Nebraska assistant Kayla Banwarth was named Mississippi’s new volleyball coach Saturday.
That makes the former Husker libero the third Nebraska assistant in four years to land a Division I coaching job.
Banwarth joined NU’s staff as an assistant in January 2017, serving as the Huskers’ recruiting coordinator and libero coach for three seasons. She takes over an Ole Miss program that went 14-15 (6-12 SEC) in 2019.
“I’m honored to be chosen as the next head coach for the Ole Miss volleyball program,” Banwarth said in press release. “I look forward to being a part of the Rebel family and am excited to lead the volleyball team as we work to build a tradition of success. I also want to thank Coach (John) Cook, the administration at Nebraska and the whole state and fan base for their support. I wouldn’t have this amazing opportunity if it weren’t for a lot of people who have been there for me throughout my career.”
Banwarth joins Dani Busboom Kelly (Louisville) and Chris Tamas (Illinois) as Husker assistants who have recently taken over Division I programs.
“I am pumped for Kayla and this opportunity for her to lead the Ole Miss program,” Cook said. “In her three years as a coach here, Kayla helped us win a Big Ten championship and an NCAA championship, and she played a huge role in coaching our liberos and helping our six-rotation hitters become great passers. She also did a tremendous job on the recruiting trail.
“Her story of going from a walk-on to a U.S. Olympic team libero is an incredible one, and she will get to build on that legacy at Ole Miss. They are fortunate to land a talented up-and-coming coach like Kayla. We will work quickly to fill her position with the best candidate we can find for Husker volleyball.”
Banwarth completed an illustrious playing career for the Huskers in 2010 before embarking on a pro career in which she won an Olympic bronze medal as well as an FIVB world championship.
After walking on at Nebraska in 2007, Banwarth became the starting libero midway through her freshman season and remained in that role through 2010, receiving All-Big 12 honorable mention as a junior and senior. She led the Huskers to the NCAA semifinals in 2008 and to three Big 12 titles. She was Nebraska’s all-time career leader in digs with 1,706 until 2016.