| UST Hires Alumna as Volleyball Coach |
When the University of St. Thomas began its athletics program nearly a decade ago, women’s volleyball was the first sport added. Since its introduction the program has seen its share of success and setbacks, most notably the back-to-back conference champions’ titles earned between 2008-2010. Now, alumna Keanne Burt ’10 who was captain of the squad during those formative years will lead a new generation of UST volleyball players to success, this time as a coach.
“I am very excited to welcome Coach Keanne Burt back to the University and the UST athletics department,” said Todd Smith, director of athletics. “Keanne was a terrific player who was a great leader on and off the court. I always thought she would be a really good volleyball coach. It is a compliment to our faculty and coaches to have one of our own alums return to lead a team. When she recruits student athletes for us she will be able to tell them she knows exactly what it takes to succeed as a student athlete at St. Thomas.”
As a Celt, Burt majored in education and earned a minor in history while leading the team to two conference championships. As the team’s libero, Burt was selected first team all-conference and named defensive player of the year for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 seasons. During this time she coached children of all ages for the Texas Thunder Volleyball Club.
After graduation, Burt coached at her high school alma mater where she led the Hargrave High School Lady Falcons volleyball team to two top 10 ranking in Texas 3A play.
During Burt’s time at Hargrave, the Lady Falcons volleyball program had their most successful season in the school’s history, advancing to the regional tournament. Earning a winning record of 52-16 in two years, Burt was named the All-Area and Southeast Texas coach of the year.
As she begins at UST, Burt is looking for athletes who are strong on the court and in the classroom.
“I am looking for well-rounded athletes,” Burt said. “It goes back to that work ethic, and that is important on the court and in the classroom. There are so many life skills and life lessons that you learn from being in sports, especially team sports.”
Burt leapt at the opportunity to return to St. Thomas - coaching at a collegiate level has long been a dream of hers - and is excited to give back to the St. Thomas community.
“I am looking forward to getting pugged back into the University,” Burt said. “There are so many people who are still here from when I was a student and that speaks for itself, that this is a good place to work and that people enjoy what they are doing here.”
Burt is excited to start building the team camaraderie and looks forward to the start of the 2014-2015 season that begins in August.
“I am really excited and eager to start working with the girls and elevate their level of play. That is really the main goal, to keep improving and building on each practice and each game. We would like to see nationals within the next 2 to 3 years.”
The University of St. Thomas competes in the Red River Athletic Conference within the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. During the 2014-2015 season UST will have student athletes competing in men’s and women’s soccer, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s basketball and women’s volleyball.