Coaches

Mike Mazur - Executive Director

Under Mike's leadership, Altitude has grown from its original size of just 4 teams to well over 25 teams, with nine top 10 finishes at USA Volleyball Nationals, AAU Nationals, and Asics Nationals, and has had 7 All-Americans at those Championships

The club earned a trip to the National Championship game and a Silver medal finish at the 38th AAU Volleyball Nationals in 2011, another National Championship appearance and Silver Medal at the USA Volleyball Junior Nationals in 2012, and a 5th place finish at the AAU Volleyball Nationals in 2012.  The club has also won 3 Asics National Championships at the Asics Junior Nationals held in Chicago each year.

Mike credits the success of the club to the tremendous group of coaches that make up the staff, sharing their passion with generations of athletes just entering the world of volleyball that we've all come to know and love. 

Mike stresses to all Altitude staff the importance of creating a "love for the game," regardless of the level of competition. He is also proud of the dozens of former players he has coached that have gone on to coach themselves, enriching the volleyball community through a positive coaching style. 

Many of his former players have gone on to have very successful collegiate careers, many of whom have become coaches in top college, high school, and club programs all over the country. Mike attributes this to his philosophy of spending as much time on the "why" as you do on the "how" when teaching volleyball, believing that if you focus preparing an athlete with the tools they need to be successful, that the winning will take care of itself.   

After spending his early coaching career in Illinois, Mike was extremely excited to bring his love of the game of volleyball back to Northwest Indiana, contributing to the development of the Region into the hotbed of volleyball it has become.  He brings a wealth of experience to the program, having coached for over 16 years at the grade school, high school and club levels.

Mike spent 6 seasons as both the Boys and Girls Varsity Volleyball Coach at Richards High School in Oak Lawn, IL, and also founded an extremely successful USA Volleyball Junior Club, which he directed for over 10 years before retiring to focus on his business career.  During his tenure at the helm, his teams were regularly among the best in the region, with five top 10 finishes in the country while competing in the USA Volleyball Junior Olympics and Asics Junior Nationals against clubs from across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico.  

Mike also has received CAP I, CAP II and IMPACT Coaching Certifications

In addition to coaching many top travel teams at Altitude, Mike has also coached both boys and girls teams at St. Mary's Grade School in Crown Point.  In his life away from sports, he is Vice President of Project Solution Sales for North America for Experis, a Manpower Company, which is an IT and Staffing Solutions company providing innovative workforce solutions. 

He is happily married to his wife Tammy, and is the proud father of a 17 year old daughter/Altitude club volleyball player named Alyssa, a 7 year old son, Michael, and a 5 year old daughter/Altitude VolleyKidz player named Gabriella. 


Brian Erminger

Brian is currently the Head Women's Volleyball Coach for Purdue University - North Central, and a Senior Coach for Altitude.  Brian was formerly the Varsity Coach at Hammond High School and Whiting High School, and also in the past coached collegiately at Calumet College.

 He has had an accomplished club coaching career, with over 16 years of coaching elite boys and girls teams.  In the 2012-13 season, Brian coached Altitude 17/18 Black ROX and Altitude 15 Red, leading the 17/18 Black ROX team to a Silver Medal finish at the Asics Nationals Championships.  For the 2011-12 season, Brian coached both Altitude 18 Black ROX and Altitude 16 Black ROX teams to much success and multiple tournament victories and championships. 

In the 2010-11 season, Brian coached the Altitude 17 Black ROX team to multiple tournament victories and festival tournament championships.  In 2010, Brian led his Altitude 16 Black team to the medal stand, winning the 16 and Under Asics National Championship at the Asics Junior Nationals at Navy Pier, and followed that up with a Top Ten finish at the AAU Junior Volleyball Nationals in Orlando, FL.  He has been coaching with Altitude since 2008.

Many of Brian's former players have gone on to very successful collegiate careers themselves, and he takes a lot of pride in getting his athletes ready to compete at the highest levels with innovative and forward-thinking instruction.  His never-ending drive and passion for the game of volleyball is legendary, and he is always up for a discussion or debate on the intricacies of the sport.

