LAKELAND, FL - Florida Southern College director of athletics Pete Meyer has announced that current Moccasin volleyball associate head coach Chris Keen has been promoted to head coach. The announcement was made on Tuesday, following Jill Stephens' announcement that she would step down from coaching to become a full-time administrator in the athletic department.
"We look forward to having Chris lead our volleyball program," said director of athletics, Pete Meyer. "He has proven that he can recruit quality student-athletes and has the respect of everyone in the athletics department and the volleyball community. His leadership will continue to build on the impressive legacy of the program following Lois Webb and Jill Stephens."
Keen, who recently completed his fifth season at Florida Southern, joined the Moccasins in 2013 as an assistant coach and was promoted to associate head coach a year later.
"I would like to thank Pete Meyer and Florida Southern College for this opportunity," said Keen. "Florida Southern volleyball has a rich history and tradition of excellence that has spanned over many decades. I am honored to have the opportunity to lead such a storied program."
During his tenure with the Moccasins, Keen has helped coach 10 AVCA all-Americans, 12 AVCA all-South Region players, and 15 all-Sunshine State Conference performers. He was also a part of one of the most prolific runs in program history when Florida Southern won 23-straight matches en route to an NCAA Division II national runner-up finish in 2017.
"I look forward to working with our entire athletic department and our hard working student-athletes, as they continue to be an integral part of the program's success," said Keen. "We are heading into the offseason following a historic run to the National Championship match last fall. We will certainly take some of the pieces from last season as we build our vision for the next. I am excited to work with all branches of the volleyball program and FSC Athletics to lead us toward a bright future."
Keen took over the reigns as offensive coordinator following the 2016 campaign and helped the Moccasins finish as the SSC leader in kills per set (14.29), hitting percentage (.269), and opponent blocks per set (1.37).
Under his direction, Florida Southern's offense ranked among the top 50 nationally in six different major offensive categories, including ninth in hitting percentage. In addition, Nicole Mattson and Anna Tovo earned all-America honors after ranking in the top 50 in the nation in total kills and kills per set. Additionally, Bethany Besancenez led the conference and ranked seventh nationally in assists per set (11.35) and was third in the nation in total assists (1,588). The Mocs led the SSC and finished in the top 25 nationally in both categories.
"I'm thrilled that Chris is the one to carry on the tradition of excellence that Florida Southern volleyball has been known for over the past 42 years," said former head coach Jill Stephens, who announced her retirement from coaching earlier this week."
"His creativity, vision and ability to implement unique strategies and team concepts have had a huge impact on our success in his five seasons with the program. However, it is his "student-athlete first" mentality and his commitment to greatness which give me the utmost confidence in Chris' ability to lead this program into the future."
The 2017 squad improved its kills by better than a kill per set, hit 41 points higher (.266), and committed 49 less attack errors than it did the previous year. His efforts helped propel him to the AVCA National Assistant Coach of the Year Award.
"It has been an absolute pleasure to work alongside Jill Stephens for the past five years," said Keen. "I would like to thank her for her incredible mentorship since I arrived at Florida Southern. Jill has taken this program to new heights and leaves behind a great coaching legacy. The entire athletic department and all student-athletes will now reap the benefits of Jill in her new role with FSC Athletics. She will make a huge impact."
Keen came to Florida Southern in 2013 after two seasons as an assistant coach at Nova Southeastern. He also coached at the University of Florida for three seasons, and made coaching stops at Georgia Southern and the University of Georgia.
A 2005 graduate of the University of Findlay, Keen was a three-year letterwinner for the Oilers where he set a single-season school record with 1,376 assists in 2005. He also played professional beach volleyball on the AVP Qualifying Tour.
He and his wife, Stephanie, reside in Lakeland with their daughter, Demery.