Head Coach
Sarah Bernson

The George Washington Athletic Department has announced Sarah Bernson as the ninth head coach in GW Volleyball history on July 5, 2017.
Bernson comes to GW after serving as assistant coach at nearby American University for the past five seasons. During her tenure at American, Bernson helped the Eagles to a dominant stretch that includes a five-year record of 136-36 (.795), four consecutive Patriot League championships and four straight trips to the NCAA Tournament.

In 2013, the Eagles rolled through the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament with 3-0 sweeps over Georgia and Duke to make the program's first-ever Sweet 16 appearance.

"Sarah is a great fit to lead GW Volleyball into the 2017 season and beyond," said Director of Athletics and Recreation Patrick Nero. "She carries championship experience and was a key part of American's four consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament, including the deepest run in program history. She also has head and assistant coaching experience helping to lead Cornell to three conference titles and a pair of NCAA Tournaments. We know she will be a great fit for our program and will do a great job developing our student-athletes both on and off the court."

"I'm honored to be joining the George Washington Athletic Department and am excited to lead the Colonial volleyball team," said Bernson. "Patrick Nero and Tanya Vogel have an impactful vision for the program moving forward and I thank them for this opportunity. With GW Volleyball's strong position in the Atlantic 10, I'm eager to work with the team, connect with the community and recruit for the future."

At American, Bernson played a large role in recruiting, training and operations and helped in the development of six All-Patriot League selections, two Freshmen of the Year and one Libero of the Year.

She also has served as the head coach for the Rising Tide of the Premier Volleyball League (PVL), USA Volleyball's professional league, where she has coached former GW Volleyball players such as Maggie Skejelbred '16, Lauren Whyte '13 and Candace Silva-Martin '13.

Prior to her time at American, Bernson spent eight years at Cornell University, including three seasons as head coach, where she helped lead the Big Red to a trio of Ivy League Championships (2004-06) and two NCAA Tournament appearances. While at Cornell she also recruited and developed the program's first-ever All-American and all-time kills leader.

She also had a collegiate coaching stop at Cal State Monterey Bay (Assistant Coach, 2001-04) where she helped in the school's transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II.

Bernson played collegiately at Saint Mary's (Calif.) where she was a team captain as a senior. She earned her bachelor's degree in English and Art in 1999.

Associate Head Coach
Nicki Holmes

Nicki Holmes joined the GW Volleyball program as the Associate Head Coach in July 2017.
Holmes carries extensive volleyball experience into his new position with the Colonials. He spent last season on the sidelines as an assistant coach at NC State, helping the Wolfpack to a 20-win season.

At NC State he worked with the team's setters while helping to coordinate the team's offense. He also assisted with opponent scouting. He played a key role in the development of AVCA All-East Region Honorable Mention and Second Team All-ACC setter Maggie Speaks. The Wolfpack's offense also registered the second-highest attack percentage (.226) in program history with Holmes on the sidelines.

Prior to NC State, Holmes spent two seasons as the head coach at North Carolina Central University as well as a two-year stint as an assistant coach at the University of Central Florida (UCF) and a stop at Stetson University (2011).

Holmes' involvement with USA Volleyball dates back to 2005. He has served in various capacities throughout his tenure with the organization, working as the program manager for the Collegiate National Team since 2012, as well as working as the lead tryout staff for the U.S. Women's National Team Open Tryout since 2012.

He is also an assistant coach for the USA Select/Youth National Team and has served as the head coach for multiple USA Training Camps.

Holmes graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy with a Bachelor of Science in general studies (Core Engineering Curriculum) before earning his Master's of Business Administration from Vanderbilt. He served as an officer in the U.S. Air Force for seven years and was selected to the premier space unit in the United States Military.

He has continued his involvement with the Air Force by serving as the head coach of both the USAF Women's National Team (2014-Present) and the USAF Women's Sitting National Team (2013).

Assistant Coach
Nicole Buchholz

George Washington volleyball head coach Sarah Berson has rounded out her coaching staff with the addition of Nicole Buchholz as assistant coach in August 2017.
Buchholz, a native of Ashburn, Virginia, joins the Colonials following a seven-year stint as an assistant coach at Southeast Missouri where she coached middle blockers and right-side hitters for the Redhawks. Southeast Missouri won 87 games during Buchholz's tenure.

Buchholz was also heavily involved in the coordination of Redhawks volleyball camps and clinics during her time at Southeast Missouri.

Before arriving at Southeast Missouri, Buchholz was a graduate assistant coach at East Stroudsburg University (Division II) following a standout collegiate career at Franklin Pierce University (Division II) in New Hampshire.

She was a four-time All-Northeast 10 Conference Player and graduated as the Ravens' career-record holder for total kills (1,271) and blocks (493), marks that still stand today.