Our Committee

Get to know your community leaders, and keep an eye out for them around the courts to say ‘Hi!’

Danielle Tansu

President

Dani is an inaugural member of the Hunter Volleyball Executive Committee. Dani and her husband relocated from the US to Australia in 2010. Since then, they have grown their family to include two kids and two furkids. She is a passionate coach of our junior and senior programs. Dani started her volleyball journey at the age of 15 competing in high school, beach and grass competitions as well as Junior Olympics and then went on to earn a scholarship at Div III Brenau University. After leaving Brenau Dani played club for Div I University of Georgia and as an adult, was a competitor in the USAV Southern Region both indoor and outdoor. She coached high school for three years, taking teams to top 5 finishes in the State and then coached Junior Olympics for five years, taking teams to Regional Championships and National Qualifiers. She is a fundamentals coach that likes to work from the ground up and believes in developing the character of a player just as much as the talent.

Pierre Nicolay

Vice-president

Pierre is a new member of the Hunter Volleyball Executive Committee as of April 2023. He started playing indoor volleyball at 13 in his local club of Nantes in France following a family tradition. He competed at local and regional levels as a Junior and reached the finals of the French Cup and continued playing for the university representative team. Pierre moved to Australia in 2016 where he joined Newcastle Volleyball shortly after. He was part of the Division 1 Men’s representative team competing in events including State Cups and Good Neighbour. He is still currently playing in the Newcastle Adult Comp in A Grade. Pierre discovered that Newcastle was also the perfect environment to play beach volleyball in a 2vs2 format and got involved in social and more competitive competitions in Manly or part of the NSW Beach tour. Pierre coached junior participation programs in local schools (Grade 3 to Grade 7) as part of the Spikeroos program, and coached the Sharks team to victory in the 2023 Junior Volleyball League boys competition, passing his passion for playing to the younger members of the community and contributing to the development of talented players.

Mark Dan Kozono

Treasurer

Mark commenced as the association's Treasurer in 2022 and has assisted with the integration of digital technologies and reporting processes for the accounts. He is supported by a local bookkeeper and ensures that the income and expenditure of the association is recorded accurately for reporting to members at the Annual General Meeting. He is a long-serving member of Hunter Volleyball and plays both social teams and is a junior representative team coach. He is currently also coaching the Juniors U18 Girls while studying Bachelor of Commerce, Accounting and Finance at University of Newcastle.

Nienke de Vlieger

Secretary

Nienke has been secretary of Hunter Volleyball since 2020. She started playing volleyball when she went to Uni in her home-country in the Netherlands. Volleyball is a very popular sport in the Netherlands and especially in this particular town: the University club alone had 15 mens teams and 9 women's! She came to Newcastle in 2016 to do a Phd and has been active in Newcastle volleyball eversince. While volleyball is a bit different here, she has enjoyed playing in the social comps, discovering beach volleyball on Newcastle's beautiful beaches and has been active in representative teams multiple years.

Greame Bowley

General Committee Member

Volleyball captured Graeme's (aka 'Papa Smurf') interest as a junior over 54 years ago and he says "boy have the rules of engagement changed over that time". He has competed in every state of Australia except WA (he played for WA teams at comps) and competed overseas. At university Graeme formed a number of teams and there he started his mentoring of players. In his former club in Victoria he was awarded life membership in recognition of the coaching of junior and senior teams as well as serving as Vice President for over 10 years. In moving to Port Stephens Graeme quickly discovered the Newcastle Volleyball Association (now Hunter Volleyball) at Broadmeadow Stadium and has enjoyed the last 23 years playing at all levels and representing the club at Good Neighbour and State Cup comps. During this time he has continued his mentoring of players and has been an active committee member in the former Newcastle Volleyball Association and the current Hunter Volleyball Association. In 2022, he was awarded life membership with Hunter Volleyball Association.

Michelle Slack-Smith

General committee member

Michelle was appointed President of the new Hunter Volleyball Inc in 2019 and plunged headfirst into the role creating opportunities for participation, representation and engagement with the sport. A former Event Manager at Volleyball Australia and Executive Officer at Volleyball NSW, Michelle's passion for the game is boundless and is only inspired by this community's response to invitations to try new things, volunteer and coach, play more, welcome new members and introduce sponsors to the sport, all of which is helping to cement volleyball's position as a sport of choice here in the Hunter region. Michelle is now employed on a part-time basis by Hunter Volleyball as the Programs Coordinator, helping to bring to life junior and senior participation, competition and representative opportunities.

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