Danyel Bellush #102
Position: Head Coach Ht.:
Previous School: Charleston Southern, 1997
Eligibility: Major: 7680
Danyel Bellush enters her 15th season at the helm of the Lady Buccaneer volleyball program, and has spent a total of 18 years with the CSU volleyball program. She played for four years for the Lady Bucs and was the team captain and lone senior in her last season. Her teams have competed in the Big South Tournament semifinal in each of the last two seasons, making CSU one of two Big South teams (Liberty) to make it to the Conference semis in 2009 and 2010.
Her teams improved their season record every year from 2006 through 2009, culminating in a 17-17 season and Big South semifinal appearance in 2009. The 2007 team went 8-22, and the next three seasons saw the Bucs win 10, 16 and 17 games, respectively.
Coach Bellush has led the Buccaneers to 149 victories over her 14 years as head coach. She sits second in program history, eight wins behind Amir Khaledi, who served as head coach from 1985 through 1992.
She has coached 10 Big South All-Conference selections, including one in each of the last seven seasons. Under Bellush’s direction, CSU has had the 2010 Big South Player of the Year in Amanda Hill and the 1998 Big South Scholar Athlete and CSU Hall of Fame member Allison Arreola. Three Buccaneers have been named to the Conference All-Tournament Team, five have been honored on the All-Freshman Team and 14 on the All-Academic Team.
Bellush, with the second longest tenure of any current Big South volleyball coach, has posted the fourth-most overall victories of any Conference coach all-time. She was named Big South Coach of the Year in 2001 after directing the team to a fourth-place finish.
In 2010, the Buccaneers posted a 13-20 overall record, matching their 6-10 BSC mark from 2009. The team swept the season series from Radford and Gardner-Webb, the first time since 2001 that CSU recorded two series sweeps over conference opponents.
Entering the Big South Tournament as the No. 6 seed for the third straight year, CSU swept UNC Asheville in the quarterfinals Nov. 18. By doing so, the Buccaneers became the first No. 6 seed to sweep a third seed in Big South Tournament history. The Lady Bucs then took the first game from No. 2 seeded High Point, falling in four sets to the eventual conference champions.
Under Bellush’s tutelage, Amanda Hill posted a stellar four-year career which included four All-Conference mentions, three times on the Big South First Team and a 2010 Big South Player of the Year honor. Hill left CSU as the career leader in kills and attacks, and is the only player in Big South history with 1,900 career kills and 1,500 career digs. The entire class of 2010 left its mark, with Hill, Cori Holeman, Emily Libertowski, Tricia Rodl and Amberle Trinder entering the top 10 at CSU in at least one career category.
The 2009 season saw CSU improve to 17-17 and ended in a dramatic Big South Tournament run, the Bucs’ first semifinal appearance since 1990. CSU posted a thrilling 3-2 victory over Winthrop in the quarterfinal before taking two-time defending champion Liberty to the limit in a five-set semifinal defeat. The Bucs also downed SoCon champion College of Charleston Sept. 22.
In each of the last five years, Bellush has led a strong cast of players, including 2008-10 First Team All-Conference performer Amanda Hill, 2006 first-team all-conference performer Jenni Shepherd, and 2005 second-team selection Katie O'Riordan.
The CSU record books have been rewritten under the direction of Bellush. Hill broke the single season attacks and kills records during the 2008 season, and set the kills record with 569 in 2010. Holeman set the single-season record for block assists in 2009. The 2008 team alone had 23 additions to the individual single season and career leaders, followed by 40 additions from the 2009 cast and 39 in 2010. The single-season assist record was broken by O'Riordan in 2003, while the rest of the 2003 team set team season records in kills and assists.
Bellush brings years of playing and coaching experience to the team and is no stranger to CSU volleyball.
During Bellush's senior year as a player, she led the team in digs (242) and digs per game (2.521) while recording 137 kills and 17 aces. Her junior year was shortened with a severe knee injury 12 matches into the season that required surgery on her anterior cruciate ligament and cost her the rest of her junior year.
As a sophomore she played in 104 of 106 possible games and finished fourth in kills per game (1.337) and digs per game (2.510). She played in 28 of 33 matches as a freshman. Bellush was an all-state selection and team most valuable player at Osbourn Park High School.
She coaches for the USVBA, serving as coach for the Charleston Junior Olympic girls team. The Manassas, Virginia, native graduated from Charleston Southern in the spring of 1997 with a degree in physical education and a minor in secondary education. She received her master’s degree in elementary education in 2001.
Formerly known around the league as Danyel Lonigro, she was married to former CSU baseball standout B.J. Bellush in July of 2000. She is now the proud mother of two daughters, Tanner and Reece Bellush, who are 5 years and 3 years old respectively.