Carrie Bert took over as EMU's head women’s volleyball coach in February of 2015. Bert has been an assistant the past five years at her alma mater and becomes the 10th head coach in the program’s 46-year history.
In getting her first collegiate head coaching position, Bert has the advantage of knowing the scenery as well as all of the current and incoming players. She said Jeff Tyson, the previous head coach, put a good program in place.
“Coach Tyson identified and developed the defensive strengths of our personnel, so I see no reason to make significant changes to our systems,” Bert explained. “The team became a menace to our competition and was consistently rated among the top of the ODAC defensively. That being said, our program must continue to grow at the net, both in blocking skills and our offensive attack abilities.”
The Royals finished 8-21 last fall, but the team saw a consistent rise in competitiveness and was among the top three in the ODAC in digs per set each season during Tyson’s three-year tenure.
Director of Athletics Dave King said that Bert’s familiarity with the program was just one of the reasons she was the right fit for the position.
“Continuity is an important ingredient in the continued growth of any sports program,” said King, “so I am delighted that Carrie is ready to take on the challenge of a head coaching position after spending five years as an assistant coach or volunteer. Her commitment to EMU, the volleyball program and the student athletes is evidenced by her willingness to get involved as soon as she returned to the Harrisonburg area and continuing through three different head coaches.”
After completing her Royals playing career as a four-year starter with one ODAC Championship, Bert eventually moved to Texas before moving back to Harrisonburg in 2010 when her husband, Daryl, became EMU’s Vice President for Finance. She said that while she enjoyed being an assistant with the Royals, being able to work more closely with young women at an institution that means so much to her is humbling.
“The assistant role was a comfortable fit for me, so I feel like this is an interesting challenge,” said Bert. “The support I’ve gotten from the EMU community as well as current and former players is encouraging and humbling. I am grateful for the education I received at EMU and believe the University continues to graduate servant leaders with the potential to impact local and global communities. I feel lucky to have the opportunity to bring student athletes to this campus.”
After growing up in the Holmes County area of Ohio, Bert (nee Stambaugh) graduated cum laud from EMU in 1997 with a Liberal Arts Elementary Education degree with coaching and music minors. She then completed a Masters of Education at the University of Texas at Austin in 2004.
King said Bert’s history with Eastern Mennonite gives her a unique ability to lead the current players.
“It is always gratifying to see a former player return to the program they were a part of during college and give them the opportunity to coach,” King explained, “and it is rewarding to see a coach’s confidence grow in their own abilities. I'm confident that Carrie is ready to be a head coach. Her work ethic, attention to details and commitment to the growth of the program make her a great fit for this position.”
Bert takes over the program immediately in preparation for the upcoming spring season of practices.
Carrie and Daryl live in Harrisonburg with their three children: Evan, Davis and Maren.