We are very fortunate to have so many extraordinary coaches, teachers, and leaders at Prime who have experienced overwhelming success at every level from high school, to club, to college, to our U.S. Olympic teams.  Throughout their coaching careers our founders and directors have positively impacted the lives of thousands of athletes and are excited to have combined forces to create the optimal environment for young women to develop as both athletes and people.  We are committed to building a club that not only cultivates outstanding volleyball players but responsible young women with integrity and self-esteem.  We can confidently say that competitive young athletes looking to excel on the court will find the very best coaching and training available at Prime.

Prime_150223_168Jessica Papell
Girls Club Founder and Director

Jessica began playing volleyball in 7th grade and quickly fell in love with the sport.  At the Windward School in Los Angeles her high school team won the CIF-SS Championship in 1994 and she was named the CIF-SS Player of the Year in 1994 and ’95.  She went on to play collegiately at Oregon State University from 1997-2001 where she was a 4 Year Letterwinner playing Outside Hitter and Defensive Specialist. She was selected to the Pac-10 All Academic team in 2000 and 2001 and was in the top 10 in the conference for digs and aces per set.

Her coaching career began at OSU where she coached and ran numerous camps and clinics for OSU Volleyball. She has since coached High School Varsity teams in both Southern California and the Seattle area for 12 seasons and spent a season as the Head Coach at Edmonds Community College before moving back down to Southern California.  At Edmonds CC she took a team that went 5-7 in conference and didn’t reach post-season play the previous season and led them to a conference record of 8-4 and a post-season NWAACC Tournament appearance.  While in Seattle she was the Head 17s and 18s Coach at Island Thunder Volleyball Club for 5 seasons and took on the role of Club Director after her second season with the club.  While at the helm of ITVC the club grew from 4 teams to 10 teams and the club had 4 teams qualify for the Junior National Championships, 2 in the Open Division, for the first time in club history.  She led her 2010 17s team to a 10th place finish in the Open Division at the prestigious Las Vegas Classic.  They went on to qualify for the Open Division of the Junior National Championships with a 5th place Open finish at the Far Western Qualifier.  More than 40 of the players she coached and mentored have gone on to play collegiate volleyball.  Former players have gone on to successful college careers at University of Florida, University of Washington, University of Portland, Loyola Marymount, Portland State, Columbia, Santa Clara, Yale, University of Idaho, Georgetown, Boston College, Seattle University, Western Washington, Point Loma, Westminster College, Cal Lutheran, Lynn University and many others.

While in Seattle Jessica was a Head Coach with the Puget Sound Region High Performance Program from 2007 to 2010.  She represented the Region at the Global Challenge in Salt Lake City in 2007 where the team won the tournament championship and then at the USA Volleyball High Performance Championships in 2008 and 2009.  Jessica currently works as a High Performance Program Coach for USA Volleyball where she evaluates athletes at USA High Performance Tryouts and trains top athletes from across the country at USA HP Camps over the summer.

Jessica made the move back to Southern California in the spring of 2011 to be closer to family and friends and is very excited about the outstanding club volleyball program she and all of the wonderful coaches at Prime continue to build and grow.  Jessica is currently the Head Girls Volleyball Coach at San Juan Hills HS where she led the varsity team to an undefeated South Coast League Championship this fall. In her free time Jessica enjoys traveling, snowboarding, playing tennis, and getting outside in the sunshine.

RonRon Larsen
Director of Training and 
Coaches’ Development, 18 ASICS Head Coach

A two-time U.S. Olympic Team assistant coach, Ron completed his 17th year as an NCAA head coach in 2012, including his fourth at UC Riverside.

