Head CoachKeith Schunzel
As Keith Schunzel enters his fourth season as head coach at Kennesaw State, his program will look to build off of the most successful season in school history after going 19-9 overall and 9-5 in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
Not only are the 19 wins the most in school history, but after winning the first A-Sun Tournament match in program history, the Owls beat FGCU 3-1 to make it to the A-Sun Championship.
With a team that played nine underclassmen, KSU kept hurdling challenge after challenge in 2015. They finished undefeated against teams they played from Georgia beating Savannah State, Georgia Southern, Mercer, Georgia State and then Georgia Tech in front of 1,556 fans at the KSU Convocation Center in one of the best atmospheres ever for a Kennesaw State volleyball match.
The young team also went on the road and were the only A-Sun team to beat Lipscomb all season in a thrilling five-set match in Nashville.
After all of the success, Schunzel’s counterparts across the league voted him A-Sun Coach of the Year for the 2015 season.
In his first two recruiting classes, freshmen made huge impacts on the court and the third season was no different.
All four freshmen brought in made impacts on the court with Sydni Shelton leading the way. She was named A-Sun Freshman of the Week four times as well as being named A-Sun Player of the Week once throughout the season. At the end of the season, Shelton landed on the All-Atlantic Sun Second Team as well as the All-Freshmen Team after finishing with 282 kills for the season.
Not only did Shelton make a huge impact, but the returning players made huge strides after having a spring to train with Schunzel and his staff.
Anaiah Boyer’s game reached new heights finishing with a career high 302 kills. She was named to the All-Atlantic Sun First Team after her strong season. Setter Kristi Piedimonte also showed big improvement finishing with 967 assists and averaging 9.48 assists per set.
In his first season, Kelly Marcinek became the first Owl to win A-Sun Freshman of the Year. Marcinek, who was also a unanimous selection on the A-Sun All-Freshmen Team, led the Owls in kills with 402 while putting up a hitting percentage of .215, reigning in three Freshman of the Week and one Player of the Week awards during her rookie year.
In Schunzel’s second season, setter Kristi Piedimonte and Anaiah Boyer were named to the All-Freshman team. Piedimonte set a school record with 37 service aces and was named the A-Sun Freshman of the Week two times. Boyer was second on the team in kills (270) and digs (248) and was third on the team in blocks (47.0).
One of the top up and coming talents in the volleyball community, Schunzel came to Kennesaw State from the University of Kentucky where he spent the past two seasons as the Wildcats’ lead assistant under head coach Craig Skinner.
While at Kentucky, Schunzel helped lead the Wildcats to a 50-17 record in two seasons, including a pair NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 showings. He served as the offensive coordinator while working primarily with the team’s setters, helping boost the UK offense to one of the best in the nation during his tenure.
Schunzel also worked as the team’s liaison to the compliance department as well as overseeing scheduling, planning practices and opponent scouting.
During the 2012 season, the Wildcats compiled a 22-11 overall and recorded NCAA Tournament victories over East Tennessee State and Ohio State before falling to Penn State in the third round. Kentucky concluded the year ranked No. 20 in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) final poll.
“Kennesaw State hit a home run in hiring Keith,” Skinner said. “He has an unbelievable IQ and passion for the game that will inevitably lead the program to new heights. His work ethic is outstanding, and he will be a great example for the team to follow. We are excited for Keith and his family to begin this new chapter in their lives.”
Prior to his time in Lexington, Ky., Schunzel spent one year as the first assistant at the University of North Texas, following a two-year stretch at Indiana University. While with the Mean Green, Schunzel helped guide North Texas to one of its best season’s in recent memory, earning a 20-win season and a trip to the second round in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
During his time in Bloomington, Ind., Schunzel’s recruiting class was ranked No. 22 nationally by PrepVolleyball.com. He helped the IU setters rack up 1,506 assists as the Hoosiers recorded their first winning campaign in eight seasons.
Schunzel began his coaching career at Purdue University in March of 2005, helping lead the Boilermakers to a trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 and a 25-9 record. Schunzel’s main responsibilities were scouting Purdue’s opponents and managing the team’s blockers during matches.
Schunzel left Purdue for Valparaiso University where he helped guide the Crusaders to a 44-24 overall record and a pair of Horizon League Championship finals in two seasons.
The St. Louis, Mo., native began his volleyball career as a player at both the collegiate and professional level, starting in 1999 as a four-year starter at Ball State University. The three-year team captain brought the Cardinals to the 2004 NCAA Final Four and a Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Championship.
Individually, the four-year starting setter earned second team All-America honors in 2004 and honorable mention recognition in 2003. Shunzel was a four-time All-MIVA honoree, garnering first team honors 2002 through 2004 and honorable mention in 2001. He also was named to the MIVA All-Academic team four times.
After graduation, Schunzel played professionally with Germany’s VfB Friedrichshafen Volleyball Club in 2004 and 2005.
Keeping with the volleyball theme, Schunzel’s wife, Briana, was the 2004 Mid-American Conference Player of the Year while a setter at Ohio University. The couple welcomed their first son, Griffin, in December of 2012.
Schunzel - Career Timeline
Collegiate Playing Experience
1999-2004: Ball State University
Professional Playing Experience
2004-05: VfB Friedrichshafen Volleyball Club (Germany)
Assistant Coaching Experience
2011-12: University of Kentucky
2010-11: University of North Texas
2008-10: Indiana University
2006-08: Valparaiso University
2005-06: Purdue University
What the Coaching World is Saying about Keith Schunzel
“Kennesaw State hit a home run in hiring Keith. He has an unbelievable IQ and passion for the game that will inevitably lead the program to new heights. His work ethic is outstanding, and he will be a great example for the team to follow. We are excited for Keith and his family to begin this new chapter in their lives.” – Craig Skinner, Head Coach, University of Kentucky
“I am extremely excited for Keith as well as Kennesaw State University Athletics. Keith has worked hard to prepare himself for his first Division I head coaching opportunity, and I am confident he will do a great job!” – Kenneth Murczek, Head Coach, University of North Texas
“Over the past several years, Keith has been one of the best and brightest assistant coaches in the country. He has learned from some of the best head coaches in the past few years and he is more than ready to be a head coach. He is not only a great coach but a great person to be in charge of a program. Kennesaw made a great choice and they will see their choice pay off in the next few years.” – Carin Avery, Head Coach, Valparaiso University