After 17 years as the volleyball team’s head coach, Jill Stephens announced that she will retire from coaching.
Stephens will continue her roles as Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator at Florida Southern College.
“It was just really hard trying to balance doing both jobs, and doing them well,” Stephens said. “I felt like in order for me to continue to have sanity and enjoy doing both jobs well I had to choose one.”
Following Lois Webb’s footsteps, Stephens took the roles of Assistant Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator three years ago. Stephens also has some experience in administration as the Chair of the Division II Volleyball Committee and always aspired to be involved in the athletic department.
“It has always been something I aspired to do at some point. I didn’t realize it would be this soon in my career but I’m thankful for the opportunity to come up when it did,” Stephens said.
Stephens had many roles in the administration department, working in many different areas along with the jobs that come with being the head coach of the volleyball team.
Stephens explained a lot of her time was spent on working with Title IX lawyers and being a sounding board for the administration. Excited about her new roles including facility usage, Stephens is ready to help student-athletes at FSC.
“My passion has always been student-athletes; that’s why I was coaching so hopefully I will find ways to continue to make an impact on the student-athletes.”
Passion is something senior Sydney Marshall believes is why Stephens was such an inspiring leader.
“The only way to succeed in this sport is to love what you do, and she loved what she did,” Marshall said. “She was an incredible leader and I am so happy to have been apart of the legacy she created.”
Stephens leaves the team in capable hands in the form of former Associate Coach Chris Keen. Keen is in his fifth season at FSC.
Graduating Senior Amanda Park believes Keen’s coaching ability will carry on the winning tradition.
“He’s always been the brain behind our defense, so I have no doubt that he will lead teams to plenty of victories and hopefully to another national tournament,” Park said.
Stephens ended her coaching career on a high note by taking the team to the NCAA National Championship. Although the Mocs lost in the final game, Stephens was proud of what the team accomplished.
“So proud of our team, a special group of young ladies who were just really committed to being the best they can and obviously pretty talented too. “Stephens said. “But our chemistry and our commitment to trying to make great things happen was a big part of why we were successful.”
Stephens’ last season as head coach ended with an incredible 30-7 record and a 23-game win streak.
Keen’s debut as head coach will be on March 2 in St. Petersburg in the Battle on the Bay tournament.