Brian has played and coached with Altitude Executive Director Mike Mazur for over 18 years, and in the past has also coached the 18-1's girls team for Beverly Blue Smoke out of Evergreen Park, and also coached for Synergy Volleyball Club, taking his 15 and Under team to a 3rd place finish at Junior Olympics, losing to eventual champion Puerto Rico in 3 games.

He also plays in volleyball leagues regularly, and his positive coaching style and love for the game is evident in the success of the athletes who play for him.

 

Carey (Nostrant) Yukich

Carey Yukich has been a coach with Altitude since its inaugural season, and was the head coach of Altitude 16 Black ROX for the 2012-13 season, leading them to a bid to USA Volleyball Junior Nationals. Carey graduated from high school in 1989 and finished as a 3-time, 1st team Michigan All-State selection for volleyball, and a 2 time 1st team Michigan All-State selection for basketball.

She continued her volleyball career on full scholarship to Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, competing in the Big Ten Conference, where she finished her career as Northwestern’s 9th all-time assist leader, with 1,029 assists. After college, Carey competed at the women's USAV level with a team who was national runner up and USAV National champion.

Coaching and helping others achieve their goals are Carey's passions. She coached volleyball camps with US Men's Olympic Team and AVP Beach Tour legend, and current USA Women’s assistant coach Karch Kiraly. She also completed a volleyball coaching internship at Ferris State University, and was a graduate assistant volleyball coach for perennial Division II powerhouse Central Missouri State University, where she focused on recruiting.

Carey has coached Travel teams at Altitude for many years, and is also responsible for the setting philosophy and curriculum at Altitude.  She trains setters with a focus on footwork, decision making, hand positioning, leadership and much more.

Carey states her coaching philosophy is:

“Achieving success takes courage, hard work, discipline, mental toughness, and focus from all individuals on a team, PLUS players, coaches, parents, and the club fighting together toward a common goal. We ALL are ALL IN! Our performance is defined not only by our play on the court, but our character on and off the court. There is no right way to do the wrong thing whether in volleyball or life.”

In addition to her role as head coach of Altitude 16 Black ROX, Carey has also taken on the newly created position of Recruiting Coordinator for Altitude. Her role as recruiting coordinator will include:

1. Educating parents, coaches, players on the ins and outs of the recruiting process, 2. Expanding the culture within Altitude to promote collegiate volleyball at any level (Division I, Division II, Division III, NAIA, etc.)

3. Communication liaison between collegiate coaches and Altitude players and families,

4. Promoting interested Altitude players to collegiate programs,

5. Developing profiles for interested athletes that are searchable by college coaches, 6. Recognizing the achievements of Altitude players who earn college scholarships,

7. Keep updated on rules associated with the recruiting process, and much more.

Carey and her husband John, who serves as the Operations Manager for Altitude, live in Crown Point with their two daughters, Jessica and Samantha. She is a successful Wealth Manager, and helps coach her clients as well.


Dr. Rick Beck - Age Group Coordinator and Boys Coordinator

Rick has coached for Altitude for the past 7 years, and was formerly the Varsity Boys Volleyball Coach at Wheeler High School.  In 2012, his Wheeler Boys volleyball advanced to the state tournament in which the top 8 teams in the state compete in a single elimination tournament.

Three of his former altitude players were selected to the Indiana all-star team and one to the junior all-star team.  Finally, one of his former Altitude players received a scholarship to play collegiate volleyball.

Rick has served as an age group coordinator, boy’s coordinator and has coached boys and girls travel teams for Altitude, and is also a business partner and owner with Mike Mazur in The Diggz of Northwest Indiana.  He has a deep history in volleyball and youth sports.  Rick has 20+ years as a player, coached boys and girls for St Paul’s in Valparaiso, served as the Athletic Director for St Paul’s and has been actively involved in NWI Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) sports program.

His positive and interactive coaching style is well known.  He prides himself on taking a “2s” team and getting them to a higher level by drilling sound fundamentals in a demanding, yet positive atmosphere.  He promotes a philosophy of player development instead of winning at all cost. His players work hard for him, and he recognizes them on a constant basis for the things they do well, and encourages them to work on “opportunities to improve.”

