North Texas Daily

Former TCU Volleyball assistant returns home to Denton to join the Mean Green

Former TCU Volleyball assistant returns home to Denton to join the Mean Green

Volleyball assistant coach Kaylee Fifer, left, and head coach Andrew Palileo laugh on the North Texas bench against Southern Methodist. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer

Former TCU Volleyball assistant returns home to Denton to join the Mean Green
April 11
13:19 2016

Torie Mosley | Staff Writer

@toriemosley

After a historic season and reaching the semifinals in the Conference USA tournament in November, North Texas Volleyball is looking to improve on its 20-13 record this coming season.

Enter Kaylee Fifer.

Formerly a setter for Denton Guyer High School, Colgate University and a graduate assistant at Texas Christian University, Fifer joined the Mean Green coaching staff last month to help the team prepare for the 2016 season. The former Horned Frog said she learned a lot from her time as an assistant at TCU.

“At TCU I learned how to manage a team, how to coach a team [and] how to start a program from the ground up,” Fifer said. “I did all the full game time stats and all the live stats.”

Fifer’s position opened when a North Texas assistant coach left due to a family emergency. Mean Green Volleyball head coach Andrew Palileo said he knew a coach Fifer worked for and heard great things about her coaching ability.

The assistant coach isn’t new to working with different head coaches. Fifer played a role on the TCU staff that coached the Horned Frogs to the NCAA tournament with a new coach last fall.

“It was exciting,” Fifer said. “They got a new coaching staff, so we just started from scratch and they learned a whole bunch of new systems, offense [and] defense. And it really sparked them, and they came together as a team and pulled it out.”

Volleyball assistant coach Kaylee Fifer poses for a portrait. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

Volleyball assistant coach Kaylee Fifer poses for a portrait. Colin Mitchell | Senior Staff Photographer

At first, Palileo said he didn’t want to say anything about Fifer because she hadn’t done anything during the season to talk about yet. However, after a few seconds, the three-year North Texas head coach acknowledged the newest addition, noting he’s been working with an incomplete coaching staff to start spring workouts.

“It’s great to have a full staff,” Palileo said. “Teaching her everything she needs to know as far as off the court things is going well. On the court, she’s still training and observing our terminology and how we communicate and knowing what we want our players to do.”

Palileo said the addition of an assistant coach who has experienced college volleyball on a high level helps North Texas improve as a team.

“Anytime you can come from a Big XII program and have seen the type of players that we’re trying to play like on that level, it’s great,” Palileo said. “She knows what kind of timing it requires for us to be successful here.”

The sidelines won’t be the only duty Fifer has at North Texas. In addition to teaching Fifer how to execute different coaching styles, Palileo said he wants to include Fifer in on the team’s administrative side.

“I’m going to get her involved with budgeting, scheduling, and team travel,” Palileo said. “She’s actually doing a lot more for us than she did at TCU. Her job is basically to make my job easier.”

Having played at Guyer and Colgate, Fifer said her playing experience will help her connect with the setters on the team more.

“It’s easier to relate to [senior] Amy [Henard], [and sophomores] Kaley [York] and Alex [Janak] since we play the same position,” Fifer said. “I see the little things they can improve on. I can’t wait for the season to start to see them in real game situations and see what they can do.”

Henard said it felt really nice to have a new assistant coach added to the roster, especially one who can relate to her position on the court.

“She definitely brings a new perspective to the team with her being a setter,” Henard said. “She’s helping with my leadership skills, decision-making of the game and how I set up my offense to where I can be most effective as the quarterback of the team.”

With the Mean Green’s all-time kills leader Carnae Dillard graduating this May, Fifer said it’s crucial that North Texas relies on more than one person to run the show next season.

“We have to have three or four attackers all the time,” Fifer said. “It’s going to be a little bit more defense, but it’s going to still be a lot of offense. We’re still trying to manage how we’re going to pick the rotations.”

As spring and summer training prepare the Mean Green for the upcoming season, Fifer said she will instill the same things into the team every day.

“Moving quick and getting in their spots [and resetting are the themes for the spring,” Fifer said. “Just keep it light, have fun, and don’t take it too seriously. This volleyball team’s going to be great.”

Featured Image: Volleyball assistant coach Kaylee Fifer, left,  and head coach Andrew Palileo laugh on the North Texas bench against Southern Methodist. Dylan Nadwodny | Staff Photographer 

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