Clovis News: Sports

Winter named Sunbirds volleyball coach

Kelly Winter helped Fresno Pacific establish itself as the premier NAIA volleyball program during her four seasons as a standout setter and five years as an assistant coach.

Now, she is in charge of keeping the Sunbirds on top.

Winter was named Thursday to replace Dennis Janzen as head coach, taking over a program that has won four consecutive national championships. Janzen stepped down this month after going 867-168 in 26 seasons to concentrate on his duties as Sunbirds athletic director, including the school's application for NCAA Division II status.

"I am honored to be welcomed into the FPU community that I love and know so well," said Winter, the former Clovis West standout and daughter of Fresno State golf coach Mike Watney. "FPU is a place that is near and dear to my heart. It is a special place that encourages spiritual, intellectual and physical growth of all who are a part of the institution.

"I believe the culture of commitment of Sunbird volleyball is unique and special, and I desire to continue the traditions that have been established and lead the volleyball program into the next era."

Winter, chosen over Fresno City College coach and fellow ex-Sunbirds star Tracy Ainger-Schulte, helped Fresno Pacific reach the NAIA Elite Eight three times and finish as the runner-up once during a playing career from 1997-2000. Then, during two stints as an assistant to Janzen, Winter was a part of teams that won two national titles, placed second once and third twice.

"I am thrilled to be keeping Sunbird volleyball in the family," Janzen said. "FPU volleyball is based on an extremely high level of internal trust, relationship, and commitment that few would understand unless they were a part of it on a daily basis. These core covenants have allowed us to achieve success, on and off the court, at a level that is rarely accomplished. FPU volleyball is in the right hands."

In addition to her five years as a Sunbirds assistant -- where her primary duties included coordination of setting and offense -- Winter was the girls volleyball coach at Clovis East from 2003-05 and a coach and program director for Central Cal Volleyball Club of Clovis from 2000-06.

Winter was inducted into the Fresno Pacific Hall of Fame in 2009, commemorating a career that saw her earn NAIA All-America honors in volleyball three times and once more in track and field for her efforts in the javelin. She is the school's career leader in assists (5,139), she ranked second in career aces (239) and was the 2000 Golden State Athletic Conference Player of the Year.