Position: Associate Head Coach/Recruiting Coordinator • 3rd season
Jackie Simpson-Kirr enters her third season as Clemson Volleyball Associate Head Coach and the team’s recruiting coordinator for the fall of 2019. Clemson Head Coach Michaela Franklin announced the addition of Simpson-Kirr to the team’s staff on April 24, 2017.
“I am thrilled to have Jackie and her family join us at Clemson,” said Franklin. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jackie before, and what I enjoyed and appreciated most about her is that she has an intense work ethic, a passion for success and a creative mind that thinks outside the box.”
“Jackie comes with elite level coaching and playing experience. Being an All-American setter in the Big Ten, I am counting on her to work with our setters and be our offensive coordinator. Most recently, Jackie was a head coach, and during that time I have seen her evolve as a recruiter. She has recruited on a national level and most recently has developed her international recruiting connections. I believe Clemson presents her with the opportunity to develop into one of the best recruiting coordinators in the country.”
Last season, Simpson-Kirr mentored then redshirt-sophomore Brooke Bailey, a transfer from Ohio State, who earned Second Team All-ACC honors after she finished the regular season ranked fifth in kills (3.71/set) against ACC opponents. Additionally, Clemson setter Gabby Easton and right side hitter Solei Thomas were named to the All-ACC Freshman Team. Easton was the top freshman setter in the conference after leading all freshmen in the ACC in assists during the regular season with 1,278 (10.74/set), which also put her at No. 3 overall in the ACC. Her 10.74 assists-per-set average was also good for fifth in the nation among all freshmen and ranked third among Power-5 freshmen. Easton’s 1,278 assists were also the second most by a freshman in program history, a milestone that she reached with two matches remaining in Clemson’s regular season. Thomas ranked second on the team in kills after averaging 2.89 kills per set in 2018. Thomas totaled 17 double-digit kill matches, including a career-best 20 kills against Appalachian State (Sept. 1, 2018). Both Easton and Thomas were named ACC Freshman of the Week on two occasions each. The 2018 ACC postseason awards announcement marked the first time since 2011 Clemson collected three ACC postseason selections.
In the spring of 2018, Clemson’s incoming recruiting class was given the highest honorable mention by PrepVolleyball.com with the signings of current Tigers Bailey, Easton, Thomas, Ashtynne Alberts, Crystal Childs, Katelyn DeGuzman and Ava Pritchard.
Since joining the Tigers’ staff, Simpson-Kirr has lured three Power-5 transfers to Clemson in outside hitters Bailey (Ohio State) and Kaylin Korte (Illinois), and setter Caroline Pearson (Arizona State). In 2017, Simpson-Kirr guided Korte to Second Team All-ACC status, who led the team in kills (3.36/set) and attempts (9.67/set). In the Tigers’ opening match of 2017 – a win over Bethune-Cookman – Simpson-Kirr steered Pearson to tally 57 assists, which was the most by a Tiger and second-most in a four-set match among all ACC players in 2017.
Additionally, Simpson-Kirr aided Korte and Bailey secure spots on USA Volleyball’s Collegiate National Team-Detroit in the spring of 2018. Both Korte and Bailey competed in tryouts in early March of 2018 and were officially named to the roster on April 10, 2018. The duo trained and competed in Michigan from June 20 through July 1 alongside players from every Power-5 conference and top mid-major programs in the country.
Simpson-Kirr was the head coach at George Mason in Fairfax, Virginia from 2015-16. In her first season with the Patriots, she led the team to the best Atlantic-10 finish in program history and its best overall record since 2010. While at the helm of the Patriot program, Simpson-Kirr served on the AVCA All-American Selection Committee in 2016, during which time she was the East Region Committee Chair. She also earned the AVCA’s 30-under-30 Award in 2015, a prestigious national honor awarded to the top 30 volleyball coaches, at any level, under the age of 30.
Prior to her time at George Mason, Simpson-Kirr was an assistant coach at Iowa for the 2014 season, during which time she was on the Hawkeye’s staff with Franklin. She also previously served as an assistant coach at Marquette (2013-14), East Carolina (2010-13) and Winona State in Winona, Minnesota (2008-09).
“I am humbled and honored to become a part of the Clemson Volleyball Family,” said Simpson-Kirr. “There is a special energy when you walk through the Clemson campus. It is one of the most beautiful campuses I have seen, but I could tell from my initial interactions that the people are what makes it exceptional.
“I am beyond excited to work with Michaela again. I believe she is one of the best leaders in our sport. Her vision for a program built upon Championship Behavior is inspiring and I cannot wait to get started helping make that vision a reality.”
Simpson-Kirr was a standout setter at Wisconsin from 2004-07. She led the Badgers to four NCAA Tournament appearances, including two Elite Eight berths. She was a two-time AVCA All-American, and also a two-time All-Big Ten selection, both on the court and in the classroom. She ranks second all-time in Wisconsin program history in career assists, and is 17th all-time among Big Ten setters.
Simpson-Kirr earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Letters & Science – Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008. She earned a Master’s degree in Exercise & Sport Science – Sport Psychology from East Carolina in 2013.
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