HARROGATE, Tenn. - More than three months after long time Lady Railsplitter Volleyball head coach Mike Smith announced he was stepping down from the position to assume the duties as assistant athletics director and compliance coordinator, Lincoln Memorial University athletics department officials announced they had found the Lady Railsplitters' next head coach.
Jenny Michael, a 2002 graduate of Francis Marion University and 2004 masters degree recipient of Armstrong Atlantic State University becomes only the third Lady Railsplitter head volleyball coach since Lincoln Memorial University became a member of the NCAA in the early 1990's. Over the past five seasons, Michael has been the assistant volleyball coach for NCAA Division I Troy University in Troy, Alabama where she helped the Trojans achieve a 61-100 record.
Before signing on with Troy University, Michael served as assistant varsity and head junior varsity coach at Kent-Meridian High School in Kent, Washington from 2005 until 2006, and was a graduate assistant and assistant coach at NCAA Division II Armstrong Atlantic State University from 2002 until 2005.
"I am very excited about coach Michael coming to lead our volleyball program," said LMU Athletics Director Roger Vannoy. "She has enjoyed a conference championship as both a player and a coach taking four-of-seven NCAA II teams into the NCAA national tournament. She also comes to us from NCAA I Troy University where her position as recruiting coordinator has given her a great working knowledge of LMU's regional recruiting base. Coach Michael has an established reputation as a hard worker. The search committee and I feel this is a great recipe for success."
Michael will be taking over the helm of a program that has made three consecutive trips to the NCAA Division II Southeast Region Tournament while posting four consecutive 20-win seasons and making the South Atlantic Conference Tournament semifinals twice, as well as the SAC Tournament finals once.
"I would like to thank Roger Vannoy, Mike Smith and Dr. Dawson for allowing me this opportunity with Lincoln Memorial University," said Michael in a statement. "While the University is outstanding and the surrounding area beautiful, I was completely sold once I met the team and got a sense of their passion and desire to become even more successful. Also, I would like to thank Sonny Kirkpatrick, the Troy University volleyball team and the athletic administration at Troy for the past six years. I had an amazing experience, made some life-long friends and truly appreciate all that I learned during that time. I will miss Troy but i'm extremely excited to be a part of a new family here at LMU."
The Lady Railsplitter volleyball team lost four seniors to gradution following the 2010 campaign, including two-time All-South Atlantic Conference performer Lauren Kiwacka. The LMU women return nine letter-winners from last year's team that finished the season with a 23-8 overall record. Leading that group of returners is All-SAC Freshman Team, Second Team All-Conference and Second Team All-Southeast Region Team member Kaitlin Walton and 2009 All-SAC Second Team member Candace Richardson.
The Lady Railsplitters begin preseason practice for in mid August.