Ron, an assistant for the U.S. Men’s Team in 2012, became a household name when he took over for Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon at the 2008 Olympic Games, coaching the U.S. Men’s Team in their first three contests. Formerly the head coach of the UC San Diego men’s volleyball team, Ron was hired as an assistant coach for the USA Men on April 13, 2005.  He coached the U.S. Men’s Team to three pool play victories against Venezuela (Aug. 10; 25-18, 25-18, 22-25, 21-25, 15-10), Italy (Aug. 12; 24-26, 25-22, 25-15, 25-21) and Bulgaria (Aug. 14; 27-29, 25-21, 25-14, 26-24) before McCutcheon returned to the team, which went on to win the Olympic gold medal for the first time since 1988.

In his four seasons at UC Riverside, Ron coached nine All-Big West Conference performers, and the 2011 squad tied the program’s Division I record for most wins in league play.

The 2004 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) Coach of the Year, Ron completed six seasons as the UCSD head coach prior to heading to the U.S. National Team. He came to UCSD in 2000–in the school’s final year of NCAA Division III affiliation–and led the Tritons to one of the most memorable seasons in the program’s history. UCSD won the Molten Division III Men’s Volleyball Invitational Championship that season and recorded the most wins (nine) for a Triton team in 10 seasons. That year he also led the team to its first MPSF victory in three seasons as UCSD competed as the only Division II team and the only non-scholarship program in the nation’s toughest men’s volleyball conference. The 2004 season included wins against No. 11 Penn State, No. 9 UC Irvine and No. 7 UC Santa Barbara. The win over the Gauchos marked two program firsts: defeating UCSB and giving the Tritons four victories in the MPSF, the most in school history.

Ron came to UCSD after seven seasons at the University of Rutgers-Newark where he was the head coach of both the men’s and women’s programs. He began his coaching career at the University of California, Berkeley, where he led the Bears’ men’s volleyball team to a record of 102-29 at the club level. He coached at Cal from 1980-84 and again from 1987-89. He also served as an assistant coach of the women’s volleyball team at St. Mary’s College from 1987-88 before moving on to UC Davis in 1989.  At Davis, he served as assistant coach of the women’s team for four seasons and as head coach of the men’s team from 1991-93, leading the Aggies to a 65-31 record and a fifth-place finish at the 1993 national club volleyball tournament.

Ron served as head men’s and women’s coach at Rutgers-Newark from 1993-99, compiling a record of 103-88 in men’s volleyball and 122-96 with the women’s team. The men’s team was consistently ranked in the nation’s top-15. He was named New Jersey Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1995 and 1998 and Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) Coach of the Year in 1998.  Ron’s coaching experience also includes the 1995 USA Olympic Festival, where he served as head coach of the North Men’s Team and led his squad to a silver medal. He also coached the 1996 USA Boys Youth National Team, featuring the nation’s top 18 high school players.

We are thrilled to have Ron leading our coaching staff at Prime and are very lucky to have him working with all of our coaches to constantly raise the level of our training and find more ways to give our athletes the best training available.

Prime_150223_211Lynn Kessler Blevins
Associate Girls Club Director overseeing Recruiting, Youth Development, and Club Culture/Wellness, 12 ASICS Head Coach

Lynn Kessler Blevins brings many years of experience in playing, coaching, and scouting the game of volleyball to her company Best Approach Volleyball Services and proudly, to Prime Volleyball Club. Growing up in Laguna Beach CA., a graduate of Laguna Beach High School, a product of Laguna Beach High School volleyball, Lynn spent her youth playing volleyball on the beach as well as in the gym.  One of the original players for Orange County Volleyball Club spanning 6 years, Lynn then earned a full ride scholarship to Div 1 Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where she was a four year starter for Mike Wilton from ’82-‘85.  She was then drafted to play in the inaugural year of Women’s Major League Professional Volleyball.