Away from volleyball Rick is a well-respected dentist in Northwest Indiana and lives in Valparaiso with his wife, Liesl, and his three children, Ryan, Stephanie, and Megan, who are all Altitude players.

 

Shelley Evers – 13/14’s Coordinator

Shelley is the Assistant Varsity Coach at Crown Point High School, and was formerly the Head Varsity Volleyball Coach at Hanover Central High School, where she coached from 2009-2013, and in 2012 led her squad to one of the best volleyball seasons in HC history.  Prior to that, she was the freshman volleyball coach at Illiana Christian HS in Illinois.

She is a Senior Coach with Altitude, and also serves as Altitude's 13/14 Age Group Coordinator.  In the 2012-13 Season, she coached Altitude 15/16 Black ROX. 

During the 2011-12 season, Shelley coached Altitude 14 Red, with the highlight of the year being a Silver Division Championship at the Asics Junior Nationals at Navy Pier, followed up with a trip to the AAU Junior National Volleyball Championships in Orlando, FL.  In 2010-11, Shelley coached her Altitude 14 Red team to numerous tournament championships, and took her squad to the AAU Junior Nationals.  

Along with volleyball, Shelley has coached middle school basketball and softball as well as summer youth volleyball tournament teams. She played 4 years of high school volleyball as an outside hitter followed by 4 years for Trinity International University in Deerfield, IL.  During her career as a player, she received honors such as defensive player of the year, hustle award, led her team in kills for 2 consecutive seasons, as well as named team captain.

Coach Evers has a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and began her teaching career in Colorado. After moving "home" to Northwest Indiana, teaching was put on hold to raise a family. She is also the Assistant Manager at the Diggz, and currently resides in St. John with her husband Scott, son Brandon and daughter Mackenzie.

"My philosophy of coaching is simple...meet each player where they are at...then inspire, teach, and team with that player to elevate them to their full potential. I believe as coaches we should be encouraging well-rounded athletes. Players with character, heart and passion for what they do create positive results on the court...I'm all about the journey, the destination is exciting...but it's the getting there which shapes what the outcome will be." 


Elizabeth Denton - Youth Coordinator

Elizabeth is currently the JV coach for Hobart High School, and was formerly the JV coach at Hanover Central High School.  In the 2012-13 season, Liz led the Altitude 12 Black ROX team to great success, and also ran the Altitude Youth Program, teaching the youngest of athletes the love of the game through our VolleyTotz, VolleyKidz, and the 10 and Under Program.   

Her coaching experience also includes two years of 6th grade volleyball for Boston Middle School in La Porte Indiana, one year at Lowell Middle School, and one season for Lowell's Middle School Dunes' feeder program. She also coached 11/12 travel lite, volley kids, and 14's traveling teams for Altitude's 2011-2012 season. She also took Altitude 14 White to the AAU National Championships in Orlando Florida this year.

Liz has been playing volleyball since she was in 4th grade. She played for Lowell High School and was a member of the Conference/Sectional Championship and Elite 8 team. She also played eight seasons for Dunes Volleyball Club. She attended Purdue University where she majored in English Secondary Education and taught for three years for the La Porte Community School Corporation, and is now teaching at Hobart High School.

"I approach my coaching very similar to the way that I teach. Each player receives the fundamentals that they need to be successful from day one. They then refine and perfect these skills through constant practice and repetition. I give them many opportunities to be successful and push them beyond their limits to new levels. Through constant research I learn to become a better coach so that I can give my players the knowledge they need to become smart and well-rounded players who develop a true passion and love for the game."


Matt Clark

Matt co-coached Epic United 18 Elite ROX in the 2013-14 season, and also coached DEVA 13 Jade ROX.  HE has been a longtime senior coach on the DEVA side of the house, and Altitude is excited to have him coaching on the East side this season.

