Cougars name Cornett head volleyball coach

COLUMBUS, Ga. – Casey Cornett has been tabbed with the privilege of restoring the Columbus State University volleyball program as athletic director Jay Sparks announced her as the new head coach for the Lady Cougars in a press conference on Thursday afternoon.  Cornett arrives in Columbus after spending the past three seasons as an assistant coach at UNC Charlotte.

"We are excited about the start of women's volleyball, but more excited about a volleyball program led by Casey Cornett," said Sparks.  "She is a student of the game having been mentored by legendary coaches during her coaching and playing career.  Casey is a perfect fit for Columbus State University athletics."

"This is a thrilling time for me and my family," said Cornett. "I am not only excited about this opportunity, but humbled as well to be entrusted to lead this team. I would like to thank Jay Sparks, President Mescon and the entire athletics staff for this wonderful opportunity."

"My coaching philosophy is not just about a win/loss record, even though that is very important. It is also about a bigger picture.  Three things contribute to an overall championship caliber team, athletics, academics and community service.  I expect us to compete for conference and region championships, work hard in the classroom with a goal of having a 3.3 or better GPA and serving the community."

While at UNC Charlotte, Cornett made an immediate impact as she helped recruit and develop a total of five All-Conference players including an All-Freshman and All-Rookie selection. In 2011, Bianca Rouse was a second team Atlantic-10 Conference honoree after leading the team in kills, digs and points per set. The 49ers made the conference tournament in two of her three seasons on the sideline and ranked in the top half of the country in RPI all three seasons.

Cornett was just as important off the court as her teams boasted a 3.4 grade point average in the classroom, the highest amongst all teams at the university. The volleyball program also ranked first amongst all Charlotte programs in community service efforts.

In three years spearheading the 49ers "Dig Pink" Cancer Awareness game, the program was able to raise over $30,000 and set a single-game attendance record in back-to-back games, each year breaking the 1,800 spectator plateau. In her first collegiate season on the sideline in 2008, Cornett helped guide High Point University to a school record 26 wins as they won their first-ever Big South championship. The Panthers sported a 13-3 conference record, the best mark in league action in HPU history as well. She helped tutor two All-Big South selections that season.

Cornett has served as the camp director at UNC Charlotte the past three years while also serving as a lead camp coach and lecturer at several other camps including Wake Forest and the University of North Carolina.

She graduated from Wheeling Jesuit University in 2006 with a Bachelor's Degree in Biology. A four-year starter at middle blocker, Cornett helped the Cardinals amass a 139-32 career mark and an even more impressive record of 58-2 inside the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.  WJU won four conference tournament championships and three regular season championships as they appeared in three NCAA Division II Tournaments.

In 2002, she was named the WVIAC Tournament MVP while she followed that up with a second team All-Conference selection the following season.  In 474 career games, she tallied 1005 kills for a .278 hitting percentage and registered 481 blocks.

The former Casey Harris married her husband Jehkiah on November 27, 2010.  The couple is expecting their first child in August.