New volleyball coach looking to build a strong culture at City College

Audra Dent takes over the Knights’ indoor and sand teams


New City College women’s volleyball coach Audra Dent (right) addresses the team during a morning practice at Mission Beach on March 24, while City outside hitter Faith Patterson listens. Photo by Kathy Archibald/City Times Media

Antonio Contreras, Multimedia Journalist

As a high school volleyball player starting out in Santa Cruz, Audra Dent wasn’t able to play club volleyball.

The cost was just too high for her family.

Instead, she trained where her father worked – the local community college.

“They were so nice and they helped me out so much,” Dent said. “It was a really competitive environment.”

Years later, Dent is back on a community college campus, but this time as head coach of the San Diego City College women’s volleyball program – both indoor and sand.

“I’ve always dreamed of a coaching role at a junior college,” she said.

Dent was announced as head coach of the indoor women’s volleyball team in a March 7 press release on the City College athletics website, days after she was named sand volleyball coach.

She replaces former longtime coach Dede Bodnar.

Dent wants to build a competitive culture at City in which the players will be motivated to improve.

“Culture is very important to me,” said Dent, who played college volleyball at San Diego State University. “I want it to be based around hard work, competitiveness and playing for something larger than ourselves in the sport, really trying to have the girls tap into why they’re playing and just being grateful for the opportunity and using that to push themselves.”

With the Aztecs, Dent was an outside hitter. During the 2005 season, she was one of two SDSU athletes to start all 30 matches and she led the Mountain West Conference in kill average that year, according to

But Dent’s passion for coaching started well before she came to San Diego.

“I would always volunteer and coach (at Aptos High School),” Dent said. “I was very coachable, and coachable players can become great coaches because they understand what it takes for a coach to connect with you.”

After her time at SDSU ended, Dent became a very successful coach at the high school and club level. Most of her time was at Cathedral Catholic, where the Dons won four state championships and eight California Interscholastic Federation-San Diego Section titles.

That was followed by seven seasons as head coach and program director at Francis Parker for the indoor and sand teams. There, the Lancers reached the CIF-SDS Championship against Otay Ranch in 2021.

When the job opened at City, she knew it was the role for her.

“(City College athletics faculty and staff) really seem to care about the whole person,” Dent said.

In her short time at City, Dent’s team has started with a 5-3 record. 

Led by sophomores Alina Fletes and Kally Norvell, the Knights’ season has rebounded from a rocky start, according to Norvell, a setter for the team who played at Maranatha Christian. 

Kally Norvell crouches with arms outstretched as the volleyball approaches
City College women’s volleyball setter Kally Norvell readies to pass the ball at the team’s morning practice session at Mission Beach on March 24. Photo by Kathy Archibald/City Times Media

Not knowing if the team would have all the players or coaches, Norvell questioned whether they would have a season at all. 

“So the fact that we have a solid group of 10 girls right now is honestly more than I could have asked for,” she said.

Norvell said Dent has been great for the Knights. 

“She really knows her beach stuff,” Norvell said. “She has done a good job of bringing us all together and implementing new skills each week.” 

Dent also has a passion for being an educator, working in special education.

“My heart is just connected to people with different abilities,” Dent said, “and so I started just volunteering, helping out.”

Now at City, Dent hopes she can help the Knights build a strong program for many seasons to come.

“I’m just trying to get a handle on the logistics of indoor volleyball like scheduling, ordering, dealing with the budget, the kind of stuff in preparation for the fall season,” she said. “It’s really cool because then you get a chance to stay with (the) athletes all year long and stay tapped into where they’re at.”

The team’s next game will be against Palomar in Huntington Beach on March 25 at 9 a.m. 

Enterprise Editor Kathy Archibald contributed to this report.

Correction: This story has been changed to reflect the correct practice date was March 24. City Times regrets the error.