Coaching Experience:
2011 – Current :      Highland High School Varsity Head Coach
2009 – Current:       Diamond Elite Volleyball Academy and Epic United

For Diamond Elite, Matt has coached multiple teams each season, at ages varying from 18s to 12s. He also coaches kid’s camps and “Volleykids” sessions, works with the VAQS program, coaches for the beach volleyball program, plans and coaches small group sessions, and sat on the DEVA Board of Directors.


2012:                         Purdue University Individual Skills Camp Coach
2009 – 2011:            Highland High School Junior Varsity Head Coach
2008 – 2009:            Kankakee Valley High School Freshman Head Coach


Playing Experience:
I fell in love with volleyball at a very young age, and it was among the key ingredients in my choosing to attend Illiana Christian High School, because it was the one of the few schools I could attend that would offer boys volleyball. I was the starting setter for Illiana Christian my entire high school career, and our team won Regionals my senior year. After High School I accepted a scholarship offer to play at Trinity International University in Deerfield Illinois. Since leaving Trinity, I have played in several local leagues and various indoor volleyball tournaments. I play more beach volleyball now than anything else, and have played in several beach volleyball tournaments locally and nationally.

Matt's Coaching Philosophy:
"Playing volleyball should be fun above all else. In coaching I want to always encourage players to have fun, and really enjoy and love the game. I decided to become a coach to teach players the fundamental skills it takes to be successful in this sport on the court, and to use what I have learned from my own successes and failures to give the next generation a firm base of knowledge they can use to become even more successful than I ever was, both on and off the court.

I believe that in everything, not just volleyball, success is best achieved by always giving your best effort, continually trying to improve so that today I am better than yesterday and tomorrow I will be better than today. Practice makes permanent not perfect, so practice with attention to detail and with a focus on perfection. No one can ever be perfect all the time, learn from mistakes, and celebrate in the moments of perfection.  As a coach I hope to teach players just that, to celebrate moments of perfection in volleyball and in life, by practicing with attention to details, so that the moments of perfection occur more often."

Ann Bobos

Ann is currently the Junior Varsity Volleyball Coach at Lowell High School, where she has been since the 2011 season. She has over 20 years of coaching experience at the club, grade school, middle school, high school, and College levels.  In 2012-13, she coaches Altitude 14 Black ROX.

Prior to joining Lowell, Ann was the Junior Varsity Volleyball Coach at Andrean High School. Before that, Ann coached at Hobart High School, as well as many years coaching for schools in the CYO Volleyball system and USA Club Volleyball.

Ann played collegiately at the University of St. Francis, where she was a Two time NAIA Player of the Year. Following her senior season, she was invited to a tryout with the USA Women’s National B Team, and returned to her alma mater to serve as an Assistant Coach for the St. Francis collegiate team.

In 1996, Ann was inducted into the University of St. Francis Hall of Fame and had her jersey retired. Additionally, she was also inducted into the NAIA National Hall of Fame in 1997.

She is known as a coach that strives to develop her players, sharing her experiences with them to help them achieve their highest potential. Many of her former players have remarked what an influence she was in their lives, both on and off the volleyball court.

She lives in Lowell with her husband Kevin, and their three children.


Ashley Plumley

Ashley is currently the Junior Varsity Volleyball Coach at Crown Point High School, and was formerly the Freshmen Coach at Portage High School.  She also has additional high school coaching experience as the Head Varsity Volleyball Coach at Port St. Lucie High School in Port St. Lucie, FL for two years, and the same role at Somerset Academy Charter High, Pembroke Pines, FL.

Coach Plumley has coached at Diamond Elite Volleyball Club, and also coached 16 and Unders at Treasure Coast Volleyball Club in Stuart, FL.  She was also a volunteer coach at the University of Miami, Miami, FL.
 
She also has extensive playing experience, playing high school ball at Crown Point High School, where she was a setter and captain. She played club for Synergy Volleyball, and also for Dunes Volleyball Club. After high school, she went on to play collegiately at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, where she was a Defensive Specialist and Co-Captain of her squad.   She also has extensive officiating experience, having served as a USAV Florida Region Official.

She states her coaching philosophy as: An athlete’s character is more important than their talent! My goal is to create well-rounded players on the court, as well as in the community and classroom. I strive to enhance the volleyball talents of my players, while developing their leadership skills, self-discipline, and work ethic.
Outside of volleyball, she is a teacher in the Crown Point School system.

