Head coach Bonnie Kenny entered her 15th season at the helm of the University of Delaware volleyball program in 2016.
Both Kenny and Associate Head Coach Cindy Gregory were relieved of their coaching duties on Oct. 16, 2016 after being placed on leave a week earlier.
“A change in the leadership of our volleyball program was appropriate at this time,” said University of Delaware Director of Athletics and Recreation Services Chrissi Rawak in making the announcement. “Our full support will go toward our student-athletes and coaches both on and off the court as they look to finish the season on a high note. We want to thank Bonnie and Cindy for their many years of service and wish them all the best.”
Just the fifth coach in the 45-year history of the Blue Hens, she posted a record of 253-199 record since arriving in Newark and reached the 200-win milestone on Oct. 5, 2012 at UNCW.
Kenny took over a program that had suffered through four straight losing seasons before she was named the head coach on Feb. 7, 2002. Since then, she helped turn the team into one of the most successful in the region.
During her 15 seasons in Newark, Kenny led the team to a share of five Colonial Athletic Association titles, four CAA Tournament crowns, and four trips to the NCAA Tournament.
She was named the CAA Coach of the Year four times and led the team to the CAA Tournament 10 times. In that time, a total of 32 UD student-athletes were named all-conference, 19 were named to the CAA All-Tournament team, four earned All-American honors, eight earned all-region honors, nine were named CAA Player of the Year, and six earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors.
From 2007 through 2011, the Blue Hens captured a share of five straight CAA regular season titles, won CAA Tournament championships four times, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. The Blue Hens won first round NCAA matches in both 2007 - a first in UD history - and 2011.
On October 8, 2010, Kenny became the 28th active NCAA Division I head coach to reach the 500-win plateau with a 3-0 victory over VCU on Viera Court. She was honored at the 2010 Jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon in Kansas City, Mo., on Dec. 16 as part of the 2010 AVCA Annual Convention.
In 2007, Kenny helped guide the team to heights never reached before in Delaware history. Following a regular season that saw the team capture three tournament championships and post a 12-2 record during conference action, the Blue Hens saved their finest performance for the postseason.
Prior to the CAA Championship, Kenny was named the conference Coach of the Year for the second time in her career. Boasting the CAA’s top coach along with the Player, Setter, and Defensive Specialist of the Year, Delaware entered the conference championship as the No. 1 seed. Following a semifinal victory over James Madison, the Blue Hens squared off with the defending champion Hofstra Pride in the title bout.
Before a capacity crowd at Viera Court, Delaware defeated Hofstra, 3-1, to capture its first CAA crown. With the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament in hand, the Blue Hens headed to Queens, N.Y. for opening round action.
In its first round match against Princeton, Delaware posted the conference’s fourth NCAA Tournament victory after downing the Tigers, 3-1. The following night, although the team fell to 18th ranked St. John’s, 3-1, the Hens became the first team from the CAA to win a game in the second round without the benefit of a first round bye.
In 2008, she continued to build upon the Blue Hens’ recent success, completing a great coaching job to lead Delaware to its second straight title. Despite losing the reigning Player and Setter of the Year to graduation and All-CAA performer Kelly Gibson to a season-ending injury in the first match of the year, Kenny led the team on an incredible late-season run that culminated with the conference championship.
Before the tournament got under way, Kenny was honored for her coaching successes, garnering the league’s Co-Coach of the Year award. She immediately proved why she deserved the honor, helping the No. 3 seed Hens down Towson, 3-1, in the first-round before upsetting the second-seeded VCU Rams, 3-1, in the semifinals.
The following night, Delaware took on Northeastern, the host and No. 1 seed. In a grueling five-set bout, the Blue Hens prevailed, becoming the first team to win consecutive titles since George Mason won back-to-back crowns in 2002 and 2003.
After falling in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2008, Kenny helped guide an experienced Delaware team to its second regular season title in three years after finishing tied atop the CAA standings with VCU in 2009. Along with a strong showing in conference action, Delaware also had a memorable night against North Carolina when the team topped the Tar Heels in a thrilling five-set match at the Bob Carpenter Center in front of a record crowd of 2,517.
