It’s official. Kansas volleyball associate head coach Laura “Bird” Kuhn is leaving Kansas to become head coach at Texas A & M, the SEC school announced today.
Kuhn, 35, spent seven seasons as an assistant to Kansas head coach Ray Bechard. The AVCA named her Assistant Coach of the Year in 2015, when Kansas made it to the Final Four for the first time in school history.
“When something happens like this, in a way Kansas volleyball should feel really good about it,” Bechard said. “When someone from our program can get a major power-five job, that speaks well of what we’ve got going. Let’s just keep it going.”
Bechard said he sees no reason he won’t have a replacement for Kuhn in place by the time school resumes Jan. 16. He added he already has been flooded with interest from quality applicants.
“It’s been quite interesting, to say the least,” Bechard said. “There is a tremendous amount of interest and enthusiasm for what’s going on here. It’s an opportunity for Bird and it’s an opportunity for us too.”
In a press release, Texas A&M; athletic director Scott Woodward spoke to the qualities that made Kuhn his choice to succeed Laurie Corbelli, who resigned last month after 25 years on the job. Her husband, John Corbelli, was her associate head coach.
“Not only is Bird an exceptional recruiter, but she has an uncanny proven ability to connect with, and develop, student-athletes,” Woodward said. “She brings an energy, intensity, and no-nonsense approach that we are confident will resonate with our current student-athletes and recruits.”
Kuhn received feelers about other schools during her time at KU, but never acted on them.
“When this position opened, I just knew this is where I wanted to be,” Kuhn said. “I am excited for the future of this program and to build on the foundation and tradition already established by the Corbellis. I believe it is possible for this program to have a prominent presence consistently at the national level."
Bechard called the Texas A & M position, “a good job.”
“Oh yeah,” Bechard said when asked if he thinks his former top assistant is ready for it. “You never know if you’re ready to move down about 16 inches from one chair to the next, but she’s had a lot of wonderful coaching experiences in her career to this point. I think she’ll do well.”