Dani Busboom Kelly, a former University of Louisville assistant coach who won national titles as a player and assistant coach at Nebraska, has been named as the Cardinals’ head volleyball coach. UofL Vice President and Director of Athletics made the announcement on Sunday.
“We are thrilled to have Dani guiding our volleyball program,” said Jurich. “I was so impressed with her in the one year that she was here on (former UofL coach) Anne Kordes’ staff and I have followed her career closely since then. (Nebraska head coach) John Cook is someone who I really respect and tried to hire while I was at Colorado State. He and many others have provided rave reviews about Dani and I am confident she will be successful here. Everyone I spoke with around the nation has told me she is among the very best in the nation as a recruiter. We will aid her in assembling a terrific staff around her and provide the support she needs for us to succeed on a national stage.”
Since her arrival at Nebraska in 2012, over the last five seasons the Huskers have achieved a combined 134-30 record, reached four NCAA Regional finals and won the 2015 NCAA National Championship at the CenturyLink Center in Omaha, the same facility where she won the national title as a player for the Huskers in 2006.
The current Nebraska team finished the regular season with a 27-2 overall record, won the Big Ten Conference Championship and is the nation’s No. 1-ranked team. Their NCAA Tournament seeding will be determined tonight at 9 p.m. ET with the NCAA Volleyball Selection Show airing on ESPNU.
During her one season at Louisville in 2011, Busboom Kelly helped the Cardinals to a 24-9 record including a trip to the semifinals of the Big East Conference Tournament with the Cardinals advancing to the second round of the NCAA. Prior to her time at Louisville, Busboom Kelly was an assistant coach at Tennessee from 2009 to 2011. While working with the Volunteers, she guided the team’s setters, coordinated travel and equipment needs and ran the school’s volleyball camps.
“I am incredibly humbled to be named the next head coach at Louisville volleyball as I’ve always considered Louisville one of the top athletic departments in the country,” said Busboom Kelly. “I can’t thank President Neville Pinto, Tom Jurich, and Christine Herring enough for having the confidence in me to lead an already tradition-rich program. Five years ago Louisville became my second home and knowing Tom Jurich’s commitment to his programs made this opportunity a dream come true.”
Busboom Kelly joined head coach John Cook’s staff in July of 2012 and where she assisted with Nebraska’s setters, liberos and outside hitters, as well as recruiting.
In a storied program at Nebraska, Busboom Kelly has coached two AVCA All-Americans and two honorable-mention selections in 2015. Kadie Rolfzen was a first-team AVCA All-American, while libero Justine Wong-Orantes was a third-team selection for the first time, as well as the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. The Huskers’ 2015 recruiting class was ranked fifth in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com. Setter Kelly Hunter and outside hitter Mikaela Foecke earned All-American honorable mention, and Foecke was the NCAA National Championship most outstanding player, just the third freshman in NCAA Division I Volleyball history to earn the honor. In 2015, Nebraska setter Kelly Hunter was third in the nation in assists while Justine Wong-Orantes was second in the Big Ten in digs per set and moved to No. 4 in school history in career digs.
Busboom Kelly has also helped oversee implementation of the Huskers’ beach volleyball program. After starting the program in 2013, the Huskers turned a 7-7 dual record through the first two seasons into a 6-2 record in 2015. Both losses in 2015 came to the nation’s top-two teams.
In 2014 on the court, the Huskers reached their third straight regional final with the youngest team in school history and while playing the second-toughest schedule in the nation. With only one senior, NU finished 23-10, upsetting No. 3 Washington in Seattle to advance to the regional final. Senior setter Mary Pollmiller finished her Husker career with AVCA honorable-mention All-America and All-North Region honors, and she was an All-Big Ten honorable-mention pick. Sophomore libero Justine Wong-Orantes recorded a team-high 464 digs on the season and averaged 3.85 digs per set, seventh in the Big Ten. She became the first Husker in school history to lead the team in digs as both a freshman and sophomore.
In 2013, Busboom Kelly helped guide a young Husker squad to a 26-7 record, second-place finish in the Big Ten Conference and a berth in the NCAA Lincoln Regional final. Nebraska opened in a rotation featuring all first-or second-year Huskers in 29 of its 33 matches in 2013. She helped train the Husker defensive specialists and liberos, a group that included three true freshmen, to one of Nebraska’s most successful recent passing and defensive campaigns. Wong-Orantes led the Huskers defensively and tied the single-season school record for digs by a freshman. Busboom Kelly also helped train Pollmiller as Nebraska’s setter in 2013, as Pollmiller guided the Huskers to a successful offensive campaign in her first season as NU’s setter.
Busboom Kelly helped the Huskers to a berth in the NCAA regional finals and a second-place finish in the Big Ten Conference in 2012. The Huskers posted a 26-7 mark while earning their 31st straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. In addition, Lauren Cook, Gina Mancuso and Hannah Werth all earned AVCA All-America honors. The Huskers also posted four All-Big Ten picks and seven academic All-Big Ten accolades.
As an athlete, Busboom Kelly was a captain at Nebraska and moved from setter to libero in 2006 to help Nebraska’s defense and finished her career as one of only two players to rank among NU’s all-time leaders in both digs (1,281, second) and assists (2,873, eighth). She was a four-year starter for Cook, guiding NU to a 124-10 record, the best four-year mark in school history, three Big 12 titles, two NCAA finals appearances and a national title in 2006.
Busboom Kelly was considered the Big 12’s best libero in 2006, as she helped NU limit opponents to a Big 12-low .144 hitting percentage. She set Nebraska’s single-season digs record (580) in her first year as a libero, breaking the previous mark of 480 by Amanda McCormick in 2004. As a senior she reached double figures in digs in 32 of 34 matches, including 21 straight matches with at least 10 digs. She notched her best defensive performance at the NCAA semifinals against UCLA, totaling a career-high 29 digs, which still ranks as the second-best postseason performance in school history.
An outstanding student, Busboom Kelly was a 2006 second-team academic All-District VII selection, while earning six Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll accolades and becoming a three-time first-team academic All-Big 12 honoree. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Nebraska in 2007.
Following her graduation, Busboom Kelly spent time with the U.S. Women’s National Training Team before working as a sales representative for an Omaha insurance company. She coached the Team USA A2 Select team and was a member of the 2007 USA Training Roster, where she played with former UofL standout Sarah Drury Petkovic. She has worked as a sideline reporter for radio broadcasts of Nebraska volleyball matches on the Husker Sports Network and also as an assistant coach with USA Volleyball’s Select A2 Program.
Dani and her husband, former Nebraska football player Lane Kelly were married in the summer of 2010.
About the Cardinals
The Cardinals are coming off a 12-18 season and went 7-13 in the ACC to finish 10th. Louisville has made 25 appearances in NCAA including four Sweet Sixteens. Their last appearance was 2015, when they beat Belmont in the first round but fell to Illinois in Cardinal Arena. In all, UofL has 26 Conference Championships (7 in Metro Conference, 9 in Conference USA, 8 in Big East, 1 in the American Conference (AAC) and 1 in ACC. The Cardinals boasts 16 national team members, nine All-Americans, 15 Conference Tournament MVPs, 10 Conference Players of the Year and 10 Freshmen of the Year. Coach Busboom Kelly will be just the seventh volleyball coach since 1977.
Nancy Allison Worley
Associate Director, Sports Information
University of Louisville Athletics