Aylene Ilkson became the seventh head women's volleyball coach in the program's 43-year history on June 5, 2017.
Ilkson has seven seasons of experience coaching collegiate volleyball, including two seasons (2013, 2014) at the helm for the United States Coast Guard Academy. The former Division III All-America outside hitter led the Bears to a 41-21 record over two seasons with back-to-back appearances in the semifinals of the New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Tournament.
Prior to joining Mason, she served as the director of volleyball operations for the 2016 ACC Champion North Carolina. The Tarheels finished the season 29-4 and advanced to the NCAA Regional Semifinal before bowing out to #10 UCLA.
A 2009 graduate of Springfield College, Ilkson spent three seasons (2010-12) as an assistant at her alma mater and a one-year stint as an assistant coach at Dartmouth College (2015). Ilkson was the top assistant at Springfield, where she led her alma mater to an 82-12 record, three straight NCAA appearances, including an NCAA Elite Eight appearance, and a NEWMAC title in 2011. While in New Hampshire, Ilkson led the Big Green to a 9-5 Ivy League record, the most conference wins in Dartmouth history, and a third-place conference finish.
A four-year starter at Springfield College, Ilkson led the Pride to a 108-31 record and the 2008 NEWMAC Conference title. A two-time All-NEWMAC Second Team and AVCA All-New England Team selection, she earned AVCA Division III All-America honors as a senior in 2008. The three-time captain for the Pride is third all-time in digs (1,593), fourth in digs per game (3.54) and in the top 10 in career kills at Springfield.
Ilkson graduated in 2009 with a B.S.E. in movement and sports studies and earned a master's degree in athletic administration from Springfield in 2012.
Mark Thomas joined the George Mason women's volleyball staff as an assistant coach in August 2017. He most recently served as the head women's volleyball coach at New England College.
During his time at New England College, Thomas launched the school's volleyball program and created a strategic vision for the program with regards to recruiting, culture and marketing/promotion.
He worked prior at Newbury College in Brookline, Mass., where he acted as assistant director of athletics while leading both the men's and women's volleyball programs. While coaching his alma mater, he was named the 2015 NECC Men's Volleyball Coach of the Year and earned the AVCA's Minority Coaches Award. On the court, he led the Nighthawks to their first women's conference championship appearance since 2011 and the men's program's first conference semi-final appearance in close to five years.
Thomas worked alongside head coach Aylene Ilkson as an assistant coach with the United States Coast Guard Academy in 2013 and 2014 and was an assistant at Springfield College in Western Massachusetts from 2010-12. Thomas also served as a volunteer assistant at UC Riverside in 2012 and 2013.
Thomas enjoyed a standout playing career at Newbury, where he holds the school records for career kills (1,778) and single season kills (527). A two-time, first team NECC selection, Thomas garnered NEC Player of the Year honors in 2010 and was a two-time NECVA New England First Team pick. He graduated from Newbury in 2010 and earned his master's in athletic counseling at Springfield College in 2012.
Thomas also suited up for professionally with Zenith Volleyball Club Trinidad & Tobago during a successful post-collegiate playing career.
George Mason University women's volleyball coach Aylene Ilkson named Chris Matsui to her coaching staff on Friday. Matsui most recently worked as the volunteer assistant coach for the 2017 ACC Co-Champion University of Pittsburgh Panthers.
"We are excited to welcome Chris to our staff and the Mason Athletics family. He brings an incredible energy into the gym every day and has a real passion for the game," Ilkson said. "He will be running our defensive systems and working closely with our passing unit. I am confident that he will be elevating the game of every player he works with."
Prior to Pitt, Matsui was an assistant with the Kuikahi 14u Boys Volleyball club (Honolulu, Hawaii) for two years under director Teoni Obrey. Overlapping with his club volleyball tenure was a stint as the Head Boys Junior Varsity coach at Maryknoll High School (Honolulu, Hawaii), while simultaneously working as an assistant with the varsity team.
Matsui enjoyed a decorated playing career where he won a gold medal in the 2007 Junior Olympics and was a silver medalist in the 2009 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships. He played collegiately at Concordia-Irvine for two years as well as the University of Pacific before that. While playing for the Eagles, Matsui was a part of an NAIA National Championship team in 2013 and collected two conference championships during his two seasons as a libero.
A native of Kailua, Hawaii, Matsui will embark on his fifth career coaching position in 2018.