Carney focuses on recruiting and working with the blockers on the court for the Spartans. Last season, the Spartans made it back to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time during his tenure at MSU.
"Russ and I have worked so well together and had great success throughout the past 18 years," said George. "He and I worked together for 11 years at Western Michigan and I really feel that having that kind of continuity is a strength for the Spartan program. I believe we complement each other very well in our coaching styles. We are able to maximize different areas on the bench and in practice."
This past season, Carney assisted in the growth of Alexis Mathews as improved on her season high in blocks with 155 and was fourth in the Big Ten and 32 in the nation in blocks per set with 1.27 in 2011. The mark of 1.27 blocks per set is also second all-time in career history at Michigan State.
In 2010, then-freshman Alexis Mathews broke on to the scene for the Green and White as she led all Spartans with 127 blocks on the year, the fourth-best mark recorded by a freshman in school history, for a 1.27 blocks per set average, the third most in program history by a freshman. Mathews closed out MSU's home schedule with 12 blocks against Michigan, the most blocks ever recorded in a three-set match at MSU and the fourth most in all matches. As a result of her stellar season, Mathews was selected to represent USA at the USA Volleyball Open National Championships as a part of the U.S. National A2 Team.
Under the guidance of Carney in 2009, Kyndra Abron became the first sophomore in program history to be tabbed as an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-Americn. Abron also earned All-Mideast Region honorable mention as well as first-team All-Big Ten honors. Also, former Spartan Vanessa King is a student-athlete who thrived under the tutelage of Carney. King ended her career ranked as one of the most efficient hitters in school history and was arguably one of the best middle blockers in the Big Ten in 2008. In fact, Carney was a prime reason that King was selected to the All-Big Ten First Team in 2008 and to the All-Big Ten Freshman team in 2006.
Carney's efforts do not stop on the court. Over the last several seasons, Carney has spearheaded the recruitment efforts at Michigan State. He played an instrumental role in assembling the top recruiting class in Michigan State history heading into 2008. He helped recruit Big Ten All-Freshman Team member Natalie Emro and 2009 AVCA All-American Kyndra Abron. He also helped in the signing of Becca Zlabis, who ranks among the MSU freshmen elite in several categories, Carli Weiler - the fourth-ranked libero prospect out of high school - and other additions to the Spartans roster. Those student-athletes, among others, are the reason that MSU's 2007 class was ranked as the seventh-best class in the nation and the top class in the Big Ten.
Carney also coordinates various other coaching duties throughout the season. Working with a state-of-the-art video system, Carney is in charge of scouting and video breakdown of opponents. Carney also helps the student-athletes by serving as the academic coordinator on the coaching staff.
A Tunkhannock, Pa., native, Carney started his collegiate coaching career as an assistant coach at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, Mich., in 1978. He assumed the head coaching duties at KCC in 1980 and promptly guided the Bruins to the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championship that year.
Carney went on to serve as an assistant coach at Wisconsin in 1981 before he was named head coach of the Badgers in 1982, where he remained until 1984. During his stint at Wisconsin, Carney served as head coach of the 1981 U.S. Olympic Festival Men's East Team, guiding that squad to the Gold medal. He was a member of both the NCAA Midwest Regional and Big Ten Conference officiating committees.
A setter in college, Carney attended Kellogg Community College (1973-74) before transferring to Ball State University (1976). He earned a bachelor's degree in physical education from BSU in 1978.
Russ and his wife Sherry have a daughter, Jessica, 22, and a son, Branden, 19, who is a sophomore on the MSU hockey team, and reside in Battle Creek, Mich.
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