By: Adam Tortelli ~Staff Writer~
The newest addition to Xavier’s list of prestigious head coaches received the most important phone call of her brief coaching career this past week.
Just nine days after the resignation of former head coach Mike Johnson, athletic director Gregg Christopher promoted associate head coach Christy Pfeffenberger to head coach of the women’s volleyball team.
Pfeffenberger, a former student-athlete at the University of Dayton from 2000 to 2004, accepted the promotion after a full decade of serving as an assistant.
After graduation, Pfeffenberger became an immediate assistant for the Flyers the following season.
Pfeffenberger then spent the next two seasons assisting Youngstown State and an additional two at Xavier before she earned the honor of associate head coach in 2010.
Despite being given an increased role, the budding coaching prospect took another assistant position at the University of Notre Dame for the next three seasons, from 2011 to 2014.
Pfeffenberger returned to Xavier this past season to reclaim her role as associate head coach.
Amid her three-year stint with the Irish, Pfeffenberger received her second “Thirty under 30” distinction from the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).
The award recognizes the top 30 coaches under 30 years of age at any level of the game—a reward that she also earned in 2009 as a Musketeer assistant.
Pfeffenberger’s presence has become known for producing some of the best performers in the entire country.
She served as a special mentor to two Irish players who were named AVCA All-Americans and also played a large part in Notre Dame landing a top-25 recruiting class.
Bringing in and producing premier talent will certainly be an expectation left to fill after seeing eight AVCA All-Americans make their home in the Cintas Center under the previous regime.
A somewhat surprising resignation by former head coach Mike Johnson came on Jan. 20 when he announced he will be leaving to become an associate head coach at the University of Notre Dame.
This move reunites Johnson with new Irish head coach Jim McLaughlin under whom he worked at the University of Washington in the 2004 season.
Over the last five seasons, Johnson’s squads have averaged over 20 wins per season (12 of which came in conference play alone).
This past season (19-11) was his only campaign to render less than 20 wins and a conference finish outside the top two. He cemented a legacy with three straight A-10 championships before moving to the Big East.
Pfeffenberger is now the 10th head coach in program history.
She faces a tough challenge in taking the reigns of a successful volleyball team and keeping progress on the right track.
As the season approaches, Pfeffenberger will look to get to know her team.
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