July 15, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- Hal Messersmith, who along with his wife Kerry, helped the UAB volleyball program soar to new heights over the past seven years, passed away at his home in Birmingham Monday evening after courageously battling cancer for the past two and a half years.
A Nebraska native, Messersmith was born in 1959 and came to UAB in 2006, along with his wife Kerry, the current UAB volleyball head coach, to assist in running the Blazer volleyball program. As an assistant coach and director of operations, he played an instrumental role in the program posting four 20-win seasons and two NCAA Tournament appearances during his time with the Green and Gold.
In 2011, Messersmith assumed a new title when he was named UAB's first-ever sand volleyball coach. In fact, Messersmith made history when he coached in the first-ever sanctioned collegiate sand volleyball match, when the Blazers hosted the Florida State Seminoles on March 3, 2012.
In his two seasons leading the Blazers in the sand, Messersmith saw a pair qualify for the AVCA Sand Nationals each year. Kiriana Hirini and Bethanie Thomas became the first pair of Blazers to win a match at the AVCA Nationals in program history during the 2013 spring campaign.
Beyond coaching volleyball for 12 seasons alongside his wife of the past 30 years Kerry, Messersmith coached baseball, basketball and football for 20 years. From the mid-1980s through 2001, he posted 17 winning seasons in those sports and graduated 95 percent of his student-athletes.
Messersmith, who graduated from Chadron State in Nebraska in 1986, came to UAB after coaching with Kerry for five years at Georgia Southern University.
Messersmith's other coaching experiences included stops at his alma mater Chadron State, Allen County (Kan.) Community College, Fort Scott (Kan.) Community College and Arizona Western College.
Messersmith is survived by his wife Kerry, daughter Meghan Gephardt and son-in-law Steve Gephardt, daughter Brynnley and grandchildren Evyn and Kaiden Gephardt.