Trent Kersten was named head coach of Loyola Marymount University’s women’s volleyball team. Kersten, who joined LMU on Jan. 2, 2023, most recently led the San José State women’s volleyball program to three of their most successful seasons.
Kersten takes the helm of a team that is gaining momentum. LMU finished the 2022 season with an 18-10 record and the first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2018. LMU fell Dec. 2, 2022, to No. 10 Oregon in the first round of the tournament in Eugene.
“I am honored to be a part of the LMU volleyball program,” said Kersten. “I’d like to thank President Snyder, Athletics Director Craig Pintens, and Deputy Athletics Director Ashley Armstrong for trusting me to lead LMU volleyball. I’d also like to thank all the people at SJSU who were instrumental in my time there, specifically Jeff Konya, Scott MacDonald, Laura Alexander, Taylor Gregory, Delainey Gregory, and all of the amazing student athletes that I had the opportunity to coach.”
Kersten has already been hard at work, hiring two staff members for the 2023 season. Kolby O’Donnell, who joins LMU as associate head coach, was the assistant coach at Texas A&M University. Prior to A&M, O’Donnell coached at Louisville, where he made an immediate impact by helping the Cardinals double their number of wins from the previous season and guiding them to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship and a return to the NCAA tournament. In 2013 O’Donnell joined UC Santa Barbara coaching staff, serving at the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator for the Gauchos.
Sarah Smevog, who will serve as assistant coach, comes to LMU from San José State, where she played and was coached by Kersten in 2020-22. Smevog was a four-time Mountain West Scholar-Athlete, a three-time Academic All-Mountain West honoree, and an Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar in 2022.
Kersten, a UCLA graduate and one of the rising young coaches in the sport, built San José State into a legitimate contender in the Mountain West during his tenure. The Spartans finished 2021 with a 19-10 overall record and 13-5 in conference. It had been 15 years since a San José State team boasted 19 wins. Prior to his time at San José State, Kersten spent five seasons as a member of the Texas Christian University coaching staff where the team played in the postseason four of the five seasons. As the recruiting coordinator, his 2019 class was ranked fifth in the nation by Volleyball Magazine and sixth in the nation by Prep Volleyball magazine.
“We are excited to add one of the brightest head coaches in the country: Trent Kersten,” said Pintens. “He has excellent volleyball acumen and a tremendous work ethic, always searching for innovation in his coaching. His track record as a recruiter and ability to relate to today’s student-athlete will position us to compete for championships and provide a first-class experience for our volleyball student-athletes.”