* Longest tenured volleyball coach in school history (2002-2011/ten
* 108 coaching wins - 2nd all-time in school history
* Four straight conference tournament appearances from
* 2004 - Western's first trip to conference tournament since
1998 season (third place finish)
* 2005 Mid-Con Coach of the Year - 17 wins highest number since 1996
* 2005 and 2007 - tied a school record with 11 wins during league
* 2006 - Best conference finish in program history (2nd place
- 9-3 record)
* Coached 2006 Mid-Con Player of the Year - Ashley Baker
* Coached 2005 Mid-Con Defensive Player of the Year - Jennifer Alexander
* Coached three Freshman of the Year (Jessica Manning - 2002, Jennifer Alexander - 2003, Sarah Trimpe - 2005)
* Six First Team
* Six Second Team
* Eight All-Freshman Team selections
The longest tenured volleyball coach in school history, Western Illinois head coach Kym McKay completed her tenth season at the helm of the Fighting Leathernecks program in 2011.
During a program record ten seasons at the helm, McKay’s 108 coaching wins are second only to Western Illinois legend Juli Kartel, who led the team to 111 wins between 1986 and 1992.
Early on in the 2011 season, McKay became just the second coach in program history to collect 100 wins with a four-set victory over SIU-Edwardsville on Sept. 3. According to the
American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), she picked up her 200th career victory with a 3-0 win over Savannah State on Sept. 4. Western started the 2011 season with two tournament titles at the SIUE Invitational and Drury Inn/ASICS Challenge.
The Fighting Leathernecks got off to a 7-3 start, which was their best start since the 1993 season. Western Illinois matched 2010's win total after just 13 matches with a four-set home win over Oakland on Sept. 19. With a 3-0 home victory over DePaul on Oct. 18, Western Illinois was at .500 (11-11) after 22 matches for the first time since the 1996 campaign. The Western Illinois defense, led by libero Bridget Murphy, ranked eighth in the nation with 18.56 digs per set.
In 2010, McKay became just the second coach in program history to surpass the 90-win plateau and led a balanced offensive attack that included four players with more than 200 kills - Allison Gilbert (277), Cait Egan (258), Brooke Stittleburg (243), Katie Hosteng (202). McKay and the Fighting Leathernecks began the season with a 5-5 overall record and 2-1 mark in Summit League action following a four-set home victory over defending conference champion IPFW on Sept. 17. Three days later, Western set a program attendance record (1,024) when the Leathernecks played host to Eastern Illinois at Western Hall. The 2010 season also saw senior Ellen Miller conclude her career as the only player
in school history to occupy a place in the "Top 10" of career assists (1,744 - 7th) and
digs (1,133 - 8th).
The 2009 season saw Western improve its record from the previous season with wins over teams from the Big East (DePaul), the Horizon League (Illinois-Chicago), Missouri Valley Conference (Bradley) and the Ohio Valley Conference (SIU-Edwardsville) in addition to coming back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat eventual Summit League Tournament champion IPFW in a five-set thriller.
The 2009 Leathernecks fielded one of the top defenses in The Summit League, producing the fourth-most digs in the conference with 1,895. Four players on the 2009 roster (Ellen Miller, Bridget Murhpy and Lindsay Muehlbauer) recorded 300 or more digs while senior Elise Crnjak posted 288 digs. Under McKay, Crnjak compiled 1,548 career digs, which ranks as the third-highest career total in school history. The 2009 season also saw senior Erin Frick finish her career with 281 block assists (tied for fourth-most in school history) and 317 total blocks (tied for fifth-most in school history).
McKay also coached several players into Western’s record books during the 2008 season. Senior Sarah Trimpe dished up 1,075 assists in 2008 to finish her career with 4,150, which is more than any player in Leatherneck history. Monique Houston also reached a Fighting Leathernecks milestone by posting 295 kills to become the eighth player to enter the 1,000 kills club with 1,114 career kills.
In 2007 McKay guided the team to its fourth straight conference tournament appearance as a member of The Summit League. The Westerwinds tied a school record with 11 wins during league play, including the first sweep of rival Oral Roberts during the regular season. Western finished the year 7-4 in Macomb, including key five-game victories over Oral Roberts and North Dakota State.