Following this experience and many years of club and high school coaching Lynn was named the Head Women’s and Men’s Coach at Eastern Montana State College NCAA Div 2.  In 1994 Lynn and her husband James and the kids went off to Europe to play and coach Volleyball and Basketball in Belgium for four years. From Belgium and back, to Arizona (Head Varsity Coach six years- PVHS, AVA VBC) then to Texas in ’08 where Lynn began her collegiate recruiting career, now full circle back to Laguna Beach Calif., Lynn has imparted her knowledge and love of the game at all levels.  Lynn is proud to be able to assist athletes and their families to reach their goals of becoming well rounded, highly effective  club, high school, and ultimately, collegiate student- athletes as Prime VC  Youth Development Director, Director of Recruiting, and as Prime Mentality Director.

ChrisChris Duenow
Girls Club Administrator and Assistant Recruiting Director

Chris Duenow comes to Prime from Spiral Volleyball in Arizona where he served as their Assistant Club Director, Technical Advisor, Recruiting Coordinator, and Head Coach.  Chris spent the 2013 Girls’ season as an assistant coach with the nationally ranked 18 and 17 Black teams at Spiral.  He has since coached both the 16UA and 14UA girls in addition to his role as Technical Advisor and Recruiting Coordinator for both the Boys and Girls Programs at Spiral.  Chris is also joining the staff at Concordia University, Irvine as an assistant coach where he will work with Prime Coaches Paula Weishoff and Ron Larsen.

Over the past three years Duenow has also become very involved with the USAV High Performance program.  He was selected as the AZ Region Girls Youth High Performance Head Coach for 2013 and 2014 and, most recently, was invited to be on staff for the USAV Youth A2 Training Program in July based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Prior to arriving at Spiral Chris was the top assistant coach at Cornell University, a member of the Ivy League, from 2009-2012.  While he also had stints as an assistant at both the University of Virginia (’00-’02), Seattle University (2000) and the University of Washington (1999), the most significant stretch of his college coaching career was spent as the Head Coach at Concordia University(NAIA) in Portland, Oregon.  During his tenure with the Cavaliers he became Concordia’s all-time winningest volleyball coach, including the 2002 Cascade Collegiate Conference Championship.  That 2002 team posted a perfect 18-0 conference mark on its way to a 24-3 overall record and earned Duenow Cascade Conference Coach of the Year recognition.

From 1992-99, while teaching high school instrumental music, Duenow started and developed the Kitsap Juniors Volleyball Club out of Silverdale, Wash. During his two years at Virginia he was the program director and head coach of the Virginia Volleyball Academy and, most recently, he held the position of technical director for the Nike Northwest Volleyball Club based in Gresham, Oregon.

Duenow graduated from the University of Washington in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in music education.  He was a four-year starter for the men’s club volleyball program where he trained both as a middle hitter and as a setter.

20170611_184702(0)Darren Tsai
Boys Co-Director and Head Coach

Darren graduated from UC Santa Cruz with a bachelor’s degree in business economics. He was a 4 year member of the Division III men’s team as a libero. In 3 out of his 4 years with the team, they made the Div III final four. He was named AVCA 2012 1st team All-American, CVC conference all-tournament team and CVC all-academic team.

Darren has 9 years of club coaching experience. He started his first 4 years with Main Beach Santa Cruz while he was attending UC Santa Cruz. He coached clinics and head coached the 14s, 16’s and 18’s age groups over his 4 years with the club. The program grew from 2 to 8 teams in Darren’s time at the club. After he returned home to Southern California, he coached 1 year at Balboa Bay and his 16’s team had a top 20 finish at the Boy’s Classic. Most recently, he coached 3 years at Orange Coast, where he coached 15’s and 16’s. His 16’s team finished 5th at Junior Olympics in 2016. In addition to coaching boys club, Darren coached 1 season for Orange County Girls as an assistant with a team that finished in the top 10 of the Open Division at Junior Olympics

His high school coaching experience includes 3 years at Edison High School as the Boys Varsity Assistant, Head JV coach for 2 seasons, and Head Freshman coach for 1 season. He also helped out with the Girls program serving as a Varsity Assistant and Head JV Coach for 1 season. Darren is currently the Head Boys Varsity Coach at Northwood High School in Irvine.

