Craig Skinner named AVCA National Coach of the Year

First AVCA National Coach of the Year honor for Skinner


OMAHA, Neb. (UK Athletics) – Kentucky Volleyball head coach Craig Skinner was named the American Volleyball Coaches’ Association’s National Coach of the Year on Thursday.


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Skinner, who is in his 16th season as the head coach at Kentucky, was also named the Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year by the SEC coaches, and the AVCA’s All-Southeast Region Coach of the Year by the head coaches in the AVCA’s Southeast Region.


Since being tabbed Kentucky’s head coach in December 2004, Craig Skinner has rejuvenated the Kentucky volleyball program into national prominence and is the program’s all-time winningest head coach. Skinner has directed the Wildcats to 16 consecutive NCAA Tournaments – a feat only nine other schools in the nation have achieved. That run includes seven Sweet Sixteen appearances since 2009, two Elite Eight appearances and back-to-back-to-back-to-back SEC titles in 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020-21. Furthermore, the Wildcats have captured 17 or more victories in all 16 seasons under Skinner’s direction, including tallying 20 or more wins in 12 of the last 14 seasons.


This season, Skinner guided the Wildcats to a 19-1 overall regular season record, and a fourth-straight SEC Championship, something that has never been done in the history of Kentucky Volleyball. Inside the win streak, UK won 38-straight sets against its opponents and won three matches against top-10 teams.


During his tenure, the Wildcats have amassed 23 All-America first, second or third team distinctions, while UK has hauled in 61 All-Southeastern Conference honors in his 15 seasons – including the 2008, 2018, 2019 and 2020 SEC Player of the Year, 2006, 2016, 2017 and 2018 SEC Freshman of the Year, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020 SEC Libero of the Year and the 2005 SEC Defensive Player of the Year.


Kentucky has qualified for the NCAA National Semifinals for the first time and plays (6) Washington on Thursday night at 7 p.m. ET in the first of two national semifinal matches. The match will air live on ESPN with Paul Sunderland, Salima Rockwell and Holly Rowe on the call from the CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska.


A native of Muncie, Indiana, Skinner is married to former Nebraska assistant women’s soccer coach Megan Bechtold Skinner. The couple has two daughters, Sophie and Isabel and a son, Eli.


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Bryan Kennedy hails from the Bluegrass State. He was born and raised in Owensboro, KY where he graduated from Apollo High School in 2006. Bryan graduated from the University of Kentucky with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and a minor in Spanish in 2010. He also received his master's degree in Sports Media and Branding from Western Kentucky University. While at UK, Bryan was the general manager of the on-campus TV station. He also did sports reporting, anchoring, producing and even the weather for UK Student News Network. While working for UKSNN, he also had the pleasure of covering Coach John Calipari's first press conference when he was introduced as the new head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats; easily one of his favorite moments as a young sports reporter. Before coming to ABC 36, Bryan was a morning anchor and reporter at WXXV News 25, our sister station in Gulfport, MS. He anchored more than four hours of news every day, including morning shows on NBC and Fox. While down south, Bryan had the opportunity to cover the Sugar Bowl, New Orleans Saints and the New Orleans Pelicans. After spending a little more than two years at WXXV, Bryan is extremely excited to return home. In his spare time, Bryan enjoys playing sports, especially rugby. He also enjoys crossfitting and watching sports (obviously). He's extremely excited to cover Central Kentucky. Feel free to say hello and send story ideas