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Kelsay Named AVCA 'Thirty Under 30'

April 5, 2018

Michigan State assistant coach and four-year letterwinner Kristen Kelsay has been named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association “Thirty Under 30” list, as announced by the AVCA on Thursday morning.

The award was created in 2009 to honor up-and-coming coaching talent at all levels of the sport. To qualify for the award, nominees had to be younger than 30 years old in 2017. The 144 total nominations broke the program record. Of the thirty recipients, 11 are NCAA Division I women’s coaches, five in high school/club and NCAA Division III, three in NCAA Division II, two from the NAIA and NCAA Division I-II men, and one from NCAA Division I Beach and Two-Year College Beach programs.

Kelsay, who was a four-year letterwinner for the Spartans before taking a spot on the bench to coach at her alma mater, just finished her third season on the MSU sideline. She took the skills, drive, and passion for the sport she had brought to the program as a three-time captain into her assistant coaching role, where she serves as the program’s recruiting coordinator.

During Kelsay’s time on the coaching staff, she has extended the winning culture she helped foster as team captain. The Spartans have been to the NCAA Tournament each season, with the 2017 campaign ranking among the program’s best in school history. MSU advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1995, putting together a 24-9 overall record. The program produced four AVCA All-Americans and one CoSIDA Academic All-American – an honor Kelsay herself earned as a senior in 2013.

The 2017 recruiting class was ranked No. 9 by Prep Volleyball, and with several excellent players committed to the Spartans for the fall of 2018, Michigan State expects to continue its strong run of excellence.

“Kristen is without a doubt one of the up-and-coming coaches in our game,” said Michigan State head coach Cathy George. “She was always one of the hardest workers in our program as a player, and I knew that she would bring that same tenacity to her coaching. As a three-time captain, she had a look at the “other side” and an introduction of what goes into coaching. She’s mature beyond her years, and that has served her well as she has grown into a well-rounded young coach, administrator, recruiter, and mentor for our student-athletes.”



“I am grateful for the opportunities, experiences, and relationships that have enriched my life because of volleyball,” said Kelsay. “I want our student-athletes to have the same quality experience at Michigan State that I was able to enjoy not only on the volleyball court, but also on our campus and in our community. I am incredibly fortunate that Cathy George has given me the opportunity to coach at my alma mater. This award is a reflection of all the people who have mentored, supported, and guided me along this journey as both a player and a coach. I know many talented people are nominated and I am honored to be recognized. “

Kelsay holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Michigan State and is currently completing work towards her graduate degree from MSU as well.

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