Darren’s is excited to grow the boys program and help each Prime player achieve their goals and reach their full potential, as both an individual and an athlete. He fully believes in Prime’s Philosophy: “We focus on the process over outcomes; in other words our top priority is always striving to improve and giving each athlete the feedback and tools to help them improve as a volleyball athlete and person every day.”

Darren is currently a certified public accountant and in his free time enjoys traveling, playing beach volleyball, basketball, and golf.

Prime_150223_360Curt Mahle
Boys Co-Director and Head Coach

Curt is entering his 10th year coaching volleyball. Through the years Curt has coached girls club for every age group 12’s -18’s. He is entering his 4rd year with Prime where he has head coached 15’s, 16’s and most recently the 17 Asics team. Along with coaching girls club, Curt has also coached boys club for 8 years with OCVC. At OCVC he has coached the 16-2s, 18-2’s (assist), 15-1’s, 14-2s and recently completed his 4th season as the 14-1s head coach. In 2015 Curt’s 14-1 OCVC team won a bronze medal at Junior Nationals in the Club division and in 2016 his 14-1s OCVC team won a bronze medal at the Boys Classic Tournament, that team also qualified for the Open division at Junior Nationals and took 5th place. Along with head coaching the OCVC 14s in 2016, Curt assisted the 13-1s team and 15-1s team. The 13s won a Silver medal at Junior Nationals and the 15’s won a Bronze medal at the Junior National Tournament. Outside of club Curt has spent 6 seasons as a Boys High School Coach. He coached for 5 years with Edison High School in Huntington Beach where he was the Varsity Assistant each year and head coached either Junior Varsity or Frosh Soph. Curt is currently the Head Boys Varsity Coach at University High School in Irvine where he led the Trojans to the playoffs for the first time in many years.  He is also the Head JV Girls Coach at San Juan Hills High School.

As an athlete, Curt was a setter at Edison. He was named Team Captain on three of the 4 high School teams and in his senior year he was on the OC Registers player to watch list and earned All- Sunset League honors. Curt played Club volleyball for 4 years and went to Junior Nationals for three years where his best finish was 5 th in the Nation. After High School Curt went on to set and play Libero/ Defensive specialist at Irvine Valley College. During his free time curt likes to snowboard, paintball, play beach volleyball, and hang out with good company.

Prime_150222_43Sheila Shaw
Director of Sand Volleyball

Sheila was a four-year letterwinner for the Badgers from 2002-05, earning third-team All-America honors in 2005. The 6-1 middle blocker was a two-time AVCA All-Region honoree and two-time first-team All-Big Ten pick. Shaw tallied 1,313 kills in her career, which ranks seventh on the UW career list. A native of Muskego, Wis., she also ranks fourth in career hitting percentage (.308) and seventh in total blocks (489) and blocks per set (1.12).

Sheila was a member of the U.S. National Training Team in 2007 before traveling to Europe to compete. She served as the team captain of Stade Francais in Paris in 2007-08. In 2008-09, She competed with VC Wiesbaden professional volleyball club in Wiesbaden, Germany. She was also a member of the Rote Raben Vilsbiburg professional volleyball club in Vilsbiburg, Germany, in 2009-10, aiding her team to the league title and was named a German All-Star.

Sheila moved her game to the beach after her indoor career. In 2011, she became a member of the USA Beach Development Program. In her first season, playing on the Jose Cuervo tour, Sheila and her teammate Kathryn Babcock won the Pro Beach Volleyball tournament in Milwaukee in July 2011. In 2012, Shaw and Babcock became Jose Cuervo Poster Players. They competed in 5 events with a best finish of 3rd place in Hermosa Beach, CA and finished the season as the 6th ranked team overall.  Sheila currently competes on the AVP Professional Beach Volleyball Tour and has now placed in the top 10 of more than 25 professional beach tournaments.

