AC selects veteran coach Scott Sandel to spearhead Badger volleyball

Amarillo College has a new head women’s volleyball coach who likely needs no introduction to enthusiasts of the sport, and not just those residing in the Texas Panhandle; Scott Sandel has helped produce winning teams from coast to coast.

In a career spanning 35 years, Sandel has assembled an impressive résumé that reflects his coaching prowess at the club, high school, and collegiate levels and conspicuously includes 10 NCAA post-season appearances.

AC reestablished its intercollegiate athletics program in 2022 after a decades-long hiatus, and Sandel replaces former head coach Amanda Black, who resigned after leading the Badgers to a respectable 16-15 record in their inaugural 2022 campaign.

Locally, Sandel is known both as an accomplished coach/director of select club organizations, and for having been the head volleyball coach at Tascosa High School from 2006-2013, a tenure in which he guided teams to no less than the regional quarterfinals in six consecutive seasons.

He also served as an assistant coach under Kim Hudson in 1990 when the Lady Buffs of West Texas A&M University (Sandel’s alma mater) captured the NCAA Division II national championship.

However, Sandel also successfully served as the head women’s volleyball coach for NCAA Division I programs at Northern Michigan University (2000-2002) and Boise State University (2002-2006). His Northern Michigan team twice made the NCAA post-season tourney.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have Scott Sandel join our coaching staff here at Amarillo College,” Athletic Director Mark White said. “His résumé is beyond outstanding, and I am confident that our volleyball program will thrive under his veteran leadership.

“Scott is a true professional,” White said. “His enthusiasm for the game and his dedication not only to winning but to academic success for his student athletes is a truly exciting combination. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

Among other stops in his collegiate career, Sandel was an assistant coach at the University of South Carolina (1997-2000), where twice the team reached the NCAA tournament.

Additionally, as an assistant coach at Northern Arizona University, Sandel was a member of the 1991 staff recognized for having sparked the greatest single-season turnaround in the nation. The team’s sterling 26-8 record that year dwarfed the abysmal 9-22 record compiled in 1990 by the previous staff.

“I’m excited to be back in the Panhandle,” Sandel said. “It’s really good to be home. I look forward to building Amarillo College volleyball into the sort of program everyone involved will be proud to be part of and that our community will want to come out and support.”

Sandel, who established and led the nationally renowned Amarillo J.O.’s volleyball club in the 1990s, has spearheaded numerous other successful club teams and has nine regional club championships to his credit. As recently as 2022, he served as head coach and specialized training director for Frisco Flyers Volleyball.

He also was the head volleyball coach at Plano East High School from 2013-2018.

Sandel has already selected an assistant coach in Meagan Ellis, who played volleyball collegiately at Southern Nazarene University (2017-2021). She brings club playing and coaching experience to the AC position, most recently as head coach of Amarillo Xtreme 17s.

Ellis is a product of Hereford High School, where she was a first-team all-district selection four years running, and she capped off her senior campaign by receiving District Offensive Player of the Year honors.

Sandel and Ellis already are on the recruiting trail, working to assemble a 2023 team that will make its debut in August at the newly renovated FirstBank Southwest Center on the Washington Street Campus.