  for some good volleyball this fall." Hale-Miller said supporters can expect a team that will be fun to watch. Last year saw the Seawolves season end with a quarter final loss to Mount Allison University at the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association championship tournament.

"It will be a faster pace, for sure, and it will be very entertaining,” Hale-Miller said. "I'm going to be really defense heavy. People are going to see more defense out of us."

While Hale-Miller has been shaped by her former coaches, she's also done a lot of work on her own. The 25-year old will soon be in British Columbia to work on her level three Volleyball Canada coaching designation.

She's one of two females in New Brunswick in the women in coaching apprenticeship program. Her efforts led to a spot as an assistant coach with the 2017 Canada Games team.

The last few years have been busy off the court, too. When she wasn't on the sidelines, Hale-Miller was in the classroom at UNB, where she earned a bachelor's degree in recreation and sport studies. When the 2016-17 campaign gets underway, Hale-Miller will see some familiar faces. She's coached players who are now at STU, Mount Saint Vincent University and Holland College. But her main focus is assessing what she has at UNBSJ.

''I've seen them play for the past few years," Hale-Miller said. "I watch the ACAA a lot. I've seen all the teams play throughout the league. I think I have a good core coming back. I don't know many of them, but I think that's the best part.”

Article written by: Scott Briggs

Photo credit: Scott Briggs

Note: Article previously featured in the Telegraph Journal, July 2016