Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+

Jan. 9, 2015

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina head volleyball coach Scott Swanson announced Friday he has promoted former Gamecock All-American Shonda Cole to assistant coach.

Cole served as volunteer assistant for the Gamecocks during the 2014 season and will fill the position vacated by assistant coach RJ Abella, who will now be working with the South Carolina sand volleyball program full time as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator.

“We are absolutely thrilled to have one of the most accomplished South Carolina Gamecock volleyball players in the program’s history back as an assistant coach,” Swanson said. “Shonda brings a wealth of playing experience having played four seasons at Carolina as well as seven seasons professionally. It is a unique opportunity to coach at your alma mater, and I think the passion, loyalty and desire to win comes very naturally for Shonda, who will share that with our players.”

Cole, who was a standout outside hitter for the Gamecocks from 2003-06, helped Carolina to a 17-14 record this season, including a 7-11 mark in SEC play. The winning record is just the Gamecocks third since 2002, and the seven conference wins are the most since 2008. While serving as volunteer assistant, Cole assisted the defensive coordinator with the game plan and in-match charting and with Data Volley and video breakdown. She also helped train the outside hitters and assisted with on-campus recruiting. Cole is thrilled to have the chance to further her coaching career at her alma mater.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity to be coaching with such a wonderful staff that I’ve already had the chance of getting to know and work with as the volunteer assistant this past season,” Cole said. “I’m thrilled to start working full time at South Carolina and even more excited to be back where it all started for me and helping build a championship program. I learned so much as a volunteer coach this season and I’m ready to dive in full throttle with my new position. It was an opportunity that I did not see coming so quickly, and I am so thankful for the rest of our staff for believing in me. I love the sport, I love the game and I love teaching the game. I’ve always referenced the saying `choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life’ and I feel like I’ve done well at choosing.”

Prior to returning to South Carolina this season, Cole had a successful professional career overseas, playing one season in Spain (2007-08), six seasons in Puerto Rico (2009-14) and a half season in France (2013). She won a league championship with Pinkin de Corozal in 2010 and was named finals MVP after leading Indias de Mayaguez to the league title in 2013. She earned recognition as league’s best server while playing for Caribes de San Sebastian in 2009.

Cole, who coached high school volleyball in the offseason for four years at Greenville High School in Greenville, S.C., also trained with the USA Volleyball National A2 Team in 2005 and 2006 and participated in the 2005 Pan American Games and World Grand Prix.

During her playing days at Carolina, Cole became the first Gamecock to earn All-America honors, earning a spot on the AVCA Honorable Mention All-America Team in 2006. She was also an AVCA All-South Region selection in 2006, an Honorable Mention All-South Region honoree in 2005 and a three-time All-SEC selection, earning second-team honors in 2004 and 2005 and first-team honors in 2006. Cole finished her career ranked first all-time at South Carolina in kills per set (4.26), points per set (4.87) and attacks (4,181) and second in kills (1,775). She still holds the Gamecock single-season records for kills (703), kills per set (5.76) and attacks (1,541), all from the 2006 season.

A native of Kings Mountain, N.C., Cole earned her Bachelor of Arts from South Carolina in middle level education with a concentration in math and English/language arts.