 

Matt Zima

Matt has been coaching USA Club Volleyball since the early 90's.  Previously, he has coached for 2nd City, Synergy, and Northwest Elite Volleyball Clubs.   Additionally, he was the Head Women’s Volleyball Coach at Indiana University Northwest and an Assistant Coach at Ancilla College.  For the 2012-13 Season, he coaches Altitude 14 Red and served as the Travel Lite coordinator. 

He has led the Girls’ high school programs at Bishop Noll and East Chicago Central as well as the Boys’ Varsity team at Hanover Central.  He is also currently coaching Middle School teams in the Hanover system as well.

Matt’s also been a Regional Director with the Volleyball Professionals, a company that does volleyball instruction to youth through park districts and private establishments throughout the country, and an assistant tournament director with the EVP, the second largest pro beach tour in the United States. 

Matt has CAP 1, ASEP, and IMPACT Coaching Certifications, and is CPR/First Aid certified through the Red Cross.  His specialty is developing hitters, setters, and blockers.  He enjoys running camps, clinics, and doing private instruction and will again be overseeing tournaments hosted by Altitude this season.  

Matt had coached numerous girls and boys teams at Altitude.  In his spare time, Matt actively plays volleyball in various local adult leagues and tournaments, and is pursuing a graduate degree in Sports Administration and Coaching. 

Being a former teacher, Matt’s coaching philosophy is based on the motto “Knowledge is Power!” as he always strives to motivate and educate his players in an effort to develop a life-long passion for the game. 

 

Amber Alm-McCaw

Amber has had a long and successful career in volleyball, and formerly spent 3 years as the Varsity Volleyball Coach at Lake Central High School.  Prior to joining LC, she was the Varsity coach at Andrean High School for 6 years, winning 3 Sectional titles and appearing in 3 Regional finals.

In the past, Amber has coached top teams at several different levels for Altitude.  She also coached for Northwest Indiana Elite Volleyball Club, and also ran her own Club -  Firebelly. 

As a player, Amber excelled at Andrean High School, being named NWI Times Player of the Year, and played for Sports Performance Volleyball Club. After high school, she went on to play Division 1 volleyball at the University of Toledo.

Amber also has her USA Volleyball IMPACT Certification, and runs a business in St. John.  She is married and the mother of two young twins. 

 

Dianna (Wingas) Melby

Diana is entering her third season with Altitude, working with our VolleyKidz and the Altitude Youth Program.

Diana was a standout Volleyball and Basketball player at George Rogers Clark High School in Hammond, earning numerous honors and awards for her hard work and dedication.  She was voted the Times Female Athlete of the Year, All State in basketball, selected as the Indiana Lake Shore Conference's Athlete of the Year for two consecutive years, and a three-time all-conference performer in both sports.

She went on to play collegiately at Northern Illinois University, where she captained the team her senior season and was named All North Star Conference. 

Diana is a member of the Hammond Sports Hall of Fame, and is a great role model for our youth program members as she teaches them with patience, encouragement, and a love of the game.

She teaches in the Lake Central School System, and her daughter Haley is an Altitude player who played on Altitude 10 Black ROX last season.

 

Hope Castillo

Hope Castillo is currently setting collegiately at Purdue University – North Central, playing for Altitude coach Brian Erminger.  Prior to transferring to PNC, Hope set for the Calumet College of Saint Joseph Volleyball team for three seasons.   

She played for Altitude in high school and was coached by Altitude Senior Coach Brian Erminger on Altitude 17 Black and Altitude 18 Black. She played all four years on varsity at Gwendolyn Brooks High School in Chicago, where she made the All-City Team in 2010 and was MVP in 2010.

Hope has also been coaching at Altitude for the past 4 seasons, and as a former Altitude player she brings a strong grasp of how to teach the fundamentals necessary for success in the game, focusing on the foundational skills that get players to the next level.

In addition, Hope assists Altitude Setting Coordinator Carey Yukich in developing the Setting Curriculum, keeping it fresh and innovative with the latest techniques in the game.

