Aug. 6, 2003

Cullowhee, N.C. - The Western Carolina University athletics department has named several new coaches and staff members in recent weeks, including assistant track and field Coach Brandy Venable, assistant volleyball coach David Nicholson, assistant football coach Rodney Redd, assistant strength and conditioning coach Myles Christian and assistant director of academic support services for student-athletes Aime Mitchell.

Venable spent the last two seasons as the assistant women's track and field coach at Odessa Junior College in Odessa, Texas, coaching 11 athletes to 31 National Junior College Association All-American performances during that time. She was also the West Texas Track Club head coach in 2002. Prior to that, she served as a program manager for the Intel Corporation in Hudson, Mass. Venable was a four-year letter winner at Purdue University competing in the heptathlon and served as her team's captain for two years (1991-1992). At Purdue, she was an Academic All-Big Ten selection in 1992 and '93. As a high school athlete, Venable was selected the Mississippi Female Athlete of the year in 1985 at the Jackson Academy.

Nicholson comes to WCU this summer after an extensive high school coaching career. He first served as the head coach at Crescent H.S., in Port Angeles, Wash., from 1992-95, taking over a program which had not seen a victory in over five years. In his third season as the coach there, the team was at the top of its conference. From 1995-97, Nicholson served as the freshman volleyball coach at Rainier H.S., in Rainier, Ore., and then was appointed the head coach at Clatskanie H.S., in Clatskanie, Ore. While there, he guided his team to a league championship and a sixth place finish in the state. He followed that up with a seventh place finish at the state level the following year. In July of 2000, Nicholson made the move across the country to Hayesville, N.C., and served as the assistant volleyball coach at Murphy H.S., for a year before becomming the athletic director/head volleyball coach of Hiwassee Dam H.S., in 2001. Most recently, he spent the past year taking classes at Tri-County Community College and officiating high school volleyball matches in the area. He was also selected to officiate the 2002 3A State Championship match.

Redd enters his first season on the WCU football staff. However, his association to Kent Briggs dates back to the late 1990's. Redd, who will work with the running backs at Western, played defensive back at North Carolina State while Briggs was defensive coordinator and secondary coach with the Wolfpack. Redd began his coaching career at Monticello (Va.) High School, coaching the junior varsity defense in 2001. The following year, he became defensive coordinator for the Monticello varsity squad. When he was not coaching, Redd worked as an underwriter for State Farm Insurance. With the Wolfpack, He played four years and was a tri-team captain in 1998. He earned the NCSU Scholar Athlete Award in 1995. A native of Martinsville, Va., Redd played football, basketball and ran track at Magna Vista High School, leading his school to three undefeated seasons. He graduated from Magna Vista with honors and was his senior class president.

Christian, who became a full-time staff member this summer, enters his second season as Western Carolina's assistant strength and conditioning coach. A Cottondale, Ala., native, he came to WCU after having served as a teacher and assistant softball coach at Holy Spirit High School in Tuscaloosa, Ala. He has also worked as a football and strength coach at Tuscaloosa Christian School and as a trainer at a fitness club in Tuscaloosa. Christian is currently working on his master's in Education at Western Carolina. He completed his bachelor's degree at the University of Alabama in the spring of 2001. While there, Christian was a walk-on for the Crimson Tide football team, which played in the Outback Bowl, Music City Bowl and Orange Bowl during his time there. He also played on the 1999 Southeastern Conference Championship team.

Mitchell joins Western after serving as the Administrative Intern for the Southern Conference during the 2002-03 academic year. While there, she assisted the Compliance and Public Affairs Directors with various tasks such as working with the NLI database, administering the NCAA Coaches Certification Exam and producing weekly releases for the conference women's soccer, volleyball, wrestling, softball and men's and women's outdoor track programs. Mitchell also taught physical education at St. John's School in Houston, Tex., from 1996-2002. Outside of teaching, she also served as the varsity softball, varsity swimming, junior varsity soccer and middle school volleyball coach throughout her time there. Mitchell earned her bachelor's degree in Health and Exercise Science in 1995 from Furman University.