Utica College - Volleyball

Utica College Volleyball Clinics

Head Coach Aris Bird

Aris Bird was named the head coach of the women’s Volleyball program in July of 2013. Bird, originally from nearby Dolgeville, joined the Utica volleyball staff as head coach after spending the previous six years coaching at both the collegiate and high school levels.

This past season, Utica went 5-22.  Senior Nicole Herringshaw was named All-Conference by the Empire 8 and received the Greg Roberts Senior Student Athlete Award, which  is given out annually to a male and female student-athlete that best exemplifies what Greg Roberts stood for: hard work, unselfishness, loyalty, and passion for Utica College athletics.

In 2017, Bird guided UC to a 7-23 record.  The team led the department with a combined GPA of 3.55 and six players earned Empire 8 President’s List distinction with a GPA of 3.75 or higher.

In 2016, the team finished with a 6-30 overall record.  Senior Brandi Blaszak wrapped up her career as the College’s career leader with 1,023 kills.  The team had a cumulative GPA over 3.0 for the third time in four years.  Three players earned Empire 8 President’s List honors with a GPA of 3.75 or higher.

In 2015, Bird led the Pioneers to a 6-29 overall record with a 2-6 Empire 8 Conference record. She guided Lora Allen to All-Conference honors on the Sportswoman of the Year team. Allen holds the program record for assists in a career (2,137) and is the only player in UC history to reach the 2,000-assists milestone. Off the court she guided her team to a GPA over 3.0 and had two athletes named to the Empire 8 All-Academic team.

In 2014, Bird led the Pioneers to a 9-24 overall record, matching the most wins in a season in the last five years.  She will return 14-of-17 players from last year’s squad, including four starters.  

In her first season at the helm, she led UC to a 9-23 overall record while guiding two Pioneers to Empire All-Conference status.  Bird will return 10 of her 15 players from this past season including five seniors and both all-conference selections. Her team was one of 12 here at to UC to record a 3.0 grade point average in the fall of 2013.

Bird, who played four years of Division I volleyball at Niagara University, has coached volleyball in different capacities at Granville High School (2008-2011), Herkimer County Community College (2012) and Dolgeville High School (2007-2013).

According to Athletic Director Dave Fontaine, "Aris brings great experience both playing and coaching volleyball.  I think she is going to provide the energy and enthusiasm that we are looking for as our volleyball program continues to grow."

In the Fall of 2014, she accepted a position with Cayuga County Community College as an Assistant to the Director of the National Reporting Service.

She also spent time as a volunteer assistant coach for the Dolgeville varsity volleyball team for six years and in the Winter of 2012 she took over as the Dolgeville A & B Modified Head Coach.  In the Fall of 2012 she spent time as an assistant coach at Herkimer County Community College and she also assumed duties as the Dolgeville modified soccer coach.  She spent two consecutive Spring seasons (2011-2012) as the Granville junior varsity softball coach and she also spent two Winters (2011-2012) as the Granville girls 7th grade basketball coach.

From 2009-2011 she was the girls varsity volleyball coach at Granville after spending one season (2008) as the girls modified volleyball coach.  She has also had two different stints as the girls modified softball coach at Dolgeville (2008, 2013).

"I believe in being fair and consistent.  I'm looking for the type of student-athlete that wants to continue to get better, even if they are the starting player, they should always be striving to improve," said Bird.  "I'm also looking for student-athletes that bring a well rounded approach to the table in regards to athletics and academics."

Bird held a position as an Algebra Teacher at Dolgeville High School and she also held a teaching position at Granville from 2008-2012.  During her time at Granville she taught seventh and eighth grade math, as well as honors algebra.

As a student-athlete at Niagara she played for four seasons as a Purple Eagle and was named captain in her senior campaign.  She led NU to 36 victories over the course of her career, including a 16 win season as a sophomore where the Purple Eagles advanced as far as the semifinals of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament. She was a 2006 MAAC All-Academic Team selection after posting the second highest cumulative grade point average on the team (3.75).  She helped to build the foundation for a program that has advanced to three consecutive NCAA Tournaments (2010, 2011 & 2012).

Bird graduated from Niagara in the Spring of 2008 with a bachelor's degree in Education and she was a member of Kappa Mu Epsilon (Mathematic Honor Society).  In March of 2010 she earned a master's in mathematics (6-8) from Walden University and she is currently working towards a second master's in coaching and athletic administration at Concordia University.

Her mother Barb Allen has been the varsity head volleyball coach at New York State Class C Powerhouse Dolgeville for nearly 35 years and she has amassed over 500 victories in that span. Allen is the second most winningest active coach in the state. 

Bird played high school volleyball under the tutelage of her mother at Dolgeville and guided the Blue Devils to an 81-7 overall record, a regional and sectional title in 2003 and 2004, and a trio of divisional titles.  She was named first team all-state as a senior, third team as a junior and honorable mention as a sophomore. She was a three-time all-league and all-section selection and was a three-time all-star.  Bird led Section III in aces her last three years and she averaged 2.74 kills, 4.14 assists, 1.85 digs and 1.66 aces per game in 2003. She was also a two-time all-star in soccer and played for the Caroga Lake Volleyball Club team.

"We want to provide consistency, both from what we're doing on the court and from a coaching perspective. I think that Aris can bring that to us," said Fontaine.  "We want to build and be more successful on the court.  It starts with small steps and it's going to take time but I think we are certainly heading in the right direction."

Bird currently resides in Raquette Lake, NY with her husband Mark.