Sheila was the co-owner and manager of Sports UP, conducting volleyball camps around the state of Wisconsin from 2009-2011. She also served an administrative assistant in the volleyball office at Oregon State in 2010.

A 2007 graduate of Wisconsin with a bachelor’s degree in social welfare, Sheila was a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection, and earned Academic All-District honors in 2005. In addition, she is currently working on her masters in Organizational Leadership-Higher Education, Student Services at Lewis University.

usa-paula-weishoffPaula Weishoff
Club Advisor and Coach

We are thrilled to have Paula Weishoff at Prime VC.  A three-time Olympian, Weishoff also served two seasons as an assistant coach with the U.S. Women’s National Team and helped Team USA capture a silver medal at the 2012 London Games. Team USA posted a 7-1 mark in tournament action and a 30-2 record that year. It was Weishoff’s first appearance at the Olympics as a coach but marked a continued involvement with the national team that has spanned three decades.

She competed for the Team USA at the 1984, 1992 and 1996 Games, earning the title of Most Valuable Player of the ’84 team in Los Angeles. Following a silver medal ’84, Weishoff was selected as the USOC Female Volleyball Athlete of the Year and her Olympic dreams continued in Barcelona, Spain, where she guided USA to a bronze medal and was voted the MVP of the ’92 Games.

Paula recently completed 6 years as the Head Women’s Coach at UC Irvine and has returned to Concordia University as their Head Women’s Volleyball Coach. Previous to her head coaching positions at UCI and Concordia, Paula was part of three Division I national titles at USC – one as a player in 1980 and two as an assistant coach (2002 and 2003). She began her coaching career at USC (1997-04), serving as the primary recruiting coordinator for seven years before being promoted to associate head coach in 2003. Weishoff was inducted into the USC Hall of Fame in 2005.

Her playing career took her overseas to Japan, Brazil and Italy, where she continued to showcase her talent. Weishoff was named the MVP after leading the Daiei Volleyball Club (Japan) to the 1995 pro league championship. She was a four-time MVP in Italy (1986-89) and spent 10 years playing for various teams in the Italian First (A1) Division.

The former middle blocker has been involved with USA Volleyball as a coach for more than a decade (1998-present) and joined the organization in 1998 as an instructor for the USA High Performance Camp. She was an assistant on the youth national team that won the silver medal at the 2000 NORCECA Youth Tournament and captured gold as an assistant with the A2 training team in Atlanta in 2003. In 2008 Weishoff led the juniors team to gold at the NORCECA Women’s Junior Tournament.

Weishoff was inducted into the USA Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1998 and received the All-Time Great Player Award that same year. She was also named to the USA Volleyball 75th Anniversary All-Era (1978-2002) Team in 2003.

Paula will be working with our Prime athletes at practices and clinics along with assisting at major tournaments throughout the season.  We are extremely lucky to have a coach and athlete of Paula’s caliber at Prime!

Dan Thomassen
Club Founder and Advisor

Dan Thomassen is the current Sage Hill School Girls’ Varsity Volleyball Coach. In his 14 years leading the girls’ program, the Lightning have won six Academy League titles and four CIF SS Division-IV Championships. He was named the 2013 Orange County Coach of the Year and is a 3-time CIF Coach of the Year. He has also led the boys team to three Academy League titles in six years. In 2011 he was named the “Volleyball Now” Coach of the Year for Southern California. In 2010/2011, he started the Newport Lightning Volleyball Club and led the 14-1’s team to the Junior Olympics in Atlanta that same year.

Dan played basketball and volleyball at Newport Harbor High School before attending UC San Diego and playing four years for the Tritons Mens’ Volleyball Team. While also teaching Chemistry, Physics, and Forensics at Sage Hill, Dan is an accomplished beach volleyball player and is an avid surfer, golfer, and boarder.