Kelly names new head volleyball coach


USF volleyball has its new leader.

Jolene Shepardson was named head coach of the Bulls on Thursday, Vice President of Athletics Michael Kelly announced.

A native of Tampa, Shepardson (née Patton) helped lead USF to its most recent conference championship during the 2002 season. She ranked second on the team with 416 kills, 35 aces and 377 aces on the way to a second-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament after defeating FSU in straight sets.  Prior to playing her final two collegiate seasons at USF, she was a part of a Division II national championship team at Tampa and was Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior at Tampa Prep.

“I am really excited to have Jolene leading our program and am thrilled to welcome her back to USF and her family to the Bulls family,” Kelly said in a statement. “Not only does she have tremendous ability and a track record of building programs and maximizing student-athletes’ potential, but she has a deep and passionate connection to this university, our volleyball program and the Bay area. We are very excited for the future of USF volleyball.”

Shepardson has nine years of head coaching experience at the college level, including the last six at San Jose State. She turned the Spartans from a four-win team in 2014 into a 17-win program in 2017. Prior to SJSU, Shepardson turned Cal State Bakersfield from a zero-win team to a 21-win team and also launched a beach volleyball program. She takes over a program that won just seven games and lost its last 15 straight in 2019.

“I couldn’t be more grateful for this opportunity to be back in the Bay area leading my alma mater here at USF,” Shepardson said in a statement. “My heart beats with pride for USF. My vision for our program is to attract student-athletes that have a passion for the game and a love for their team.

“I am extremely thankful to Michael Kelly, Lelo Prado and Dr. Jodie Libadisos for this wonderful opportunity, their trust in my leadership and their powerful vision for the future of USF Volleyball.”

Since playing one season professionally for Jakarta Monas in Indonesia’s PT Pro Liga (2004), Shepardson has spent time coaching at Regis University (2004-05), Winthrop University (2005), Front Range Volleyball Club (Colo.) (2006-08) and American University (2009).

Shepardson graduated from USF in 2002 with a degree in psychology and is a National Academy of Sports Medicine certified personal trainer.