Nebraska-Kearney head volleyball coach Rick Squiers announced today that Steph Brand has been promoted to the program’s top assistant position. Brand, UNK’s graduate assistant the past two falls, replaces Kaleigh Zoucha who left the Lopers in the spring to be head coach at Division II Valdosta (Ga.) State. “We could not be more pleased about the opportunity to keep Coach Brand on the Loper Volleyball staff. She is a talented young coach and recruiter who can have a great impact on the program in her expanded role. We are very fortunate that the timing worked out for her to stay with the Blue and Gold,” said Squiers.
Last fall, the Lopers went 30-4, reached the NCAA Tournament for a 19th straight year, won the MIAA Tournament title and were MIAA regular season co-champions. Finishing the season ranked ninth nationally, UNK had seven players named all-conference and one earn All-American status. In Brand’s first-year as a grad assistant, UNK went 35-2 and won both the MIAA regular season and tournament titles. The Lopers finished fifth in the final national poll and had three AVCA All-Americans. Before returning to Kearney, Brand was the assistant varsity and head junior varsity volleyball coach at Grand Island Central Catholic.
As a player for the Crusaders, she was a four-year starter and a member of the 2010 Class C-1 state champions that posted a perfect 35-0 record. Brand, who holds holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from UNK in Education, left GICC as the school’s all-time leader in career kills and was named honorary captain of the Omaha World-Herald’s 2010 Class C-1 all-state team. In college, Brand played for four NCAA Tournament teams at Wayne State and UNK. She was a part of three Loper teams that won a combined 90 matches from 2012-2014. A three-time MIAA Academic Honor Roll qualifier, Brand co-captained the 2014 squad that went 27-4 and tied for the MIAA regular season title. UNK begins fall camp in early August.