skip navigation

Oaks Volleyball Coaches

Coaching Staff

Oaks VBC believes the coaching staff to be one of the most important aspects of a great program. The importance not only of quality coaching, but also quality of character cannot be over emphasized. Oaks VBC coaches are women and men of character that will be held to a high standard of ethical values. Coaches have tremendous influence over their player’s actions and behaviors and must be positive role models for Oaks VBC athletes.  

The Oaks VBC coaching staff provides some of the most experienced and technically sound skill instruction in the area. Club Director Carrie Wright has played and coached at nearly every level of volleyball. Her experience nationally and internationally both playing and coaching provide a knowledge that few regional area clubs can match. Our experienced and dynamic staff instruct, mold and motivate Oaks VBC teams to success.  

Carrie Wright

Carrie Wright is the Oaks Volleyball Club club director and head coach. She directs and monitors the basic skill instructions for every Oaks VBC team. Each team will be coached to learn a strong base and foundation of volleyball skills that will be refined, improved and built on with each year of experience and instruction. 

Carrie brings extensive coaching and playing experience to Oaks VBC. Carrie was a 4 year starter as a middle blocker at Pepperdine University from 1993-1997. Carrie still holds multiple records and allocates at Pepperdine, including

  • ALL-WCC: 1994, 1995, 1996
  • WCC All-Freshman Team 1993
  • WCC Player of the Week 1995, 11/20
  • WCC All-Academic 1996
  • #3 in career Solo Blocks with 89
  • #4 in career Total Blocks with 392
  • #5 in career Block Assists with 303
  • #6 in single season Total Blocks with 126 in 1995
  • #9 in single season Blocks Per Set with 1.14 in 1996
  • #9 in single season Hitting Percentage with .323 in 1995
  • #10 in single season Points with 482 in 1995
  • #17 in career Kills with 1,018
  • Holds the individual record for Blocks in a Single Game with 14 vs. Colorado St. on 9/14/96
  • Led the team in Hitting Percentage: 1994, 1995, 1996
  • Led the team in Total Blocks: 1995, 1996

She continued her indoor career playing professionally in Beziers, France during the ’97-98’ season. After college Carrie also began playing professionally on the beach competing on the AVP, WPVA, and the EVP tours over the last 15 years. In 1999 Carrie was selected to be a member of “The USPV Dream Team” to inaugurate a women’s professional indoor league in the United States.

Carrie has coached for the past 17 years, guiding her teams to great success along the way. She has coached at Oaks Christian middle school as well as Newbury Park High School, and she has coached high school programs in Oregon and Westlake Village. Carrie was a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Oregon in 1998 and was the head women’s volleyball coach at Christian Heritage College in San Diego from 2000-2002.

Carrie Wright

Club Director & Head Coach

Carrie - Pro

Carrie Wright - Pro Beach Volleyball Player

Carrie at Pepperdine

Pepperdine Record Holder - Carrie (Romer) Wright

Brian "Skip" Hicks

You may be asking yourself, "what's a football player doing with a bunch of volleyball players?" When it comes building core strength, explosive movements, and quickness - who better than an All-American, Heisman Trophy candidate, & NFL running back?

Brian "Skip" Hicks hails from Texas. Prior to his NFL career he was a High School Football All-American and a 4-year letter winner in 4 different sports. At one time Skip held the high school state record in the long jump at 26'. Skip went on to receive a full scholarship in track and field and football from UCLA.

At UCLA Skip was a 1st Team All-American, a Hesisman Award candidate as a freshman, sophomore and senior, finishing 4th in the 1998 voting. He was a 4-year starter at tailback and led the NCAA in TD's in 1996 and 1997. While at UCLA, Skip broke Marcus Allen and OJ Simpson's PAC 10 all time touchdown record and became the 3rd all time leading rusher for the Bruins.

In 1998 Skip was the top draft pick for the Washington Redskins. In his rookie season he made the NFL All-Pro Rookie Team. Skip went onto play five years in the NFL.

Skip has been coached and has learned from the best coaches in football, track & field and strength & conditioning. He brings a lifetime of sports experience and years of professional and collegiate experience to our program. Oaks VBC is very excited to have Coach Hicks develop our players power, explosiveness and strength through a comprehensive strength & conditioning program.

Skip Hicks at UCLA

Skip Hicks in the NFL

Kevin Wright

Kevin Wright is Oaks VBC's sports medicine guru, assistant coach, administrative manager, and Carrie's husband. Kevin is also the Assistant Director of Athletics for Sports Medicine at Pepperdine University. Kevin was the head athletic trainer for Pepperdine when the Women's Sand Volleyball team won the AVCA Championships in 2012 & 2014.

At Oaks VBC, Kevin is instrumental in our team's fitness and conditioning programs as well as implementing injury prevention programs. Having Kevin's knowledge as part of our program helps our girls play safely as they compete at an intense level.

Kevin was a member of the Pepperdine Men’s Volleyball Team from 1992-1994. Kevin has been an assistant volleyball coach at the college level and has coached summer volleyball camps.

Kevin Wright

Edison (Hong Zhou)

Coach Edison joins us from Suzhou, China and is a former Chinese National Team member.  He is an impressive 6' 7" setter that brings to Oaks Volleyball a lot of knowledge and experience at the highest levels of competition.

  • 2001-2016
    • Five times national championships (Gold Medal)
    • Two times national grand slam (Gold Medal)
    • National tournament (Silver Medal)
    • Chinese Men’s Volleyball League (two times Silver and Bronze Medal)
  • 1999 – Jiang Su providence Beach Volleyball Championships (Gold Medal)

As a member of the Chinese National Team, he took the Gold Medal in the Asian Final Four and was in the top 10 in the World Cup.

