Melissa Aldrich Shelton
Career Record: 174-147, 64-94 in ACC
Melissa Aldrich Shelton is entering her 11th season as the head coach of the University of Virginia volleyball program. In 10 short years, Shelton is the winningest volleyball coach at Virginia and holds the longest head coaching tenure in the program's 26-year history. She also holds the fifth-longest coaching tenure among Virginia's current head coaches.
Shelton arrived at UVa in 1995 and led the Cavaliers to NCAA Tournament appearances in back-to-back seasons (1998 and 1999) - the first two NCAA bids in program history. In her 10 seasons as head coach at Virginia, Shelton has posted a 174-147 overall record. Shelton's Cavaliers' registered five consecutive winning seasons from 1996 through 2000. The five straight winning seasons is the longest streak in the history of the program. After two down seasons, UVa put together an outstanding 2003 campaign in which the team posted a 25-9 record followed with a 19-11 mark in 2004.
In 1996, just her second season as Virginia's head coach, UVa finished the season with a record of 24-11. The 24 wins were 15 more than the previous season and five more than the 1994 and 1995 seasons combined. From 1996 to 2000, Shelton guided the Cavaliers to an overall record of 103-62 for a .624 winning percentage. She became Virginia's all-time winningest volleyball coach with her 99th career victory, a 3-0 triumph over James Madison, on September 5, 2000.
Virginia finished the 2004 season with a 19-11 record, marking the team's second consecutive winning season. UVa was also 8-8 in the ACC. The Cavaliers were strong in non-conference matches, posting a 10-2 mark outside of ACC competition. Virginia hosted the 2004 ACC Tournament as the sixth seed. UVa extended its league-best streak of winning an ACC tourney match to seven consecutive seasons.
For the first time in school history, Virginia had a player selected as the ACC Freshman of the Year when Sarah Kirkwood garnered the honor in 2004. In addition to being named ACC Freshman of the Year, Kirkwood was an All-ACC Second-Team and ACC All-Freshmen Team selection. Kirkwood went on to capture AVCA All-East Region honorable mention accolades. She was also named the VaSID University Division Volleyball Player of the Year and was joined on the VaSID All-State First Team by Alexis Geocaris and Emily Kirkwood. Melissa Caldwell was a second-team selection, while Shelton garnered VaSID Coach of the Year honors for the second consecutive season and third time overall.
Virginia was not only successful on the court, but also in the classroom. Lindsay Osco was named to the six-member 2004 CoSIDA Academic All-District III University Division Women's Volleyball Third Team, one of just three sophmores to earn the honor. In addition 10 players were named to the 2004-05 ACC Academic Honor Roll.
In its silver anniversary season in 2003, Virginia was 25-9 overall and 8-8 in the ACC. UVa's 25 wins are the most since the 1998 team won 26 matches (26-8) and also the third highest single season win total in program history. The Cavaliers recorded a 16-match improvement from the 2002 season as UVa was 9-25 in 2002. The 25 wins are also seven more than the 2001 and 2002 seasons combined. The Cavaliers began their 2003 season by winning a program record 16 consecutive matches, including four straight tournament titles.
Under Shelton's tutelage, a pair of Cavaliers made school history as Whitney Ashcraft and Paige Davis became the program's first All-Americans. Both players were named 2003 American Volleyball Coaches Association Honorable Mention All-Americans. Ashcraft and Davis also both earned AVCA first-team All-East Region accolades. In addition, Ashcraft was a first-team All-ACC selection with Davis earning second-team honors. Lindsay Osco was named to the ACC All-Freshmen Team as well.
Shelton was named the 2003 VaSID All-State Volleyball Coach of the Year, while Ashcraft and Davis were VaSID First Team selections and Alexis Geocaris was a second-team pick. Ashcraft and Shannon Boyle were named to the 2003 CoSIDA Academic All-District III Women's Volleyball Second Team in recognition for their performance on the court and in the classroom. The team also garnered a 2003-2004 AVCA Academic Award by maintaining a 3.4 or better GPA during the academic year.
