Western Courier

Volleyball coach steps up in class

Western Illinois Media Services and Garrick Hodge contributed to this report

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April Hall will be making quite a transition this fall.

Western Illinois Director of Athletics Tim Van Alstine announced Monday that Hall had been selected as the new Leathernecks head volleyball coach. The post will be Hall’s first NCAA head coaching position, and her first opportunity to direct a team on the Division I level.

Hall most recently was an assistant coach at Northern Kentucky University, a Division II program that is in the process of transitioning to Division I.

Last season, with Hall assisting Dragons head coach Liz Holmes, Northern Kentucky went 26-6 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Hall graduated Tiffin University in Ohio in 2006 and earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology.

“We are very excited to have April Hall leading our volleyball program,” Van Alstine said in a release. “We were very impressed with the quality of the applications, but April proved to be exactly what our volleyball program needed. She has an impressive record of coaching success at highest levels of volleyball at both NCAA Division I and Division II institutions.

“All those who met with April were impressed by her knowledge of volleyball and her confidence and ability to recruit student-athletes who will succeed in classroom and on the court,” Van Alstine added.

Hall replaces former head volleyball coach Kym McKay, who was let go on Nov. 18 after a disappointing last-place finish in the Summit League in 2011. The Leathernecks ended up 12-18 overall and 3-15 in conference play. However, McKay did have her fair share of accomplishments for the Leathernecks.

Since joining Western in 2002, McKay saw 12 of her athletes earn first- and second-team all-conference honors. In 2005, McKay earned Summit League Coach of the Year honors, a year that saw her lead the then-Westerwinds to third place in the conference and an 11-3 league mark. McKay followed that up by directing Western to second place in the Summit League in 2006, the best finish in school history.

McKay’s overall record at Western was just 108-193, however, including 64-88 in the Summit League. The Leathernecks were 6-30 in league play over the last two seasons, and failed to qualify for postseason play the past four years. Although McKay’s winning percentage was just .359, her 108 coaching victories are second all-time in program history.

Prior to her tenure at Northern Kentucky, Hall served as a volunteer assistant coach at Ohio State University in 2010. The Buckeyes finished 24-12 and advanced to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Division I Tournament.

“I would like to thank Dr. Tim Van Alstine, (Senior Associate Director of Athletics) Josh Moon and (Assistant Director of Athletics for Academic Services) Lisa Melz-Jennings for placing their confidence in me to take over the Fighting Leatherneck volleyball program,” Hall said in release. “Western Illinois volleyball has the key pieces needed in order to compete for The Summit League championship, which will be our goal as a unit every year.

“I am looking forward to working with the student-athletes and developing a successful program both on and off the court.”

This fall, the Leathernecks will return senior Bridget Murphy, juniors Heather Smith and Sarah Fetter and sophomore Ann Miller as they look to compete for a Summit League playoff berth. 

 

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Volleyball coach steps up in class