Kerry Messersmith, who has guided the Georgia Southern volleyball program for the past five seasons as its head coach, has been named head volleyball coach at UAB.
Messersmith became the Eagles' all-time winningest coach in her tenure at the Statesboro, Georgia school, turning around a program that was 15-45 in the two seasons prior to her arrival in 2001.
The Casper, Wyo. native compiled an overall record of 116-52 at GSU and was 75-17 in Southern Conference matches. Under Messersmith, the Eagles finished 21-11 and were 14-6 in SoCon play in 2001, her first season at GSU. That effort came only a year after Georgia Southern was 11-19 overall and just 5-15 in league action.
For the 2002 and 2003 seasons, the Eagles were a combined 53-18 overall and 35-3 in conference matches.
The Eagles won Southern Conference tournament championships in 2001 and 2003, earning NCAA Tournament berths and captured the league's regular season title in both 2002 and 2003.
Messersmith's overall collegiate coaching record stands at 474-252.
Messersmith, who earned Southern Conference Coach-of-the-Year honors during her time at GSU, coached four players to eight first-team all-conference accolades in her five seasons with the Eagles. Four other GSU players earned second-team all-league honors.
"We are extremely excited to have Kerry Messersmith coming on board as head women's volleyball coach," said Roz Ervin, Senior Associate Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator at UAB. "She has a wide range of experience and has built her career on turning programs around. She will provide that additional spark needed to take our program to the next level.
"Kerry is an outstanding coach and we know she will be a great representative for our University and athletics program," Ervin said.
Messersmith's success at Georgia Southern was just the latest example of a program demonstrating a dramatic turnaround under her leadership. In fact, in her 18-year career as a head coach, she has guided five teams to substantial turnarounds.
Prior to her taking over the Eagles' program at GSU, Messersmith spent four seasons at Arizona.Western College where she took a program that won just four matches the season before she arrived to an eighth-place finish at the NJCAA National Tournament in 2000. The Matadors finished 15-23 during her first season but then improved to 33-19 in 1998. The success would continue over the next two seasons as Arizona Western finished 38-13 in 1999 and 43-10 in Messersmith's final two years there.
Messersmith also helped lead huge turnarounds as head coach at Allen County (Kan.) Community College, Fort Scott Community College and Pittsburg State University. Her coaching career began at Allen County CC in 1987. During her two seasons there, she compiled a mark of 61-23 and led the school to its first volleyball conference championship.
She will take over a UAB program that finished 14-13 in 2005 under the guidance of co-interim coaches Allison Magner and Nikola Petrovic. The pair took over the coaching duties after Melinda Claiborne resigned for personal reasons last summer. The Blazers had experienced eight consecutive losing seasons prior to 2005.
"My family and I are excited about the opportunities that Birmingham and UAB hold," said Messersmith. "We've had a great experience at Georgia Southern University but are now ready for a new challenge. There is so much enthusiasm at UAB and we can't wait to be a part of that. I am looking forward to representing the University, athletics department and volleyball program."
Messersmith is a 1986 graduate of Chadron State (Neb.) College where she earned a B.S. degree in education.
Messersmith and her husband, Hal, have two daughters: Meghan (21) and Brynnley (17).