As a team, Virginia was recognized for its conduct on the court as the Cavaliers were the recipients of a 2003 Atlantic Coast Conference Fall Sportsmanship Award. Teams receiving the award conducted themselves with a high degree of character and good sportsmanship, as determined by a vote of the conference's teams.
The Cavaliers concluded the 2002 season with a 9-25 record and were 2-14 in the ACC. UVa won its first match of the ACC tournament, marking the fifth consecutive year Virginia has advanced in the tourney. In the classroom, the team posted an impressive 3.44 cumulative GPA during the academic year. Whitney Ashcraft was selected as a first-team All-ACC performer and was also an AVCA All-East Region honorable mention pick.
In 2001, a very young Virginia squad finished the season with a 9-18 overall record and a 3-13 mark in the ACC. UVa closed the season with a win over James Madison, marking the first time in program history the team won its final match of the season.
Shelton's Cavaliers posted a 16-15 overall record and an 8-8 mark in ACC play in 2000 and, in the process, extended their streak to five consecutive winning seasons. With its 8-8 record in ACC matches, UVa registered a .500 or better record in conference play for the third consecutive season, also a school record.
The 1999 season was another banner year for Shelton's Cavaliers. Virginia earned its second consecutive NCAA bid and posted a 19-12 overall record and concluded ACC regular season play with a 9-7 mark. UVa's nine league wins in 1999 are its second highest win total in ACC play, only surpassed by the 1998 squad's 12 conference victories (12-4).
In 1998, Shelton put together one of the finest seasons in Virginia volleyball history. UVa finished the year with a record of 26-8 overall, 12-4 in the ACC, and made its first ever appearance in the NCAA Volleyball Championship. The 26 victories made the 1998 Cavaliers the winningest volleyball team in the 1990's at Virginia. It was also the second highest win total in a season at UVa. The 12 conference wins are the most ACC victories that Virginia has recorded in a single season. Although the Cavaliers were picked to finish seventh in the conference in the coaches' preseason poll in 1998, Shelton guided UVa to a second-place finish in the ACC and advanced to the ACC Tournament semifinals as the second seed. After the successful season, Shelton was named the Coach of the Year by the Virginia Sports Information Directors (VaSID).
Shelton came to Virginia after spending two seasons as an assistant coach at Clemson. During her tenure, the Tigers won 55 matches and earned two NCAA Tournament bids. Prior to entering the ACC coaching ranks, Shelton spent two years at Arkansas State as an assistant coach. While at Arkansas State, she helped guide the Indians to two Sun Belt Conference Championships. The Indians earned bids to one National Invitational Volleyball Championship and one NCAA Tournament in her time at Arkansas State.
During her time in Jonesboro, Shelton earned a master's degree in exercise science and coached the Arkansas Juniors volleyball club team, which placed fifth at the 1993 AAU Championships.
As an undergraduate at William & Mary, Shelton earned four volleyball varsity letters and was elected team captain for her junior and senior seasons. She captured second-team All-Colonial Athletic Association honors as a junior and was named to the All-CAA Tournament Team as a senior. While at William & Mary, the Tribe made two appearances in the WIVC, with a top finish of third in 1989. The Long Beach, Calif. native earned her bachelor's degree in history in 1991.
Shelton attended high school at Wilson High (Calif.) where she graduated as valedictorian of a class that totaled 964 students. At Wilson, Shelton was a standout volleyball player. She was named MVP of the volleyball team her senior year as well as being named All-City, All-League and All-California Interscholastic Federation following her junior and senior seasons. Shelton also received a National Guard Scholar/Athlete Award for both her academic and athletic achievements.
Shelton is married to Gordon Shelton, a Curry School of Education graduate. The couple have a son, Andrew, born in December 2004. They currently reside in Charlottesville.