Texan Volleyball welcomes new Assistant Coach

Lauren+Kersey+jumping+to+spike+the+volleyball+against+St.+Mary%27s+during+Parent+Weekend%27s+match+up+on+September+21%2C+2019.

The JTAC/ Shelby Smith

Lauren Kersey jumping to spike the volleyball against St. Mary's during Parent Weekend's match up on September 21, 2019.

Tarleton State University is diving into NCAA Division I Level (DI) by joining the WAC Conference. Tarleton and Head Volleyball coach Mary Schindler, have hired Haley Eckerman as the new assistant coach.

Eckerman played DI volleyball at the University of Texas in Austin where she was able to achieve great accomplishments. Tarleton Sports stated that some of her accomplishments were four NCAA Tournament wins, including four straight Sweet 16 showings, winning the 2012 Division I National Championship and then reaching back-to-back Final Fours over the next two seasons. In 2011, she was named the Big XII and AVCA Freshman of the Year, as well as AVCA All-America Second Team. She followed up each of her next three seasons by being named the Big XII Player of the Year and AVCA First Team All-American three times.

After graduating college, Eckerman joined the professional volleyball league where she was able to travel the world. She also co-founded Team Dream, the first All-African American team to compete and win USA Open Nationals.

After four years in the professional league, Eckerman went from playing to coaching the game she loves. Eckerman went back to her high school alma mater Waterloo High School in Waterloo, Iowa, where she was able to take the team where they had never been before.

“The team had never made it past the first round of regionals in over 25+ years and my girls made it to the last round before state and lost to the team that was 3 time defending champs and ended up winning the whole tournament,” Eckerman said.

After a year of coaching high school, Eckerman moved up to an assistant coach in D1 volleyball at Lamar University for the 2019-2020 season.

Coming into her second year of collegiate level coaching, she has accepted the assistant coaching position at Tarleton and is more than excited to be here.

“Tarleton has been a great program at the Division II level, and I want to help them be just as successful at the Division I Level,” Eckerman said. “I’m most excited about being a Texan. I love how supportive the community is.”

With years of experience of playing at a higher level, Eckerman is excited about bringing new things to the team.

“The biggest thing I think I bring is knowledge. I’ve played at the highest level of Division I volleyball,” Eckerman said. “I have won a national championship, was a part of two Final Fours and one Elite 8 my four years of college. I then went on to play in 5 countries (South Korea, Azerbaijan, Italy, Puerto Rico, Russia).”

Eckerman is excited to get started and is looking forward to the 2020-2021 season.

“I’m most looking forward to creating a relationship with every girl! Coaching is not all about the sport it’s about helping these young girls grow into amazing women,” Eckerman said. “I’ve been trying to get to know the girls as much as I can through Zoom, text messages etc.”

As an assistant coach, Eckerman gets to coach alongside Schindler and is ready to do so.

“I’m so excited to be working with Mary, she’s energetic and loves the game,” Eckerman said.

Eckerman is using her knowledge to challenge and focus on certain players.

“I will most likely be focusing more on the outside hitters,” Eckerman said. “Challenging them to work on new shot selections, the areas of the court they are hitting and learning to manage their swings on sets that aren’t always perfect.”

For the 2020-2021 season coming up, Eckerman has goals for the team as they transition to Division I and join the WAC Conference.

“It is going to be a new challenge for everyone,” Eckerman said. “We will have an intense travel schedule once the season starts so the biggest thing is getting everyone adjusted to coming off a plane and being as close to 100% ready after traveling. Also adjusting to school and life with our schedule.”

With years of experience playing the game and two years of coaching under her belt Eckerman is ready and excited to be joining the Tarleton Texan family.