WVU’s new volleyball coach Kramer sees championships in future

By Tony Dobies

West Virginia’s new volleyball coach Jill Kramer has lofty expectations for her new program.

“I see championships,” she said. “You’ve got all the tools needed to win them.”

Kramer was announced as WVU’s newest coach Monday afternoon. She accepted the position Saturday. She signed a five-year, $70,000 contract which was finalized Monday.

“We’re happy to have you,” said WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck. “She came well recommended from a lot of head volleyball coaches from around the country. She has a great network that will serve us well.”

When she signed that contract, she took over what has been a sluggish program over the past few seasons. WVU has a 43-78 record over the past four seasons.

However, Kramer believes there is new life in the program.

“I’ve been really impressed to see how on board everyone is to see volleyball go in a new direction,” Kramer said. “All I see is opportunity here, and I’m ready to go after that.”

She said her main goals are to win a Big East Conference championship and to increase awareness of the sport inside the state. She said her team will be the “best entertainment in Morgantown.”

Kramer was hired four days before the team’s fall camp begins. The team will report for its first practice Tuesday.

Because of that, Kramer has spent the first few days on the job talking to her assistant coaches and team leaders. She said there was a team dinner Monday night, where she would begin to get to know her players for the first time.

“There won’t be any talk of volleyball,” she said. “I need to get to know them first and know that they carry us.”

Kramer said she will retain the team’s two assistant coaches, Bakeer Ganes and Ashley Pappas.

“I need them,” Kramer said while laughing. “They know Morgantown. They know West Virginia. They know the girls and have some stability with them, so that’s important.”

Kramer said emphatically she does not lower her expectations for the 2010 because of the rushed timetable.

“As soon as you start looking for excuses, you’ve got a problem,” she said. “It’s a unique situation, but it’s a great opportunity. We have an advantage, because we’re going to be in the honeymoon stage for a while.”

Kramer heard of the open position the day after it opened up. Because of her previous relationship with WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck, she became instantly interested. Kramer recruited Luck’s daughter.

Kramer comes to West Virginia from Virginia, where she had been an assistant coach with the Cavaliers for two years. She also has experience coaching Team USA.

Kramer is known as a strong recruiter. While at Virginia, she recruited the team’s first-ever nationally ranked recruiting class. It was ranked No. 15 by PrepVolleyball.com.Last season, the Cavaliers’ recruiting class was ranked No. 9 in the nation.

She said she will use the team’s family atmosphere and the WVU community as selling points for her program. She said she doesn’t mind where the recruit comes from, as long as she has the right character for the program.

“I’ve been dubbed as a player’s coach sometimes, so I’m really looking out for their best interest all the time,” Kramer said. “People who want to come here will want that type of environment.”

Prior to her time at Virginia, she was an assistant for two years at Alabama. She began her coaching career at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she was an assistant for two years.

In addition to her collegiate coaching experience, she has helped the USA Volleyball program as a coach. She has a 27-1 record with USA Volleyball.

Kramer graduated from TCU in 1999. She was a four-year letterwinner and team captain for the Horned Frogs. She was also part of the inaugural team at TCU.

Kramer, 32, is a native of San Antonio. She replaces long-time WVU volleyball coach Veronica Hammersmith, who retired earlier this summer. Hammersmith had a 580-574 record.

Expect to hear her name for a while at WVU, too. She said this is a job she can see herself at for a long time.

“The things I want to accomplish here aren’t overnight things,” she said. “We are making program-changing decisions.”

Read more here: http://www.thedaonline.com/wvu-s-new-volleyball-coach-kramer-sees-championships-in-future-1.1504648
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