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Carrie Bert resigns as EMU women’s volleyball coach

emu basketballEastern Mennonite University announced Friday the resignation of women’s volleyball coach Carrie Bert.

Bert had recently completed her fifth season as head coach of the EMU program after five seasons as an assistant coach.

She will continue working with the volleyball team until a new coach is hired and in place.

Bert, also an EMU alumnus and former player for the Royals, said she considers it a tremendous and inspiring responsibility to have been so involved in the lives of student-athletes during a transformational time in their lives.

“I’m so grateful that the EMU community and the families of these athletes entrusted me to lead this program,” she said. “Watching bold young women develop volleyball skills, excel in the classroom, learn to work through conflict and failure, grow deep friendships, participate and find their voice around campus, volunteer in the community, and ask questions about faith and life has been an honor. As an EMU women’s volleyball alum, it was especially a privilege.”

Director of Athletics Dave King said Bert successfully developed a program that focused on the student-athlete experience and reflected the values of the university.

“Carrie has recruited quality students who engage in campus life, perform well in the classroom and are competitive on the court,” King explained. “Her passion for her players, the volleyball program and the university is reflected in the lives of volleyball alumni who have played for her. She has always been committed to developing the whole person using all aspects of college life.”

Bert’s final team earned the program’s best finish in 18 years at 13-13. It was EMU’s first .500 season since 2001. She finished with a coaching record of 51-85, averaging just over 10 wins per season. The Royals had seen just two double-digit win records in the 11 seasons before Bert took over.

This year’s team graduates four seniors, but returns many of their statistical leaders.

“I’m a very competitive individual, so leaving this team on the brink of the first winning season in almost 20 years is difficult,” Bert explained. “However, we have accomplished so much over the last five seasons. I’m delighted our 2017 team qualified for the ODAC Tournament for the first time since 2007. That year we also earned our first ODAC road win in forever at Emory & Henry resulting in me being thrown in the E&H pool before the bus ride home. Last fall, we narrowly missed a return to the ODAC Tournament after losing out on a three-way tie breaker.”

Individually, Bert’s student-athletes also made impacts on the court as well as around campus.

During her 10 years on EMU’s sidelines, Bert coached Katie Miller (2012-15), who broke the EMU Career Digs record and finished No. 6 in ODAC history. Setter Jasmine Johnson (2014-17) settled at No. 2 in EMU Career Assists. In 2017, Becca Hardy won the President’s Award, the most prestigious award given to an EMU student-athlete. Maria Yoder won the President’s Award last year.

Bert has also utilized her abilities in administration.

“In addition to her coaching, Carrie has embraced her role as Senior Woman Administrator resulting in increased programming and efficiencies to the athletic department operations,” King added. “She developed a thorough orientation program for new coaches and graduate assistants, facilitated professional development opportunities for women staff members and helped give oversight to the graduate assistant program. I will be exploring additional administrative responsibilities for Carrie as she would like to stay involved at EMU.”

Bert will still run her successful volleyball camp at EMU this June 9-12.

After a total of 10 years on the sidelines in Yoder Arena, she cited time with her family as a major reason for her resignation.

“While my next step is uncertain, I feel so affirmed by new opportunities that would allow me to continue working at EMU,” Bert said. “Ideally, I can find a role that allows me to participate more fully in the lives of our children and all their activities. At the ages of 15, 13, and 10, I want to be as present for my family as I have been for my players at EMU as a coach. I am excited for the new ways in which I can support the team and hope to join women’s volleyball alumni in the stands to cheer on the Royals this fall!”

She felt she is leaving the program in good shape for her successor.

“With collaboration between staff and players, we have made steady progress around an understanding of community, academic, and competitive wellness,” said Bert. “This program is poised for continued success with a fantastic 2020 recruit class and current team leadership.”

King said the search for Bert’s replacement would begin immediately.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press