Northwestern State Director of Athletics Greg Burke announced Friday that NSU volleyball coach Sean Kiracofe will receive a contract extension that runs through the 2023 season. Kiracofe’s contract was approved at the April meeting of the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors.
“Sean has provided stability and continuity for the NSU volleyball program, with a focus on off- and on-court success,” Burke said. “He faced a total rebuild upon arriving at NSU in 2015, having lost six of the program’s top eight players from a team that won the Southland Conference tournament title and made an NCAA postseason appearance. Ultimately, he led the program to its second-ever postseason appearance (2019 National Invitational Volleyball Championship).
“He stays the course, recruits relentlessly and is a great ‘teacher’ of the game,” added Burke, who noted that Kiracofe faced a similar scenario this past spring as the team was without its top six players from a year ago and then played part of the season without all-conference candidate Haley Hoang at libero.
“I would like to thank Dr. Maggio and Mr. Burke for their continued trust in me to lead this program,” Kiracofe said. “I also want to thank all the student athletes, past and present, that have believed in the vision (assistant coach) Stacey (Aldredge) and I have for this team. Without their work and dedication, I would not have this opportunity. We believe in our roster, believe in what they are capable of and anxiously await starting back up in August to begin the 2021 season.”
The rebuilding process that began in 2015 saw its first major fruits during the 2019 campaign. Kiracofe guided the Lady Demons to their fifth 20-win season and second-ever postseason appearance, setting the single-season record for team attack percentage at .224 on the year.
Kiracofe was named the Louisiana Sports Writer’s Association Coach of the Year while his most accomplished recruit to date, Louisiana native and arguably the best player in program history, Hannah Brister, earned both LSWA and Southland Conference Player of the Year honors. Brister was also named SLC Freshman of the Year in 2017, just the fifth player in conference history to win both individual honors.
Defense and ball control have been staples of the Kiracofe era. Since 2015, three Lady Demons who played their entire careers under Kiracofe have surpassed 1,000 career digs, including two of the top five totals in program history – Channing Burleson (1,879) and Megan Lohmiller (1,289).
The third, Alexis Warren, also became the fourth 1,000-1,000 player in school history, reaching both milestones during the historic 2019 season.
Known for his work at the net with the middle blockers, NSU has had four of the top 10 single-season total block performances in school history since Kiracofe took over, most recently from Madeline Drake in 2017 who finished with 116, just the seventh 100-plus block season in school history.
It hasn’t been all defense under Kiracofe either. Twice in the past four seasons the single-season kills record has been broken, with Brister setting the new mark in 2019 at 539, the first 500-kill season for a Lady Demon.
Kiracofe-led teams have produced 10 top-five single-season performances in wins, win percentage, kills, hitting percentage, assists, digs and block assists. His teams are responsible for two of the best season win (20 – 2019, 15 – 2017) and team attack percentage (.224 – 2019, .200 – 2018) totals in program history.
Photo credit: Chris Reich, NSU Photographic Services