Stephens College names Melinda Wrye-Washington Associate Vice President, Director of Athletics

Stephens College has named Melinda Wrye-Washington its Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics. Wrye-Washington is a three-time Missouri Sports Hall of Fame inductee and two-time National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) national championship volleyball coach. She joined Stephens in 2023 as Assistant Athletic Director.

Andre Bell, who has served the College as Athletic Director and head basketball coach, will return to coaching full-time to continue building the team's winning culture. This culminated this season in an American Midwest Conference (AMC) co-championship and a first-round win in the NAIA Women’s National Tournament – first-time achievements in the College’s athletics history. 

“I want to thank Coach Bell for his leadership and service to the College in the role of Athletics Director,” said Stephens College President Dianne Lynch.  “I also want to express my gratitude that he has agreed to refocus all of his energies and talents to build upon the growth and momentum he has achieved during his tenure as head coach.

“Andre’s dedication to excellence and fiercely competitive spirit have elevated our programs and inspired our community,” she said. “We are so proud of the team’s accomplishments and looking forward to what the future will bring.”

Coach Bell expressed his enthusiasm for the new structure. “Working with Melinda has been a great experience as we have navigated together and shared the same vision for Stars athletics,” he said. “If there is anyone I would want to work with and team up with, Melinda is the one!”  

Wrye-Washington brings a wealth of experience to the position, notably from her successful career developing and leading championship athletic teams. Before joining Stephens, she served as the Senior Director of Programs at Special Olympics Missouri from 2021-2023. From 2019-2021, Wrye-Washington served as Co-Athletic Director and Volleyball Coach at the Eldon R-1 School District. She served as Volleyball Coach at Columbia College from 2000-2019, during which time the team made 19 consecutive NAIA national tournament appearances, 18 AMC Championships, and won titles in 2001 and 2015, while appearing in the Final Four 10 times. She also earned 11 AMC Coach of the Year awards, five Region Five Coach of the Year awards, and three NAIA National Coach of the Year awards. Wrye-Washington began her coaching career at Westminster College as the Head Women’s Volleyball and Basketball Coach and the Senior Women’s Administrator, taking the volleyball team to the first-ever NCAA tournament appearance for any sport in Westminster athletics history.

“Melinda is precisely the leader we need to build upon the strong foundation laid by Andre Bell and his team. Her exceptional leadership and proven track record in collegiate athletics, particularly in women’s sports, align perfectly with our vision for the future of Stephens College athletics,” Lynch said.

Wrye-Washington earned her Masters in Athletic Administration and Sports Management from Williams Woods University and her Bachelor of Arts in Education from Columbia College.

Audience Menu