Head Coach
Todd Kress

The all-time winningest coach in program history, Todd Kress had led Fairfield Volleyball for two of its most successful stretches. A six-time MAAC Champion and seven-time MAAC Coach of the Year (both conference records), Kress owns a record of 225-102 (.688) at Fairfield and 459-297 (.607) in 24 seasons as a Division I head coach. The fall of 2020 will mark the seventh season of his second term on the Fairfield sidelines and his 11th campaign overall with the Stags.

Kress, who is Fairfield’s all-time leader in wins (225) and matches coached (327), also ranks second in program history with a .688 winning percentage. He has also led the volleyball programs at Northern Illinois University, Florida State University and the University at Buffalo.

The 2019 Stags started the MAAC slate with 16 consecutive wins, sewing up the top seed and regular season title before ultimately dropping just one match en route to a 17-1 league slate. In the postseason, Fairfield rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat Marist in the semifinals, then topped the upstart sixth-seeded Quinnipiac Bobcats in four sets to claim the MAAC title. In addition to being the top team in the conference at 17-1, the Stags were also the league’s most improved club with a six win increase on their tally from the prior campaign.

The Stags reached the MAAC Championship Semifinals in 2018, marking the squad’s 10th straight season with a postseason victory. The campaign saw the end of Fairfield’s winning streak of 58 consecutive wins over MAAC competition (including postseason and non-conference meetings). At its peak, the run was longest active stretch against conference opponents in the nation and eclipsed the 1997-2001 Stags’ run of 49 straight MAAC wins, a streak that was also started by Kress-coached teams.

In addition to winning the 2017 MAAC Championship, Kress’s squad completed its second consecutive 18-0 MAAC regular season. After becoming the first team since 2003 (Manhattan) not to drop a set in the MAAC Championship, the Stags carried 21-match winning streak into the NCAA postseason, where they met #2 Texas for the second time in three seasons, ending the year at 25-7.

The 2016 Stags were just the second team to ever finish 18-0 in the MAAC regular season and the first to cap that feat by winning the MAAC Championship. That 20-match run through the conference was a part of a 22-match winning streak – the longest streak in the nation during the 2016 season. Fairfield’s season ended at #15 Michigan State in the NCAA Championship First Round with a record of 28-6.

Kress also led Fairfield to the MAAC Championship in 2015, advancing to the NCAA Championship First Round to challenge eventual NCAA Finalist Texas at Gregory Gym. Fairfield finished the year at 21-10.

Kress’ second stint at Fairfield marks a return to his first head coaching stop. Kress took the reins of Fairfield volleyball from 1995-98 and led the Stags to one of the most successful four-year stretches in program history.

After an 11-21 season to begin his tenure in 1995, Kress guided the Stags to a 23-12 mark and a MAAC regular season championship in 1996. The turnaround did not go unnoticed, as Kress was recognized by his peers as the MAAC Coach of the Year. He would earn the honor again in both 1997 and 1998 after leading the Stags to the first two MAAC Championships and NCAA postseason appearances in program history. Fairfield went unbeaten (9-0) in MAAC play in both campaigns.

Kress then took the head coaching position at Northern Illinois, once again engineering a nationally-recognized turnaround. The Huskies went 24-9 in 2000 – a 14-win improvement from the previous fall – and went 24-6 in 2001 en route to a Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championship and NCAA Tournament berth. Kress was named the 2001 MAC Coach of the Year.

Kress moved on to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in 2002 as the head coach at Florida State. In his first season at the helm, the Seminoles won 21 games and reached the ACC Championship Match.

In six seasons on the sidelines in Tallahassee, Kress picked up 103 victories. He guided Florida State to four winning seasons overall and finished with a record of .500 or better in ACC play in five campaigns. Kress also mentored the program’s first three AVCA All-America honorees and five First Team All-ACC selections.

Kress headed north to the University at Buffalo in 2009 to begin a five-year stay with the Bulls. During his tenure, Buffalo posted its first two winning seasons since 1996. Kress notched 73 victories with the Bulls, departing as one of the program’s most successful coaches since joining the Division I ranks in 1991.

Originally from Sidney, Ohio, Kress is a 1992 graduate of the University of Cincinnati. He has two teenage sons: Trevor and Trajan.

Associate Head Coach
Melissa Batie-Smoose

A veteran with more than 20 years of coaching experience, Melissa Batie-Smoose joined Fairfield Volleyball beginning in the 2019 season. Batie-Smoose has been a Division I head coach at Holy Cross and Cornell in addition to time on the sidelines in the ACC, SEC, Conference USA and Missouri Valley Conference.

The start of Batie-Smoose's term at Fairfield coincided with the Stags' return to the top of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. The Stags posted a 24-6 record in 2019, earning a 17-1 mark in conference play en route to the program's 11th MAAC Championship and NCAA psotseason bid.

Most recently at the helm for four seasons at Holy Cross, Batie-Smoose mentored Mandy Sifferlen to one of the most outstanding careers in program history. Sifferlen ranks second on the Crusaders’ career charts in kills with 1,334 and went on to play professionally in Finland after graduation. Batie-Smoose’s teams achieved academically throughout her tenure, totaling 32 Patriot League Academic Honor Roll selections, and were recognized locally and nationally for their community service efforts.

Batie-Smoose began her coaching career at Charlotte, with stops at Allegheny College, Creighton, Florida and Wake Forest. After a one-year stint as the Head Coach at Division II Nova Southeastern, she was hired by Todd Kress as his Associate Head Coach and Recruiting Coordinator at Florida State for 2006 and 2007.

In 2008, she went on to Savannah College of Art & Design (NAIA), where she became the most successful head coach in program history. Batie-Smoose compiled a four-year record of 81-43 (.653). She was the 2009 Sun Conference Coach of the Year, leading her team to a conference title and appearance in the NAIA National Tournament.

Batie-Smoose has also had great success at the junior level. She spent two seasons as the head coach of the Gainesville Juniors 16/1 Club Team. Ranked eighth nationally, they finished in the top 10 at nationals. One of her Gainesville pupils, Marcie Hampton, was named to the 2007 U.S. Women's National Team. Batie-Smoose also coached Team Florida, part of the USA High Performance Program, and took them to the Volley Classic in Utah.

A 1991 graduate of Southern Mississippi, Batie-Smoose was a two-year starter and two-time team MVP for the Golden Eagles. She began her collegiate playing career at Texas Tech.

Members of the Fairfield University Volleyball Team