Sarah Bernson
Sarah Bernson
Previous College: Saint Mary's (Calif.) '99
Position: Assistant Coach and Recruiting Coordinator

Sarah Bernson will enter her sixth season as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the Eagles in 2017. In addition to helping lead AU to four consecutive Patriot League Championship titles and four NCAA Tournament berths, Bernson was part of the staff that guided the Eagles to the first NCAA Tournament wins in program history during the 2013 campaign, and again in 2015.

During her tenure at American, Bernson has played a large role in recruiting, training and operations.  Through her recruiting efforts, 20 student-athletes have been added to the program in the past five years, including six All-Patriot League selections, two Freshmen of the Year and one Libero of the Year.  On the court, Bernson specializes in the hitting and blocking training for the Eagles.  American has been the perpetual conference leader in both categories and closed the 2015 season ranked 55th in the nation for kills and 33rd in blocks.  The highest national ranking for each was ninth in 2013 for hitting percentage (.289) and 16th in blocks (2.83 per game) in 2012.  Several AU student-athletes have also been nationally ranked, including No. 26 Aleksandra Kazala for kills per set in 2016 (4.33), No. 19 Kelly McCaddin in 2013 for hitting percentage (.406), and No. 28 Morgan Hendrix for blocks per set (1.34) in 2012.

In addition to her duties at American, Bernson has also served as the head coach for the Rising Tide of the PVL (USA Volleyball's professional league) for the past three years.  Representing the USAV Chesapeake Region, the squad is comprised of professional players from overseas and recent college graduates.  In 2016, the Rising Tide finished third at the USAV Nationals in Orlando, Fla.  Six former Eagles have been on the team throughout the program's four-year history.

Bernson joined the coaching staff prior to the 2012 season after eight years at Cornell University, including three seasons as the head coach, bringing over 12 years of collegiate coaching experience to American.

In her time at Cornell, she helped develop 19 All-Ivy performers and helped the program to Ivy League titles in 2004, 2005 and 2006 with two NCAA Tournament appearances. She was in charge of recruiting and worked with the program’s first All-American in school history and all-time kills leader. In 2011, Cornell’s recruiting class earned a national ranking from PrepVolleyball.

From 2001-2004, Bernson served as an assistant coach at California State University at Monterey Bay and assisted in their transition from NAIA to NCAA Division II. She was in charge of recruiting and technical skills training and helped CSUMB athletes garner the program’s first postseason honors. She also created and ran the Monterey Volleyball Club, a youth development program geared to middle school and high school student-athletes.

Bernson played collegiately as an outside and right side hitter at Saint Mary’s (Calif.) before an injury in 1998. She was named team captain during her senior season. Bernson also coached the New Mexico Juniors and Lamorinda Volleyball Clubs while in college, and helped lead Albuquerque to regional titles. In high school, she was an All-State middle blocker from Albuquerque, N.M., and helped St. Pius X to a state title in 1994.

Bernson graduated from Saint Mary’s (Calif.) in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in English and Art.


Updated: March 1, 2017