Volunteer assistant coach Kelly Hunter has been promoted to a full-time assistant coach for the Nebraska volleyball program, head coach John Cook announced Wednesday.
Following her professional playing career overseas, Hunter joined the Husker staff two years ago. She has served in multiple roles as a volunteer assistant (2020-21), interim assistant coach (January-August 2020) and graduate assistant (2019). She fulfilled her stint as an interim assistant coach in 2020 while former associate head coach Tyler Hildebrand prepared for the 2020 Olympic Games prior to his arrival in Lincoln.
“Kelly has been an important part of Nebraska Volleyball for eight years, and we’re happy to announce her promotion to a full-time assistant coach on our staff,” Cook said. “She is one of the best leaders I’ve ever been around, and she knows what it takes to be a national champion, which only benefits our student-athletes.
“We have seen over and over again how special Kelly is, and she has stepped up to the challenge of every role she has had in our program. Kelly is a great relationship builder, and she has the trust of our players. She bleeds Husker red, and she has earned this opportunity.”
Hunter set the Huskers to national championships in 2015 and 2017 and was a two-time All-American. She was also the 2017 Big Ten Setter of the Year and a two-time All-Big Ten selection. The three-year Husker captain received numerous honors from volleyball publications, including National Player of the Year and All-America first-team honors from PrepVolleyball.com and VolleyMob.com. Hunter was also named co-Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Championship with teammate Mikaela Foecke after the Huskers beat Florida in the national title match in 2017.
In the classroom, Hunter earned CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team accolades and was named a semifinalist for the Senior CLASS Award. She ended her career with 4,125 assists, then the second-most in Husker history. Hunter finished her career with a 16-1 record in the NCAA Tournament as Nebraska’s starting setter, posting the most wins and highest postseason winning percentage by a starting setter in NU history.
“I am beyond thrilled to begin my full-time coaching career at Nebraska,” Hunter said. “There is no greater dream than to coach for my alma mater and remain a part of Husker Nation.
“I would like to thank Vice Chancellor, Director of Athletics Trev Alberts and Chancellor Ronnie Green for the opportunity, as well as Coach Cook for always believing in me. This program sets the standard for hard work and success, and I am thankful to be a part of such an amazing culture. I am humbled and excited for the future.”
Hailing from Papillion, Neb., Hunter came to the program as a Husker legacy, as her mother, Lori (Melcher) Hunter, was also a setter at NU from 1977-80.
Hunter earned her bachelor’s degree in management and marketing in May 2017. She graduated with her master’s degree in the arts of business administration from Nebraska in December 2019.