Mary Helak Named Grizzlies New Volleyball Head Coach
Release courtesy of Franklin College
FRANKLIN, IN – Mary Helak has been appointed head volleyball coach and assistant athletic director at Franklin College, Director of Athletics Kerry Prather announced today.
Helak, who most recently served as assistant women’s volleyball coach and athletics administration assistant at Stevens Institute of Technology at Hoboken, N.J., succeeds Lori Wilkerson, who resigned as head volleyball coach in December.
“I’m excited to be on campus and I’m grateful for the opportunity to develop a program as a head volleyball coach,” said Helak. “After meeting the team, I was impressed with their enthusiasm for the game of volleyball and their dedication to Franklin College. I’m eager to work with them and be a part of the Franklin community.”
“We are delighted to introduce Mary Helak to our student-athletes, alumni, and fans,” said college president Jay Moseley. “She has the perfect combination of character, intelligence, attitude and experience to lead our volleyball program. Our players, parents, prospects, and fans will enjoy getting to know her this spring, and it will be fun to see her team play next year.”
“We feel very fortunate to add Mary to our coaching staff and our administrative team,” said Prather. “She brings successful volleyball coaching experience at the collegiate level as well as background and interest in the area of athletic administration. We think she and Franklin College are a perfect fit.”
In 2009, Helak helped guide Stevens to a 26-10 record and its sixth consecutive conference championship and NCAA Division III Tournament appearance. In the preceding 2008 season, Stevens produced a 33-5 record, which included a 24-match winning streak and an unbeaten mark in conference contests.
In her capacity as athletics administration assistant, she worked closely with Stevens’ student affairs office, served as team liaison for visiting schools’ athletic teams, and coordinated the Champs/Life Skills programs for student-athletes among many areas of responsibility.
Franklin is not Helak’s first tenure as a collegiate level head coach. Prior to her arrival at Stevens, Helak served as the head women’s volleyball and softball coach at SUNY Canton. The 2007 Sunrise Conference Volleyball Coach of the Year, she guided her team to a 16-10 overall record, an 8-0 mark in conference matches, and a berth in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national tournament.
Helak graduated from Medaille College with a bachelor’s degree in sports management in May, 2005. She was a Dean’s List student all eight semesters at Medaille. During her athletic career there, Helak was a two-sport athlete. She was captain three of her four years on the volleyball team and was named a first-team All-American by the National Small Conference and also was recognized on the North Eastern Athletic Conference first team.
But NCAA Division III was where she wanted to be.
“As a student athlete and assistant coach, I have had a great experience at the Division III level. In Division III student athletes are able to put their academics first while competing in athletics and also get involved in other activities on campus,” said Helak. “I was looking for a school that would model my values and coaching philosophies. I believe Franklin is that school and is the right fit.”
Helak also played softball for four seasons at Medaille. During her career, she received first team honors from the NEAC and Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference. A two-time captain (2004 and 2005), Helak was selected to the AMCC All-Academic first team.
She earned her master’s degree in higher education administration from Old Dominion University in May of 2007. Helak began coaching at the St. Mary’s High School summer camp in 1999 and served in that role until 2006. As an undergrad student at Medaille, she served as head freshman girls basketball coach at St. Mary’s in 2003.