Highlighted by victories over UNC as well as a slew of Big East schools, Delaware eventually finished the year ranked fifth in the East Region and 43rd in the nation. It marked the highest national finish by a team from the CAA in four years.
The 2010 season marked another championship campaign as Kenny led the squad to a 26-6 overall record, finishing with a program best conference record of 13-1 to earn the number one seed in the tournament, and home court advantage. The Blue Hens would use that advantage through the weekend tournament, surging from a 2-1 deficit to take the 2010 crown from #3 seed Northeastern, 3-2, in front of a sellout crowd on Viera Court.
Kenny was honored with her fourth CAA Coach of the Year award (Co-Coach in 2010) and also coached the Setter of the Year, the Defensive Specialist of the Year and saw three of her players named to the CAA first team that season.
Delaware went on to draw Virginia Tech in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, held in University Park, Pa, and dropped the opening round matchup 3-0 to the Hokies.
The 2010 season was highlighted by an undefeated home record, stretching their streak to 17 straight wins on Viera Court, good enough for 11th longest in the nation to end the season. The Blue Hens captured the Delaware Invitational while also taking second at the Notre Dame/adidas Invitational, defeating the host Fighting Irish as well as Santa Clara.
In 2011 the Blue Hens enjoyed another outstanding season, posting a 23-11 record, winning both the CAA regular season and tournament titles, and advancing to the NCAA Tournament where they downed American in the first round before falling to host Penn State in the second round.
Delaware became the first CAA team to capture a share of five straight league titles since George Mason (1992-96) and just narrowly missed making it six straight in 2012 before falling in five sets to Hofstra in the CAA Tournament title game.
During her inaugural campaign in 2002, Kenny inherited a young team that featured nine freshmen and sophomores. Following a regular season that saw the team go 9-20, including 6-10 in the CAA, the Blue Hens earned the No. 6 seed in the conference tournament before bowing out to No. 3 James Madison in the quarterfinals.
In Kenny’s second season in 2003, the Blue Hens improved with a record of 11-17 and placed fifth in the CAA standings with a 5-9 mark, just missing a berth in the four-team CAA playoffs.
Things came together in 2004 as Kenny led a talented squad to a record of 23-9 - the most wins by Delaware since 1997 - and a third-place finish in the CAA regular season standings with a 9-5 mark. The Hens upended No. 2 seed Hofstra, 3-0, in the semifinals before falling to host and No. 1 seed Towson, 3-0, in the title match. During the regular season, the team reeled off 15 wins in 16 matches after starting the season 0-2 and also posted Tournament titles in the Delaware and Rider Invitationals.
For the incredible turnaround, Kenny was honored as the 2004 CAA Co-Coach of the Year.
After posting an 11-20 record and missing out on the CAA Tournament in 2005, Kenny helped turn things around again for the Blue Hens in 2006. Delaware posted a 21-7 record, placed fifth in the CAA regular season standings with an 11-7 mark, and advanced to the CAA Tournament semifinals before falling to host and eventual champion Hofstra.
Over her 15 seasons as head coach at Delaware, Kenny joined legendary coach Barb Viera as the only coaches to win 100 matches after notching the milestone victory against James Madison in 2007. Prior to coaching the Blue Hens, she also reached the 100-win plateau at the University of South Carolina and the University of Massachusetts.
While in Newark, Kenny has also made a concerted effort to recruit standout students as well as athletes. During her tenure, numerous team members were named to the CAA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll and six earned CoSIDA District 2 All-Academic honors. During the 2011-12 academic year, the UD volleyball team posted the highest cumulative grade point average among all 21 Blue Hen athletics teams.
Before arriving at Delaware, Kenny served as head coach at South Carolina and Massachusetts for the previous 18 seasons. Just a few months after graduating from the University of Tennessee, Kenny was named head coach of the Gamecocks in 1984. During her first season, she led the team to a 28-8 record and a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
Following eight more seasons in Columbia, S.C. during which she won 171 matches, Kenny moved on to the University of Massachusetts in 1993. She led UMass to three 20-win seasons, four semifinal appearances at the Atlantic 10 Championship, and two trips to the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (NIVC). The NIVC appearances marked the school’s first postseason bids since 1980.
