Katie Schumacher-Cawley Named Next Penn State Women’s Volleyball Coach

Penn State women’s volleyball is officially set to enter a new era now that Katie Schumacher-Cawley is set to take the reins.

Monday morning, Penn State announced it had promoted Schumacher-Cawley from interim head coach to a fully-fledged head coaching position. She’ll succeed longtime leader Russ Rose and serve as just the third head coach in program history.

“Being chosen as the next head coach at my alma mater, Penn State, is a dream come true,” Schumacher-Cawley said in a statement. “The love I have for this storied University, passionate community, and all things Blue and White is unmatched.”

Schumacher-Cawley was a two-time All-American for Penn State and played a key role in delivering the team’s first national title back in 1999. She also played basketball for the Lady Lions from 2001 to 2002.

Schumacher-Cawley returned to Penn State in 2018 as Russ Rose’s top assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. She has nine years of head coaching experience thanks to an eight-year stop at Illinois-Chicago and a single-season stint with Penn.

“Katie’s time as a head coach was filled with success on the court, in the classroom and in the community,” said Sandy Barbour, Penn State’s vice president for intercollegiate athletics. “As an assistant coach with the Nittany Lions the last four seasons, she has demonstrated her commitment to preparing our students for success in all aspects of their lives. During our search process, we were looking for candidates with demonstrated success as a head coach, a commitment to excellence in competition and academics, and character and values that match Penn State’s. We found all of that. The future of Penn State Women’s Volleyball is very bright with Katie at the helm. I’m very excited about what lies ahead for our program and the current and future student who will benefit from Coach Cawley’s leadership and expertise.”

Moving forward, Schumacher-Cawley will likely need to put her recruiting prowess to use to restock her lineup. A handful of Penn State stars entered the transfer portal last month, likely due to Rose’s impending retirement after a historic career. So far, libero Jenna Hampton and outside hitter Annie Cate Fitzpatrick have transferred to South Carolina and Florida, respectively.

Although Schumacher-Cawley is uniquely qualified to lead this program, succeeding Rose will be a tough task. The longtime Nittany Lions coach led Penn State to seven national titles, 17 Big Ten championships, and a 1,330-229 (.853) overall record — easily the most wins and the highest winning percentage of any coach in Penn State history. Additionally, Rose’s wins rank first among all Division I coaches.

“I would like to congratulate Katie on her well-deserved appointment as the head coach at her alma mater,” Rose said in a statement. “Her experience as a student-athlete in both volleyball and basketball at Penn State, as well as her loyal commitment to the program as a staff member, certainly prepared her to lead the Nittany Lions in the future.”

Penn State’s season came to a close in December following an NCAA Tournament loss to Pitt. The Nittany Lions went 21-11 on the season and punched their tickets to their 41st straight postseason bracket — the most of any program.

Penn State won’t take the court again until late August. For now, Schumacher-Cawley says she’s looking forward to beginning a new era at Rec Hall.

“Your unwavering support has allowed me to grow in this game from the first day I picked up a volleyball in Chicago until today, and it has certainly positioned me to achieve this dream and take the next step in my journey,” Schumacher-Cawley said. “To my fellow Penn State Volleyball alumnae who have given their blood, sweat, and even tears to this program, know I am here representing all of you. Our Nittany Lions will continue to make you proud day in and day out. We look forward to welcoming you back here to Rec Hall. We Are!”

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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