The credo “invigorated, zealous and energized” written on the insignia of Ivana Rich’s Delta Sigma Theta Sorority membership also reflects the coaching association she belongs to and embodies the volleyball teams for which she has played. Rich keeps good company as she passionately pursues her goals while maintaining balance in her life.
After returning from recruiting players at the 2014 Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Girls Volleyball Championship in Las Vegas, Rich explained that in addition to skillful physicality, passion is the quality she looks for in new players.
Rich played middle blocker and right-side hitter for four seasons on the Division I women’s volleyball team at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). During her senior year, she served as team captain and led the Lady Rams to their first regular-season conference championship in the university’s history. Finishing with a total of 384 blocks in 117 career matches, Rich became the lead blocker in VCU history, in addition to achieving a VCU chart-topping, single season hitting percentage of .332.
After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at VCU in May 2009, Rich served as the volunteer assistant women’s volleyball coach at Division II Chowan University. In 2010, she helped lead them to a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) championship.
In 2011, Rich was hired as the head volleyball coach at Division II Virginia State University (VSU). In 2012, Rich led her team to a 13-3 conference record finishing second in the CIAA Northern Division and guided her team to 14 wins during the regular season, the most wins by a VSU volleyball team since the 2004 season. Rich was subsequently named the recipient of the 2012 American Volleyball Coaches Association Minority Scholarship, which helped her earn a Master of Education in Counselor Education from VSU in July 2012.
In her final year at VSU, she led the team to a 17-11 record. In addition to winning a CIAA Northern Division title, the team also had five all-conference selections, including the 2013 Rookie of the Year. Rich was also named the 2013 CIAA Coach of the Year. During the 2013 season, she and her team also managed to focus on the community by dedicating 30 hours to community service per week.
After influencing many people while spiraling through the Virginia sports network, Rich set aim at her alma mater and as of Thursday, 16 January 2014, she became the assistant volleyball coach at Division 1 Coastal Carolina University.
Continuing to keep good company among the elite in the world of sports, Rich enrolled at the Academy in the fall of 2013, where she is seeking a Doctor of Education in Sports Management. She says the Academy experience is a perfect fit because the program’s flexibility affords her the opportunity to address her busy professional schedule and personal life-style while pursuing her degree online.
Rich said her philosophical approach of using volleyball as an instrument to coach student-athletes to becoming better people on and off of the court is grounded in her up-bringing. She attributes her work ethic and goal-seeking characteristics to her mother, Dr. Michelle Belle, who was the recipient of the first doctoral degree from VSU. Her father, Alfonso Belle, served as a football coach at the high school and semi-professional levels for more than twenty years.