Familiar with the landscape and recruiting in the Southland Conference as well as having a vast knowledge of club team volleyball, Lamar University head coach Alan Edwards announced that Michelle Kuester joined his staff as an assistant coach on May 17, 2016.
Keuster, a standout at New Mexico State, will be in charge of coaching middle blockers as well as recruiting coordinator with the Cardinals.
She spent three seasons as an assistant and head coach in the club circuit, most recently as a head coach and assistant coach for the Oklahoma Edge in Moore, Okla. With the Edge, her primary focus was on the middles and outside hitters. She was also the lead recruiter for the organization, and helped network to provide communication for players to college coaches.
She also had experience in making travel arrangements, scheduling and camps.
Prior to moving to Oklahoma, where she earned her master’s degree at the University of Oklahoma, she was an assistant coach at McNeese State for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. It was there that she helped the Cowgirls to a 10-win turnaround.
At McNeese, she was the recruiting coordinator and led training for middle blockers and outside hitters. With the 10-match turnaround, the Cowgirls made the league tournament for the first time in three seasons. She was also tasked with aiding in academic monitoring and team travel.
In her first season, she worked with middle Courtni Bauer, who was voted as the league’s Newcomer of the Year and honorable mention. That year Bauer averaged 2.00 kills per set and recorded a .304 attack percentage, second highest on the team. She also ranked second in blocks at 0.72 a set, 76 blocks overall.
In 2013, she worked with Malina Sanchez, who was as a second-team All-Southland Conference honoree. She was second in the league in kills at 3.68 per set and led the Cowgirls in digs at 304 and 18 service aces.
The Norfolk, Neb. native played two seasons at New Mexico State and one year at Texas Tech. She started her college career at Iowa Western Community College.
She led IWCC to a 52-4 record in 2008, where they finished fourth in the national at the National Junior College Association National Tournament. That season she totaled 217 blocks, which ranked her in the Top 10 in blocks in a single season. She recorded a .404 hitting percentage and earned the Presidential Scholar Award.
In one season at Texas Tech, Kuester racked up 20 kills in 50 attempts. She started the first 11 matches of the year, but fell to a season-ending shoulder injury. She moved on to play two seasons at New Mexico State and become and all-conference player and the 2011 team captain.
In 2010, she led the team with 127 total blocks and was third on the team with a .275 hitting percentage. Kuester was credited with 158 kills, 374 attempts, four assists, six service aces and 26 digs.
Kuester also has experience in camps. At McNeese, she coordinated summer camps that broke attendance records, and she was a camp coach at Norfolk Catholic High School- her alma mater- and Neligh HS.
Magda Zitek is in her first season as an assistant coach for the Lamar University volleyball program, after a successful playing career at Missouri State Univesity-West Plains and at North Dakota.
At UND she played as a middle hitter, and finished her lone year there with a 1.71 – ranked fifth on the team - kills per set average and a .260 hitting percentage. She finished her senior campaign with a 0.67 blocks average and 16 total.
The Elblag, Poland native also made a stop at Prairie View A&M in 2014, where she played in 20 matches with 27 starts. There she hit at a .250 clip with 228 kills for the season. Recorded nine double-digit kill matches as well as one double-double. There, she recorded 78 total blocks on the year.
At West Plains, she was an all-region performer that took all-tournament honors. She also led her Polish team to a pair of National Championship Tournaments, including a third-place showing as a high schooler.