NIU coach joins pro squad

NIU’s assistant women’s volleyball coach Julie Mueller has garnered another “first” for herself. Not only was she the first volleyball All-America at her alma mater, but now she is one of the first to join the women’s professional volleyball ranks.

Mueller is among the select few who have been drafted by the Chicago Breeze of the Major League Volleyball, a professional women’s league in its inaugural season. The Breeze picked NIU’s first-year assistant in the ninth round of the draft in December and made the final cut for the team early last week.

“I was ecstatic when I found out at practice Monday (Feb. 16) I made the final cut,” said Mueller. “I think this new league is great. Volleyball needed this. I think this is a sport that can make it because the women’s style of the game is different than the men’s, so we won’t have to compete for spectators.”

Mueller came to the Huskie staff after a stellar career at Illinois State that culminated in her being ISU’s first athlete named to the Russell All-America squad. The 5-foot-8 middle blocker led the Redbirds to three straight Gateway Collegiate Athletic Conference titles followed by NCAA tournament appearances.