Loyola University New Orleans Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Brett Simpson announced last week that Jesse Zabal has been named the head coach for the Wolf Pack volleyball program.
Zabal – a former Maryville College volleyball standout – becomes the sixth head coach in program history, dating back to Loyola's inaugural season in 1994.
"We're excited to have Coach Zabal join the Loyola community," Simpson said. "She has a proven record of success as a student athlete and coach in both the collegiate and club ranks. Jesse impressed us with her commitment to student development both from an athletic and academic standpoint. She will be a great addition to our University."
For Maryville College Head Volleyball Coach Kandis Schram, watching the transformation through Maryville College in Zabal's life has been special.
"Part of what we do, is to hopefully transform lives," she said. "To have a front-row seat and see her transform from an 18-year-old student athlete into an assistant coach, and now, to this dynamic, and now be a head coach in a college program, it's what you dream of for a kid. She is living the dream."
Zabal goes to New Orleans after spending the last four years as a head coach in the Alliance Volleyball Club in Franklin, Tenn. Zabal led Alliance to a 31-7 overall record over the past two years, including two tournament titles. Since 2012, Zabal had 67 student-athletes commit to play college volleyball and secured 22 more commitments through 2019.
Before taking the reins at Alliance, Zabal was an assistant coach at her alma mater Maryville College. In her three seasons with the Scots, she helped the MC to two Great South Athletic Conference Titles (2009, 2011) and two appearances in the NCAA Division III National Tournament.
Zabal's teams featured two GSAC Player of the Year recipients, 12 All-Conference selections, and an impressive 22 All-Academic Team members. Acting as both a second assistant and a top assistant throughout her time at Maryville, Zabal helped lead the Fighting Scots to a 76-26 overall record, highlighted by a 29-win season in 2009-10.
Schram both worked with and coached Zabal at Maryville and credited her as being an integral part of the Fighting Scots success over the years.
"Jesse is a remarkable young woman," Schram commented. "She was always a student of the game who strived to not only do her best but to elevate the play of those she played with. Regardless if it was running an offense, breaking down the defensive scheme or working on team building activities, Jesse was an integral part of our success."
As a player, Zabal was a standout for the Fighting Scots, helping lead the team to a 104-38 overall record throughout her four seasons. Maryville won four GSAC Tournament Championships during her tenure and qualified for the NCAA DIII National Tournament twice. Zabal was a two-time GSAC All-Academic Team selection at Maryville and she finished her career with 424 total kills in 326 sets played.
"I'm so very proud and excited for Jesse in this new adventure," Schram said. "She is a special young woman that is going to do great things. It's going to be fun to watch her take on this new responsibility and take this next step in her career. To know that it started here, it gives me pride."
Zabal graduated from Maryville with a B.A. in Child Development and Learning in 2008 before receiving a master's degree in Human Development and Counseling from Vanderbilt University in May 2015.