The Kris Kern era is here for UPike Volleyball. With a track record of success wherever he has been, Kern is looking to transform from the 4-win team last year into a top notch program.
Kern comes to UPike from West Virginia State where he won 70% of his game and captured a Mountain East Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2021. He turned that program around after the team only won 2 games the season before. In his career, which covers both high school and collegiate positions, Kern comes into the season with 887 wins. He was originally brought to UPike to former Athletic Director Kelly Wells, but says that everyone has been great to him, including current Athletic Direct Robert Staggs, the Sports Information Department and the students. He went to work right away working to bring in new players and looking to upgrade the facilities at UPike before the season began.
Kern hasn’t wasted any time bringing in some players who will help the program immediately. Junior Yaricel Rodriguez is a junior college transfer from Glen Oaks Community College will be an outside hitter. Freshman Lanie Hawley is an outside hitter and middle blocker from Kenosha, WI. Junior Kaitlyn Jager comes in from Alderson Broaddus after it ceased operations recently. Sophomore Caeli Updike comes to the squad after transferring from Tiffin University.
The new coach also says that UPike will have a big Eastern Kentucky flavor with former Shelby Valley star Kyra Looney, former Paintsville star Bella Blackburn and former Phelps star Amelia Casey all expected to see playing time. Kern also has several of the top players from Eastern Kentucky committed for next season.
With a new coach comes a new coaching staff, and Kern brought in a great staff, including assistant Madison McGee, whose mother also played for Kern during her playing career.