During the 1996 campaign, just her fourth with UMass, she led the squad to a 28-9 record, including a 15-5 mark in conference action. For her efforts, she was honored as the Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year.
Kenny built a tradition of success at UMass by recruiting athletes who excelled on the volleyball court and in the classroom. She coached 11 A-10 all-conference selections and three A-10 all-championship picks in her nine seasons with the Minutewomen. In 1996, Dionne Nash garnered conference Player of the Year honors.
Academically, the Minutewomen also excelled as seven players received American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-District acclaim and three players were named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District team under Kenny’s tutelage. In 2000, Jill Meyers received the distinguished Woody Hayes National Leadership Award.
During her 33 years as a head coach, Kenny has posted a 593-451 record for a .568 winning percentage. She entered the 2015 season ranked 21st among active NCAA Division I head coaches in victories.
Off the court, Kenny has continually given back to the sport of volleyball. In September 2004, she was selected as the President-Elect of the American Volleyball Coaches Association. She held the position through the 2006-07 season.
Prior to being elected the President, she served as the Chair for both the AVCA All-America and New England Region Awards Committees during the 2003-04 season. She also has been active on the national and international scene, serving on the Olympic Festival Selection Committee and working as supervisor of venue operations for volleyball at the U.S. Olympic Festival in 1989.
In the fall of 2006, Kenny and associate head coach Cindy Gregory co-authored an instructional book “Volleyball: Steps to Success” published by Human Kinetics Publishers. The 192-page book is part of the popular Steps to Success Sports Series which has sold over 1.5 million copies. The book was designed to help players and coaches master the essentials of the game and offer a comprehensive, progressive approach with a proven system for learning and expert instruction.
A native of Meriden, Conn. where she led her Maloney High School team to four state championships, Kenny was inducted into the Connecticut Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2000. While at Maloney, she earned the prestigious Guiffrida Award, given to the most outstanding female athlete in the state of Connecticut. She was inducted into Maloney High School’s Hall of Fame in 2004.
Kenny was a four-time volleyball letterwinner at Tennessee, leading the Lady Volunteers to two SEC championships, three NCAA Tournaments, and a four-year record of 137-56. A three-time team captain, she earned Academic All-America and All-SEC honors in 1983. Kenny was also named to the Dean’s List for seven quarters and was a Tennessee scholar-athlete from 1980 to 1983. She was inducted into the University of Tennessee Athletics Hall of Fame in September, 2006.
Bonnie Kenny Year by Year Head Coaching Record
|1984||South Carolina||28-8||-||NCAA Tournament|
|1994||Massachusetts||27-8||10-4 (3rd)||NIVC Tournament|
|1996||Massachusetts||28-9||15-5 (4th)||NIVC Tournament|
|2002||Delaware||9-20||6-10 (6th)||CAA Quarterfinals|
|2004||Delaware||23-9||9-5 (3rd)||CAA Runner-Up|
|2006||Delaware||21-9||11-7 (5th)||CAA Semifinals|
|2007||Delaware||31-5||12-2 (1st)||CAA Champions
NCAA Tournament 2nd round
|2008||Delaware||19-16||9-5 (3rd)||CAA Champions
|2009||Delaware||21-8||12-2 (1st)||CAA Semifinals|
|2010||Delaware||26-6||13-1 (1st)||CAA Champions
|2011||Delaware||21-13||11-3 (1st)||CAA Champions
NCAA Tournament 2nd round
|2012||Delaware||16-14||9-3 (2nd)||CAA Runner-Up|
|2014||Delaware||15-17||8-8 (T-5th)||CAA Quarterfinals|
|2016||Delaware||6-11||0-4||Dismissed Oct. 7
|Totals||USC (9 yrs.)||171-137 (.555)||-|
|Totals||UMass (9 yrs.)||169-115 (.595)||93-64 (.592)||-|
|Totals||UD (15 yrs.)||253-199 (.560)||119-93 (.561)||-|
|Totals||33 Years||593-451 (.568)||214-159 (.574)||-|