Carney focuses on recruiting, as well as working with the servers on the court for the Spartans. Last season, the Spartans made it back to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time during his tenure at MSU.
"Russ and I have worked so well together and had great success throughout the past 19 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."
In recent seasons, Carney has assisted in the growth of Alexis Mathews, who was third in the Big Ten and 16th nationally in hitting percentage (.388) and fourth in the Conference in blocks (158, 1.22 per set). Her career mark of 1.25 blocks per set is currently third all-time in the MSU annals, while her 440 career blocks ranks fifth.
In 2010, then-freshman 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-American. 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.
Over the last several seasons, Carney has played an instrumental role in assembling some of the top recruiting classes in Michigan State history. Most recently, MSU's incoming 2013 class has been ranked the seventh-best in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com; MSU's 2007 class was also the No. 7 class in the country and the top-rated class in the Big Ten that season. In addition, Carney serves as the 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, 24, and a son, Branden, 21. The family resides in Battle Creek, Mich.
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