Her coaching career started as a senior in High School when she coached the boys varsity volleyball team at Gwendolyn Brooks High School. The team made All-Conference and moved up a division in 2010.  

She states the following about her coaching philosophy:  The key to my coaching is the three D's: Determination, Dedication, and Discipline. As a player these were things I applied to my game. They not only improved my game physically but mentally as well. Now as a coach I have a strong desire for my players to have as much fun as I did while improving their fundamental skills and mastering the game that will take them to a higher Altitude.


Courtney Byrd

Courtney is entering her senior year at Indiana University - Northwest, having played on the college team all 4 years that she has been there.  She also has been named Team Captain for the past 3 seasons.  She has shown her versatility while playing at IUN, hitting outside her freshman year, Libero her sophomore year, and setting her Junior year.

In the 2012-13 season, Courtney coached Altitude 16 Red, finishing her season at the AAU Junior Volleyball Nationals.  Courtney attended Portage High School, and played club volleyball for Dunes while in Middle School and High School.

Her Philosophy: Volleyball takes dedication and knowledge. Hard work and determination are key to having fun while playing and also being successful. Fundamentals are necessary in creating a great athlete and have to be focused on. Having knowledge of the game is also important in creating a solid player and more importantly a solid team.


Shelley Schara

Shelley played club volleyball from 5th grade through her senior year, and started on her High School Varsity team all four years as a setter. She was an All-Area Selection, All-Conference Selection, AAU Tournament MVP, and was recruited to play Division 1 volleyball by several schools. She has many years of experience coaching youth volleyball players, and has coached 5 & 6 grade teams and summer camps.

In the 2012-13 Season, in addition to coaching in the VolleyKidz and VolleyTotz program, Shelley led her Altitude 10 Black ROX team to several tournament victories and notable accomplishments, surpassing what many thought was possible with her young team made up of mainly 8 and 9 year olds.  Through a very positive coaching and teaching style, Shelly embodies the "love of the game" philosophy that is a core value of Altitude.

In 2013-14, Shelly coaches Altitude 10 Black ROX to multiple tournament victories, including several at the 12 and Under level.  Highlights of the season were winning a Silver Medal at the Midwest Youth Championships, and going to AAU Junior Volleyball Nationals in Orlando, FL.   

Shelley LOVES working with kids. Her goal is to provide an environment that is positive and fun while teaching the fundamentals of the game and skills to be a successful team. She has her IMPACT & CAP1 Certification through USA Volleyball and is beginning her second season coaching with the youth program.

Shelley is a former elementary school teacher and currently a real estate agent. She lives in Crown Point with her husband, Matt, and three daughters, who are all in the Altitude program.


Emmanuel Ndungutse

Emmanuel was formerly the Rwanda National Volleyball Coach (Men – senior) for 4 years, and Coach of the National University of Rwanda Volleyball (Men – Senior) for 5 years. In addition, he played for Rwanda as a National Volleyball Player for 10 years, where he was Team Captain for 4 of those years. He won the Rwanda National championship 7 times, and the Rwanda National Winner Cup 4 times.

He participated in 2 All-Africa games (Rwanda National Team), and also for the Universiade (Beijing 2001). His experience also includes participation in the Africa Champion’s League 6 times as a player, and 2 times as coach, 4 African Nations Cups, and is trained in the use of VIS software for FIVB statistics. He is also certified 3E (Switzerland) as a National Coach and Technical director.

Emmanuel has a Bachelor’s Degree in Information Technology from the National University of Rwanda, and a Masters in Information Technology from Loyola University of Chicago. He is married to his wife Claudette and has a son Bradley, and lives with his family in Crown Point, IN.

He states the following as his Coaching Philosophy: Keep learning for the better quality of the volleyball team game, help players to understand their role on the team during games, practices and off the court, and develop and perform a simple game with a high quality technical skillset.



Traci Goin

Bio to be uploaded soon


Ashley Thompson


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Cheryl Hannah

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Todd Gervais


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Chris Fortuna

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Anna Benson

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