Photo by Leah Schwarting

The women’s volleyball team welcomed a new member this week: their new assistant coach, Chris Keen.

“He’s just a great coach, really respected in our volleyball community. We’re just real excited that he was looking to make a move,” Head Coach Jill Stephens said.

In February, the last assistant coach, Rob Koehler, left the college. Immediately after, Stephens started looking for his replacement.

“I actually was at a tournament and recruiting, and he was recruiting as well,” Stephens said. “And I just walked by and said, ‘If you know anybody who’ll be interested in my assistant position, let me know,’ not thinking about him, but more about other people he might know, and he came up later and just said ‘I’m interested.”

At the time, Keen was assistant coach at Nova Southeastern University. Although Keen said that he had not been looking to switch jobs, he saw the job as an opportunity to work with Stephens.

“I was definitely comfortable at Nova. That wasn’t an issue,” Keen said. “But if I have a chance to work at Florida Southern, coach under Jill, and as soon as that presented itself I knew that I needed to pursue that.”

During the course of his initial interview, Keen was called in to meet the women’s volleyball team.

“That was somewhat intimidating,” Keen said. “It’s a lot to one person, but it ended up being a very comfortable thing for them and me. We just sat and had a discussion.”

Keen said that he looked forward to finding out about the different learning styles of the team, as well as the  different members of the FSC athletic department.

“I plan on taking some time in these next few weeks to really get to know the other coaches,” Keen said. “I think a lot of times those coaches can share ideas amongst each other in all the programs. It doesn’t matter if you’re coaching soccer or basketball or baseball. Coaching is coaching.”

Keen officially started his job on April 1. He comes from a diverse background that involves several different coaching positions, including the University of Georgia.

“He brings a ton of knowledge. He’s not only coached at Nova, but he [was] also at University of Florida, which is a top 10 Division I program,” Stephens said. “He was a volunteer and the second assistant there, so he’s worked with really high athletes and run a pretty complex defense system there.”

Keen said that he was excited to begin.

“I feel really good about it. It’s an exciting time for me, personally. This is a great opportunity for me, and as soon as I knew I had a chance at that opportunity, I wanted to make sure that I jumped at it,” Keen said.

Keen said that he admired the team’s “passion,” one that he shared.

“I’m really looking forward to joining in with that,” Keen said.

Stephens said that she looked forward to Keen taking over the position.

“We’re just excited. He’s going to bring fresh ideas and a really great recruiting knowledge of our state,” Stephens said.


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