Truitt Robinson
ASU Student Journalist

Mindy Williams and her journey from Hawai'i to Arizona

March 29, 2024 by Truitt Robinson, Arizona State University

North head volleyball coach Mindy Williams talking to team (Photo courtesy of Mindy Williams)

Truitt Robinson is an ASU Walter Cronkite School of Journalism student covering North High School for

Within high school sports, there are all different kinds of athletes and coaches with all different kinds of backgrounds. At North High School, one head coach tells her story about how she came from an island in Hawai'i to the city of Phoenix.

Head volleyball coach Mindy Marques-Williams was born and raised on the island of Kauai. Williams first played sports in the first grade with track and field. At the age of 10, Williams discovered the sport of volleyball and instantly fell in love with it.

Volleyball wasn’t her only sport, as the future Mustangs head coach also played basketball, soccer and track, all at the high school level. By senior year, Williams honed in on volleyball and basketball, as she knew she was going to play at the collegiate level.

By senior year, Williams played in a volleyball tournament in Las Vegas. At the tournament, a coach from the University of Idaho was in attendance and noticed her. The coach would then offer her to play for the Vandals as a walk-on. Williams decided to continue her volleyball career with the Vandals and became a starter her freshman year and was a Vandal for her entire collegiate career.

Williams decided to stay for a fifth year at Idaho and started her student teaching. She also started her coaching career for a club team and was an assistant coach for a high school team while still at the university. 

Later on, Williams was unsure about where she wanted to live, until one of her former teammates convinced her to move to Phoenix. Williams then packed her bags and moved to Arizona.

Williams started off her career working for a few schools in Arizona, one of them being a varsity coach for Tempe High School’s girls volleyball team. Later on, a coaching and teaching position opened up at North. Williams would then take the job  and has been coaching there for the past 17 years.

Volleyball has been a life changer for Williams.

“It opened up so many doors for me," she said. "I’m a firm believer that athletics teaches very important life skills. I’m so passionate about it that I wanted to share that knowledge.

“Nowadays it’s hard to find good coaches. I still care, it's not like I’m burnout and just collecting a paycheck. I do it correctly. I believe anybody can compete, it’s just what you’re willing to put in.”

Aviana Dominguez was one of Williams’ players from 2009 to 2012. Dominguez made varsity for North volleyball in her sophomore year and felt intimidated by the upperclassmen, but Williams helped her regain her confidence and taught her the importance of hard work and dedication. 

Fast forward to 2016, Dominguez graduated from Arizona State and Williams asked her if she would like to come back to North to coach the freshman volleyball team. Eight years later, Dominguez returned to North and is now coaching both the JV and boys volleyball teams and is a counselor.

“Mindy is an amazing mom, wife, coach, mentor, colleague and I am so grateful to call her one of my best friends,” said Dominguez.

North’s athletic director, Rebecca Vogel, says that Williams is a great coach due to her “high standards'' that she holds for her athletes. She emphasizes accountability and responsibility to her players. 

“The athletes know that she loves them," said Vogel. "And she has high expectations because she believes in them."