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Kent State tabs Haley Eckerman, a national champion at Texas, to coach its volleyball team

Danny Davis
Austin American-Statesman
Former Texas volleyball player Haley Eckerman speaks with Kailynn Ybarra, 7, after a scrimmage at Gregory Gym in August 2017. Eckerman, who was a four-time All-American and three-time Big 12 player of the year, will be the next head coach at Kent State.

Former Texas standout Haley Eckerman was named the head coach of Kent State's volleyball program on Monday.

This hire continues a rapid rise in the coaching ranks for the 29-year-old Eckerman. Last season, she was an assistant at TCU. She has also worked on the coaching staffs at Tarleton State and Lamar University.

Eckerman inherits a Kent State team that went 12-18 last season and finished in third place in the East Division of the Mid-American Conference. The Golden Flashes have never reached the NCAA Tournament.

In a press release, Kent State athletic director Randale Richmond said Eckerman "gives us the opportunity to re-imagine our Volleyball program and I could not be more excited for Haley to join our talented group of head coaches. I'm thrilled to see how the program grows under her leadership."

Eckerman starred as a 6-foot-3 outside hitter at Texas from 2011-14. She earned AVCA All-America accolades four times, including three first-team nods. The Big 12 honored her as its player of the year in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

In 2012, Eckerman helped lead Texas to an NCAA championship. Her 1,662 career kills rank fifth in the UT record books, and only seven Longhorns have served more aces. 

After leaving Texas, Eckerman played professionally in Puerto Rico, Azerbaijan, Italy, Russia and South Korea. She began coaching at an Iowa high school in 2018.

"I'm very proud of all the accomplishments Haley has achieved in and around the volleyball world," Texas coach Jerritt Elliott said in a statement. "I couldn't be more excited for her and Kent State to have Haley as their leader."