Jen Baklenko

Jen is a Master Coach and Club Director. She has coached at all levels of volleyball from Little Spikers, to 3 high school programs, 5 different clubs, 3 different Division 1 college programs and loves to share her passion and knowledge for the game that has been her life’s work. Most recently Jen was club director at Island Thunder Volleyball Club in the Seattle area. Jen contributes at the USA VB Regional level both as the High Performance Head Beach Coach, and has coached High Performance indoor camps as well.  She was asked in 2014 to help the University of Washington get the sand program off the ground as they started their first beach season and helped lead them to an 8-0 2015 season and served as their assistant coach for the 2017 season. She is IMPACT certified in both beach and indoor and is Beach CAP certified.  

She played and coached at the University of San Diego, where she was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year. She has played professionally both indoors and on the beach on the following tours: WPVA, 4’s BL Pro Beach Tour, NVA, MPVA, and the USPV, as well as being the captain for the Puget Sound Region’s PVL team in 2012. She was on the Gold Medal teams for the East team at the Olympic Festival and the 2000 USPV Millennium Cup. Jen was the tour MVP for the MPVA and the team captain of the USPV team.

Blossom Sato

Blossom is a senior and a setter for the Pepperdine University Waves volleyball team. This past year she led the team with 721 total assists and 9.74 assists/set as the primary setter. She also had 215 digs and 21 blocks.(Pay attention setters! There’s more to the position than just setting!!)

Blossom comes from a volleyball family. Her mother, Liane Sato, was a member of the US Women’s National Volleyball Team in 1988 and 1992 when the team captured the bronze medal. Her uncles Eric and Gary were also standouts in the sport, playing or coaching alongside legendary Pepperdine men’s volleyball coach Marv Dunphy for Team USA when the squad won the gold in 1988. Eric was a member of the 1988 US Men’s National Team that claimed gold and the 1992 squad that earned bronze and Gary (now an assistant for USC) served as the United States’ Head Coach for the 1985 FIVB World Cup gold medal finish and served as an assistant for the US Men’s National Team from 1984-88, 1992 and from 2009-12.

Natalia Simmons

Coach Natalia is a former collegiate volleyball scholarship player. She was born and raised in Southern California. She started volleyball in junior high and although she was previously a basketball player, volleyball quickly took first place.

She played at Grace Brethren high school all four years of high and received a scholarship to attend The Master's College. There she played out her 4 years, despite an ankle injury earning her BA in Communications. Two years after college she married her college sweetheart and moved to France where he played professional basketball.

After returning to the US in 2015, Natalia began her volleyball coaching journey at Grace Brethren High School and is now the JV head coach. She is excited to continue coaching at Oaks and prepare these girls for varsity volleyball.

Jennifer Robinson

Left-Handed, 6’3” Coach Jennifer Robinson grew up in Thousand Oaks, and has been playing volleyball since the 8th grade, where she played Middle Blocker for Zuma Bay Volleyball Club and Westlake High School. During that time, she made the All-Marmonte League, All-Ventura County All Star, and Daily News All-Area Teams, while earning multiple Scholar-Athlete Awards. She took a Full Scholarship to play at the University of California, Irvine, as Middle Blocker & then Opposite, where she was a Double Major in Chemistry & Applied Ecology. A 3-time Big West Conference Scholar-Athlete, Jennifer coached at Youth & Middle School Clinics and helped run & played in Adult Grass League Tournaments. She also spent a summer playing in South Africa, for Athletes in Action, on a mission trip.

After college, she came back home to work at Amgen, and enjoyed playing beach and court volleyball, while coaching at Royal High School. Coach Jennifer helped her husband, Aaron, start 2 businesses, which brought them out of state, while having 2 children - Jonah, now 17, and Kayla, now 13. Her family moved back to Newbury Park in 2010, where her kids have been involved in just about every sport. She’s coached USYVL, Refereed AYSO, and played in Corporate Games & multiple UCI Volleyball Alumni matches. Coach Jennifer recently trained for her first obstacle course race & marathon - 26.2 Miles!

Jennifer resumed coaching volleyball at the High School level for Hillcrest Christian. She has coached all levels at club volleyball, as well as beach. She continues to enjoy trail running, Plyometric training, and tries to get as much court and beach volleyball time as she can.

Jason Gari

Jason comes to Oaks VBC with youth, passion, and fire. Jason began coaching youth ages since his graduation from Oak Park High School in 2015. He coaches boys and girls at the high school level since 2017 (Thousand Oaks HS), and he has worked at multiple schools and clubs in the area (Oak Park, La Reina, Spectrum VBC, and Oaks VBC). 

As a player Coach Jason was a setter, outside hitter, and opposite for his club team and high school team. Jason was a CIF Division 2 Champion his senior year of high school.

Jason was born and raised in the great city of Thousand Oaks California, and he is currently a senior at California Lutheran University obtaining his BS in Business Management. 

Daniel Grogan

Daniel is playing Men’s Volleyball at L.A. Pierce College with a recent 2018 CCCA State Championship Title. He has played club volleyball for 7+ years. During his 4 years at Oak Park High he won D2 CIF and 2nd in State, as well as 3rd place in both CIF and State for Division 1 Men’s Volleyball. With past coaching experience at Colina, Sequoia, Ascension Lutheran, and Sports Academy he hopes to share his passion for volleyball and uncover the hidden talent in all of his players.

Daniel is currently seeking out a Sports Medicine Major, aiming to help other athletes like himself avoid injuries and protect their future playing careers.