Mull Stepping Down As Hilltopper Head Coach
WEST LIBERTY, W.Va. – Kayla Mull, the winningest volleyball coach in West Liberty University history, announced Thursday that she is stepping down after a highly-successful run on the hilltop.
Mull executed an impressive turnaround after taking over a struggling Hilltopper program in 2012 and departs as the winningest coach in WLU history with a 136-125 (.521) record over her eight seasons. Her tenure was highlighted by three straight 20-win seasons from 2016-18 along with runner-up MEC regular-season and tournament finishes and the first NCAA Division II regional ranking in school history.
The Slippery Rock (Pa.) alum, who gained national recognition in 2018 as the only NCAA Division II head coach named to the prestigious AVCA “30 Under 30” honor roll, said her decision to step down was family based.
“Without a doubt, this was one of the most difficult decisions of my life,” Mull said, “but my priorities have changed. My husband and I are trying to start a family and I realized that needed to be my highest priority right now. With that in mind, I didn’t think it would be fair to ask my players to be 100 percent focused on volleyball if I couldn’t be 100 percent focused on them.”
Mull not only recruited and coached several record-setting All-Conference and All-Region standouts but her Lady Hilltopper program was every bit as successful in the classroom as it was on the court.
The Black and Gold recently earned an AVCA Team Academic Award for the sixth consecutive year, posting a combined 3.76 GPA in the fall semester and following that up with a 3.77 team GPA in the spring despite being forced to switch to online learning at mid-semester due to the pandemic.
“I’m so proud of the young ladies I’ve been fortunate to work with over the years,” Mull said. “They set extremely high standards for themselves and had the work ethic and determination to follow through and make it happen. It was a privilege to be their coach.
“In addition, I’m extremely grateful to have been given this opportunity at such a young age. From the players, the coaches, the incredibly supportive administration, West Liberty is a special place filled with very special people. That’s why this was such a hard decision. I told this year’s team I am still looking forward to watching them succeed; I’m just changing roles from their head coach to their No. 1 fan.”
West Liberty athletic director Lynn Ullom congratulated Mull on her contributions to the program and the university.
“We are deeply appreciative of Kayla’s hard work and dedication,” Ullom said. “She recruited quality student-athletes year in and year out who represented West Liberty extremely well on the court and in the classroom and they competed for championships, which is the goal of every Hilltopper program.
“The mark of a quality coach is leaving a program in better condition than they found it and thanks to Kayla, our next coach inherits a program poised to break through to the next level. We wish Kayla and her family nothing but the best. She will always be part of the West Liberty family.”
Ullom said the search for WLU’s next head volleyball coach will begin immediately.