MARSHALL, Texas – Moving from one winning program to another, Keely Peterson has been named the new head coach for the East Texas Baptist University volleyball team. Peterson, who is an ETBU alumnae, has led the Gilmer High School volleyball program the past four years turning them into a district power resulting in a co-district championship in 2015.
“We are honored to have Coach Peterson lead our Lady Tiger volleyball program into the future. The University Family is delighted to welcome Keely back home to the Hill. What a great opportunity for our players to have a seasoned and successful Tiger Alumnae,” says ETBU President Dr. J. Blair Blackburn. “Coach Peterson runs a disciplined program with a spirit of intensity and competitiveness that will drive our players to be successful on and off the court. I understand that and have tremendous respect for her, which results in unity of spirit and a desire to play hard for Keely and each other.”
Peterson, a 2011 graduate of ETBU, started her coaching career right after graduating under one of the best NCAA Division III coaches in Janae Shirley. She coached one year at ETBU for Shirley in the softball program before being named the head coach at Gilmer High School. Under Shirley, she learned to recruit top student-athletes that helped ETBU continue to keep their nationally recognized program at the top level in NCAA Division III.
“We are excited about Keely Peterson coming back to East Texas Baptist University to become our head volleyball coach,” says ETBU Director of Athletics Kent Reeves. “Keely brings a drive, passion, and work ethic which will be instrumental in the success of the program. We are excited about the future of the program.”
Taking what she learned from ETBU and staying in East Texas, Peterson took over a Gilmer High School program that had been struggling in recent years in district play. Four years later, she won 89 matches, never had a losing record in district play, and won a co-district championship.
This past year marked her best season in district play tying Spring Hill High School with the district championship. It also marked the first time in 10 years that Gilmer High School had defeated Spring Hill High School in district play. Gilmer advanced to the 4A Region II District 16 semi-finals in the UIL playoffs which was also a milestone for the program as it had been several years since they had been there.
Coming back to the program where she played collegiately, Peterson was a member of the ETBU volleyball team for three years from 2008-2010. In those three years, ETBU qualified for the ASC Tournament and posted 20+ wins in 2008 and 2009.
On the club level, Peterson has worked with the East Texas Juniors in Longview, Texas, for three years. In summer 2014, she also volunteered at the Champions For Light Volleyball Camp.
“Coach Peterson possesses a passion for service outreach and ministry, specifically to our Marshall community. We rejoice in God's calling Keely to ETBU,” says President Blackburn.
With the combination of knowing what ETBU stands for and having coached in East Texas the past four years, Peterson is ready to step into her first head collegiate coaching position. Having club connections in East Texas and being an alumnae, she brings the experience and knowledge that ETBU needs to continue to keep the program at a top notch level in NCAA Division III and in the American Southwest Conference.
She will start a new coaching chapter in ETBU volleyball on Monday, February 1st.