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Banwarth named assistant coach for Huskers volleyball team

Kayla Banwarth won a bronze medal at the Rio Olympics
Lausanne, Switzerland, January 14, 2017 – Rio Olympian Kayla Banwarth has been named as the new assistant coach of the University of Nebraska volleyball team.

Banwarth, 27, replaces another former Husker, Dani Busboom Kelly, who was named the head coach at Louisville in November.

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Banwarth is relatively new to the coaching profession after finishing an illustrious playing career with the U.S. national team at the Olympic Games in Rio last year. The former libero spent the last two years as a volunteer assistant coach for the Pepperdine men’s volleyball team.  

“I am extremely honoured to rejoin the Nebraska volleyball programme as a coach,” Banwarth said. “I look forward to learning and growing both as a coach and a person.”

Banwarth became the starting libero midway through her freshman season and remained in that role through 2010. She led the Huskers to the NCAA semifinals in 2008 and three Big 12 titles, and was Nebraska’s all-time career leader in digs until 2016, when Justine Wong-Orantes surpassed her. 

Banwarth, who played professionally in Azerbaijan, was named the Best Receiver at the 2015 NORCECA Championship and helped Team USA win gold there and in the FIVB World Grand Prix in 2016. In 2014 she helped Team USA to the FIVB World Championship, the first gold medal for the U.S. at a major tournament. Banwarth and USA took the bronze medal at last year’s Olympics.

“Whenever I have a chance to hire a former player to coach at Nebraska volleyball, it’s something I strongly consider because they understand what this programme is about,” Nebraska volleyball head coach John Cook said. “Kayla’s strengths are her journey to Nebraska as a walk-on, having a great career at Nebraska and going on to beat out all the other liberos in the United States to become one of the top liberos in the world.”

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