KSU introduced new volleyball head coach Keith Schunzel at a press conference on Wednesday, Jan. 30. Schunzel was hired on Monday after the departure of Karen Weatherington.
“We are delighted and thrilled about the hiring of Coach Schunzel,” Kennesaw State Director of Athletics Vaughn Williams said. “You just know when somebody has the ‘it’ factor and from the first time we met, I knew. We’re very fortunate to have a coach of his caliber and I am extremely fired up for what is about to happen to the volleyball program.”
Schunzel arrives at KSU with an impressive resume, being both a former player and a seasoned assistant coach.
“I am incredibly excited and grateful to join the Kennesaw State athletics family,” Schunzel said. “This is a thriving university and welcoming community. The passion, vision and commitment exemplified by the leaders of this athletics department are truly inspiring.”
Schunzel served as the lead assistant coach at the University of Kentucky the previous two seasons, where he aided in leading the Wildcats to a 50-17 record over that span. Kentucky grabbed NCAA Tournament wins over East Tennessee State and Ohio State before falling to perennial powerhouse Penn State last season with Schunzel on their staff. He primarily served as the team’s offensive coordinator and helped head coach Craig Skinner lead the Wildcats to a pair of NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 births.
“Kennesaw State hit a home run in hiring Keith,” Skinner said.
“He has an unbelievable IQ and passion for the game that will inevitably lead the program to new heights. His work ethic is outstanding, and he will be a great example for the team to follow. We are excited for Keith and his family to begin this new chapter in their lives.”
Schunzel commented on KSU’s growth and expressed his excitement in being involved.
The press conference followed the team’s first practice of the season, where Schunzel was able to meet with his players and get a first look at the team he will be coaching this upcoming season.
“I am thrilled with the players here and their effort. We had our first practice this morning and I stressed to them three things: effort, communication and volleyball IQ,” Schunzel said. “Those are the three things I communicated to the players and those things are already in place here and they’re going to continue to grow.”
When Schunzel’s team was asked what their expectations were for this season with a new head coach at the helm, they answered with two simple words.
“Conference championship,” they said.
The team is onboard with the direction their program is headed. The seniors spoke passionately about their new head coach and what his hiring meant to them and their team.
“He is ready to come in and take us to the next level,” said Emily Bean.
The Owls will prepare for their 2013 campaign after finishing last season with a 16-17 overall record, and a 5-13 mark in conference play.