Mid-Atlantic Christian University made an historic announcement this week with the hiring of Kellie Kessler as the first female head coach in Mustang athletics history. Kessler takes the reins of the volleyball program founded by coach Paul Pipkin, who stepped down at the end of last season.
"We are tremendously excited to welcome Coach Kessler to our campus and our athletic staff," said Athletic Director Neal Alligood. "She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the game as someone who has played and coached for many years. We look forward to Coach Kessler taking the foundation that Coach Pipkin had built with the start of this program and continue moving it forward to even higher levels. Coach Kessler also has a passion for using athletics to grow players spiritually, which fits directly with the DNA of MACU Mustangs athletics."
Kessler has been a successful coach on the high school level for years in the Tidewater Virginia area. She mentored the Beach Breakers homeschool team since 2008, leading them to a second place finish in the Virginia state homeschool tournament this past season. But coaching on the college level, especially at a place like MACU, is a dream come true for the mother of six.
"When I visited the campus, it felt very comfortable," said Kessler. "I like the family atmosphere. The fact that it is a small Christian college is a good fit for me, and it's a blessing that Neal (Alligood) is willing to work with me on my schedule since I still have two kids to homeschool."
Kessler and Alligood both attend Kempsville Christian Church in Virginia Beach. But that was merely coincidental, or providential as the case may be, because Kessler says they did not even know each other.
"A friend of mine told me about the opening at MACU, so I sent off an email to Neal to express my interest. It was after that that we found out we attended the same church! We talked for the first time after church one Sunday, and it went from there."
As she looks forward to the new venture, Kessler says her goals are to get to know the returning players, spread the word about the volleyball Herd through recruiting, and improve on last season's 8-16 record. Alligood said the players are excited, too. "We cannot wait for our recruits to meet her and discover that same appreciation for the quality job she will do leading this program."
Kessler and her husband Barry are natives of Sydney, Ohio but now call the Virginia Beach, VA area home where they have raised and homeschooled their 6 wonderful children.