DURHAM, N.H. - Jill Hirschinger, the University of New Hampshire head volleyball coach, announced on Wednesday that Karolyn Kirby has been named an assistant coach of the UNH women's volleyball program.

Kirby will handle the team's scouting efforts, as well as assisting Coach Hirschinger with practices focusing on the mental aspects of the game. Kirby will also assist Coach Hirschinger with all the day-to-day operations of the Wildcat volleyball program. Kirby brings a wealth of coaching and playing experience to the Wildcat volleyball program after a successful career in beach and indoor volleyball.

She won a gold medal in beach volleyball at the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona, Spain, and played 10 seasons (1989-1998) in the WPVA/AVP. From 1985 to 1987, Kirby played indoor volleyball for Team USA as the starting setter and captained the team in 1987.

Kirby was deemed the "Best Player in the World" by the FIVB for three straight years (1992-1994) and was named Most Valuable Player of the WPVA four times. Kirby retired from professional volleyball in 1998, leaving the game as the all-time winningest player with 64 tournament wins. She was also recently named a "Top Ten Player of the Century" by USA Volleyball. Kirby also earned WPVA "Best Setter" honors in six of her 10 years on the tour.

She most recently coached the Bulgarian National Beach Team for three years (2000-2002) and helped them to a ranking of ninth in the world. In the 2000 Summer Olympic games in Sydney, Australia, Kirby guided the team to a 17th place finish. Kirby also earned a gold medal on the U.S. [indoor] volleyball team at the 1994 Goodwill Games in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Kirby played three seasons (1979-1981) at Utah State and was a two-time All-American (1980 and 1981). Kirby finished her collegiate playing career at the University of Kentucky in 1983 as she was named an All-American for her efforts and was a nominee for the Honda Broderick Award, which is awarded to the most outstanding female collegiate volleyball player in the country. In 1983 while at Kentucky, Kirby was named to the SEC All-Tournament Team and was deemed Most Valuable Player of the SEC Tournament. Kirby also served as a student assistant coach in 1984 at the University of Florida.

Kirby, who was born in Boston, Mass., is a 1979 graduate of Brookline (Mass.) High School, where she was a four-year varsity player as well as a two-year captain. She was the Boston Globe high school Player of the Year in 1979 and led the team to a state championship that same season.

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