Schunzel Named New Leader of Kennesaw State Volleyball

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

KENNESAW, Ga. – The Kennesaw State University Department of Athletics announced on Monday the hiring of Keith Schunzel as the new head coach for the Owls volleyball program.

One of the top up and coming talents in the volleyball community, Schunzel comes to Kennesaw State from the University of Kentucky where he spent the past two seasons as the Wildcats’ lead assistant under head coach Craig Skinner.

“We are delighted and thrilled about the hiring of Coach Schunzel,” Kennesaw State Director of Athletics Vaughn Williams said. “I am extremely confident that we have hired the perfect fit to take our volleyball program to the next level.”

“I am incredibly excited and grateful to join the Kennesaw State athletics family,” Schunzel said. “This is a thriving university and welcoming community. I first want to express my sincere gratitude to KSU Athletic Director Vaughn Williams, the search committee led by Scott Whitlock, and the many others involved in this process.

“The passion, vision and commitment exemplified by the leaders of this athletics department are truly inspiring,” Schunzel added. “There is no question that Kennesaw State offers its student-athletes a first-class academic and athletic experience, and because of this I am thrilled to lead its volleyball program to new heights."

While at Kentucky, Schunzel helped lead the Wildcats to a 50-17 record in two seasons, including a pair NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 showings. He served as the offensive coordinator while working primarily with the team’s setters, helping boost the UK offense to one of the best in the nation during his tenure.

Schunzel also worked as the team’s liaison to the compliance department as well as overseeing scheduling, planning practices and opponent scouting.

During the 2012 season, the Wildcats compiled a 22-11 overall and recorded NCAA Tournament victories over East Tennessee State and Ohio State before falling to Penn State in the third round. Kentucky concluded the year ranked No. 20 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) final poll.

“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.”

Prior to his time in Lexington, Ky., Schunzel spent one year as the first assistant at the University of North Texas, following a two-year stretch at Indiana University. While with the Mean Green, Schunzel helped guide North Texas to one of its best season’s in recent memory, earning a 20-win season and a trip to the second round in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.

During his time in Bloomington, Ind., Schunzel’s recruiting class was ranked No. 22 nationally by PrepVolleyball.com. He helped the IU setters rack up 1,506 assists as the Hoosiers recorded their first winning campaign in eight seasons.

Schunzel began his coaching career at Purdue University in March of 2005, helping lead the Boilermakers to a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 and a 25-9 record. Schunzel’s main responsibilities were scouting Purdue’s opponents and managing the team’s blockers during matches.

Schunzel left Purdue for Valparaiso University where he helped guide the Crusaders to a 44-24 overall record and a pair of Horizon League Championship finals in two seasons.

The St. Louis, Mo., native began his volleyball career as a player at both the collegiate and professional level, starting in 1999 as a four-year starter at Ball State University. The three-year team captain brought the Cardinals to the 2004 NCAA Final Four and a Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Championship.

Individually, the four-year starting setter earned second team All-America honors in 2004 and honorable mention recognition in 2003. Shunzel was a four-time All-MIVA honoree, garnering first team honors 2002 through 2004 and honorable mention in 2001. He also was named to the MIVA All-Academic team four times.

After graduation, Schunzel played professionally with Germany’s VfB Friedrichshafen Volleyball Club in 2004 and 2005.

Keeping with the volleyball theme, Schunzel’s wife, Briana, was the 2004 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year while a setter at Ohio University. The couple welcomed their first son, Griffin, in December of 2012.

What the Coaching World is Saying about Keith Schunzel “Kennesaw State hit a home run in hiring Keith. 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.” – Craig Skinner, Head Coach, University of Kentucky

“I am extremely excited for Keith as well as Kennesaw State University Athletics. Keith has worked hard to prepare himself for his first Division I head coaching opportunity, and I am confident he will do a great job!” – Kenneth Murczek, Head Coach, University of North Texas

“Over the past several years, Keith has been one of the best and brightest assistant coaches in the country. He has learned from some of the best head coaches in the past few years and he is more than ready to be a head coach. He is not only a great coach but a great person to be in charge of a program. Kennesaw made a great choice and they will see their choice pay off in the next few years.” – Carin Avery, Head Coach, Valparaiso University