The turnover from a tumultuous season 2016 continues as Arizona State volleyball adds career kills leader Macey Gardner to its coaching staff, the program announced Monday.
This move probably won’t come as a huge surprise to many fans, as Gardner had a monumental impact on the volleyball program during her four years in attendance at ASU.
New head coach Sanja Tomasevic announced the move today.
"We are beyond excited to welcome back Sun Devil great Macey Gardner to Arizona State and the Sun Devil volleyball program as a member of our coaching staff," Tomasevic said. "A high character and hard-working individual, Macey personifies the dynamic family and championship oriented culture we are cultivating here at Arizona State. I contend that the wealth of knowledge and experience she brings, as well as her passion for Sun Devil Athletics and this program will play a pivotal role in our development as a championship caliber program."
During her time as a member of the Sun Devils roster, Gardner was by far the best player on the court. Arguably, she is the greatest ASU volleyball player to wear the maroon and gold.
Over the course of four seasons Gardner accumulated 1,882 kills, 11 more than the previous record holder.
She also holds the freshman record for kills in a season, with 577 total kills in 2012.
Unfortunately, the same week she broke the career kills record her senior season would come to an end due to a gruesome knee injury. During the second set of an important match against the Washington Huskies, Gardner landed wrong and tore her ACL and suffered further damage.
In comments made about the move to assistant coach, Gardner referenced some unfinished business as a Sun Devil.
"When the phone rang and Sanja was on the other end of the line, my heart may have skipped a beat," said Gardner. "What a gracious and exciting opportunity this is. To say I have some unfinished business as a Sun Devil would be an epic understatement. My desire is to bring the same effort and passion to Sun Devil volleyball in a coaching capacity that I did as a player. I am excited to work with and learn from Sanja, Carlos (Moreno), Amanda (Burbridge), and the rest of the team. I am well acquainted with the challenges they will face as student-athletes. My heart's desire is to do whatever I can to help prepare them to play this wonderful game of volleyball in the best conference in America. Secondly, I am excited to be a part of working together to find the best girls in the country to come represent Arizona State and this wonderful community in Tempe as we build toward the future."
Burbridge was hired on January 17 by Tomasevic to serve as assistant coach, but Gardner will slide into her spot. Burbridge will remain on staff.
This upcoming season is shaping up to be an intriguing one for the Sun Devils, considering all of the offseason transition. They will look to turn around from a 12-20 season (5-15 in Pac-12) last year.