McKay saw two members of the 2007 squad earn Summit League honors as senior Ashley Baker was named to the first team for the third consecutive season. Junior Monique Houston also garnered her second league honor as a member of the second team.
In 2006 McKay guided the squad to the best conference finish in program history. The Westerwinds finished with a 9-3 Mid-Continent Conference record, taking the two-seed in the conference tournament. The team also compiled a 9-1 mark at home, with dramatic five-game wins over Valparaiso in its final trip to Macomb, Ill., and 2006 conference champion Oral Roberts.
Also in 2006, McKay saw Jennifer Alexander, a libero from her first recruiting class, break the Mid-Con record for career digs, and end her tenure at Western in fourth place in the NCAA record book for digs in a career (2,343) and second in NCAA career digs per game (5.40).
Adding to the record-breaking 2006 season, McKay coached Baker to the Mid-Con co-Player of the Year Award, the first in Western history. Other award winners included Alexander on the first team, Patty Melinauskas on the conference’s second team, and Erin Frick, who became McKay’s eighth all-freshman team honoree.
McKay won the 2005 Mid-Con Coach of the Year award after she led her 2005 squad to 11 Mid-Con victories, the most conference wins the program has ever achieved. The team won a total of 17 matches, the highest number since 1996. She also coached the then-Westerwinds through a seven-match winning streak, which ties the second longest run of victories in Western Illinois history. The conference wins netted the Westerwinds their second consecutive berth to the Mid-Con Tournament.
Under McKay’s tutelage, players garnered numerous conference awards in 2005. Jennifer Alexander earned the Mid-Con’s co-Defensive Player of the Year award, while Sarah Trimpe was named Mid-Con Freshman of the Year, becoming the third McKay recruit to win the award in four years. Jenna Yurs and Ashley Baker garnered All-Mid-Con First Team honors, while Jennifer Alexander was named to the second team. Alexander also broke through the career digs record at Western on McKay’s watch.
The nine Mid-Con wins McKay captured in 2004 is the third-highest total in Western Illinois history, and her 13 overall wins in the season were the most since 1996. With the third place finish, McKay and company exceeded the preseason Mid-Con poll ranking of fourth and advanced to the 2004 Mid-Con Tournament for the first time since 1998.
Utilizing McKay’s defensive strategy, Alexander broke Western’s single-season digs record with 663 in 2004, and Yurs improved her solo blocks career record to 114, moving to second in Western’s record book.
In 2003, McKay coached Western’s second-straight Mid-Con Freshman of the Year (Alexander), and helped her squad more than double the wins total from the 2002 season.
In 2002, her first season at the helm, McKay coached the Mid-Con Freshman of the Year (Jessica Manning) and was honored by the American Volleyball Coaches Association for earning her 100th collegiate victory, a 3-1 win against UMKC.
Before coming to Western Illinois, McKay was at Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Ill. She was the women’s athletic coordinator, head volleyball and softball coach, and sports information director. While heading up the JJC volleyball program from 1999-2001, McKay compiled a 98-40 record, won back-to-back conference championships, and placed second at the 2001 NJCAA Division III National Championships. She produced the college’s first NJCAA All-Americans and Academic All-Americans as well as earned the college’s first No. 1 national ranking for a women’s athletic team. McKay’s 2001 squad compiled a 51-8 overall record that included an undefeated conference record. The team was ranked No. 1 in the country for the entire season and McKay was named Coach of the Year by the conference, region and district. She coached four NJCAA All-Americans, two NJCAA Academic All-Americans, 17 all-conference players and 13 all-region players while at Joliet.
McKay was the club director and 17/18’s head coach for Unlimited Volleyball Club in Joliet, Ill., from 1997-2002. In 2001, her 17’s team finished third at the USA Junior Olympic National Championships. The team repeated their third place national finish in 2002 at the 18’s level. During the two seasons, four of McKay’s players earned USA Volleyball All-America honors.
In the summer of 2002, McKay also coached the Great Lakes Region High Performance Youth Team to a first place finish at the Park City Utah Volley Classic.
McKay starred on the University of St. Francis (Ill.) volleyball team from 1992-96 and received
a Bachelor's Degree from St. Francis (Ill.) in 1996. She also earned a Master's degree from Western Illinois in 2008 and is a certified USA Volleyball official and holds a regional certification.