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Olson named head coach of Owls volleyball program

GAMBIER, Ohio — At the completion of a national search, Jill McCartney, Kenyon College’s Director of Athletics, Fitness and Recreation, announced the hiring of Emma Olson as head coach of the Owls volleyball team. Olson, who comes to Kenyon from Washington and Lee University, is the 16th head coach in the 49-year history of the Kenyon program.

“We are delighted to have Emma join us as the head volleyball coach,” McCartney said. “She brings an infectious positive energy and has a clear vision for the Kenyon volleyball program.” 

Previously, Olson served for three seasons as an assistant coach at Washington and Lee, an NCAA Division III institution in Lexington, Virginia. In that time, the Generals put together a combined 66-18 record, including a 31-3 performance within Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) competition. She helped direct teams to a pair of conference championships while coaching two players who collected American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America honors, four who earned all-region accolades and seven who were named to all-conference teams.

Her duties and responsibilities at Washington and Lee included, but were not limited to, creating and implementing practice plans, scouting and film analysis of opponents, recruiting, specialization in  setter training, as well as providing assistance in installing offensive systems for each Generals’ match.

During the 2021 campaign, the Generals registered a 26-8 overall record, won the ODAC, made an appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament and earned a national rank as high as No. 22.

  Prior to her time at Washington and Lee, Olson, a 2017 graduate of the University of Mary Washington, returned to her alma mater in 2018 and served as the Eagles assistant coach. That season, the team went 21-12 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

The following season, Olson was named interim head coach of the Mary Washington program and steered the Eagles to a 16-13 record. In her two seasons at Mary Washington, she coached one All-American, two all-region, and three all-conference student-athletes.

In her own playing days at Mary Washington, Olson was a setter who piled up 3,461 career assists, a total that still ranks third best in the team’s record book. She was the first All-America honoree in program history, and, in her senior season of 2016, led the Eagles to 31-4 record and a run all the way to the NCAA Tournament quarterfinals.

Olson, who earned a master of science in sports management from Southern New Hampshire University in 2021, is slated to begin her duties at Kenyon in early July.

“I would like to thank Jill McCartney and the entire search committee for their time during the search process. I am incredibly blessed and excited for the opportunity to lead the women’s volleyball program at Kenyon College,” Olson said. “Kenyon has a rich history and I am humbled and honored to work at an institution that values success both on the court and in the classroom. I look forward to learning and growing as a member of the Owl community, as well as building relationships with players, alumni, colleagues, and the administration.”

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