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NCAA volleyball: Greeny leaves WSU for WVU; Lauenstein, Lovett have new teams

NCAA volleyball: Greeny leaves WSU for WVU; Lauenstein, Lovett have new teams

Jen Greeny celebrates with her Washington State team after beating Washington last month/Ashley Davis photo

We have the first major surprise hire of the NCAA volleyball offseason.

West Virginia announced Wednesday its new coach will be Jen Greeny, the former Washington State star who took her alma mater to national prominence as the head coach the past 13 years.

“We are very excited for a new venture and we will build something great,” Greeny told us.

It comes on the heels of a busy couple of days for the Division I transfer portal. Among the notables, former Nebraska standout Whitney Lauenstein, out of volleyball the past year and who had a baby, going to Texas; and Georgia getting Erykah Lovett, who was third in kills for Tennessee this season.

And the final AVCA top 25 came out after Texas won the NCAA title on Sunday.

Greeny to West Virginia

Jen Greeny grew up in Davenport, Washington, where she was one of the greatest small-school basketball players in state history. Then she played volleyball at Washington State (1995-98), where she became one of the best players in program history. After that, Greeny coached at Lewis-Clark State College in nearby Lewiston, Idaho, before returning to WSU in Pullman. So this will be her first venture outside the Pacific Northwest.

“The athletic director, Wren Baker, just wouldn’t take no for an answer,” Greeny said. “I think that shows their commitment to building a quality program and competing in the Big 12 Conference.”

At WSU, her Cougars went to the last eight NCAA Tournaments and this season finished 26-8, 14-6 in the Pac-12. WSU lost in the third round of the NCAA Tournament to Pittsburgh.

Greeny has an overall record of 347-199, 235-175 at Washington State.

West Virginia finished 9-22 last season, 2-16 in the Big 12. Reed Sunahara resigned after nine seasons.

Washington State is, along with Oregon State, left in limbo after the imploding of the Pac-12. They are two big programs basically without a conference and Greeny said that weighed heavily in her decision process.

“It’s bittersweet both ways,” Greeny said, “but I feel like we’ve done all we can do here. We definitely left it better than we found it.”

Greeny’s husband, Burdette, her associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, will join her in West Virginia. Greeny said she didn’t know if former WSU teammate and assistant coach Shannon Hunt, who has been at Greeny’s side throughout, will…

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