GORHAM, Maine -- The Department of Athletics at Southern Maine announced Thursday that Diane (Marzelli) Newell has been named head coach. Newell replaces Tom Gardner, who departed USM after three seasons for the head coaching position at Caltech.

Newell spent the past five seasons (2009-13) as the girls’ varsity volleyball coach at Norton (Mass.) High School where she also taught English. During that span, Newell was named the Tri-Valley League Coach of the Year in 2012, and her team was recognized with the Sportsmanship Award in 2011 and '12. Prior to coaching at Norton H.S., Newell was the volleyball coach at Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Brighton, Massachusetts, for two seasons (2007-08).

“This is a program that is going in the right direction, and I hope to continue that trend and take the program to the next level," Newell said. "I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

"I'm excited about the addition of Diane Newell to our coaching staff,” Al Bean, director of athletics, said. “She brings Division I playing experience, leadership skills in several different areas and nearly a decade of coaching success. I'm confident that she will bring great energy to the program, strong communication and people skills, and a burning desire to build and sustain a first-rate intercollegiate volleyball program. USM volleyball should continue to grow and improve under Diane's direction."

A two-time member of the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll (2002, '03) while an undergraduate at Holy Cross, Newell was a middle hitter and captain of the Crusaders’ squad in 2004.  A four-year member of the team, Newell had 401 kills, 35 assists, 168 digs and 167 blocks in 314 games. 

A 2005 graduate of Holy Cross with a bachelor’s degree in english and studio arts, Newell earned her master of education from Fitchburg State in '13.