By Rand Champion
A&M-Commerce head volleyball coach Craig Case today announced the hiring of Sarah Carthel as the Lions’ assistant coach.
“Sarah is going to be a tremendous asset to our program, athletic department, university, and community,” Case said. “She has a wealth of knowledge both as a player and coach and will no doubt help us continue to raise and meet expectations. She has been in incredibly successful programs (both as player and coach) and we’re excited to be adding a person of her caliber to our sidelines and training environment.”
Carthel brings with her a stellar resume as both a player and as one of the top assistant coaches and recruiters in the nation. She spent the last seven seasons as an assistant at West Texas A&M, helping lead her alma mater to impressive heights. During her stint in Canyon, the Lady Buffs won over 86 percent of their matches, posting a 237-38 record with six 30-win seasons.
With Carthel serving as a major contributor on the staff, West Texas A&M won the Lone Star Conference championship each season to go along with five NCAA regional titles and a national runner-up showing in 2009.
As a player, Carthel enjoyed one of the most outstanding careers in NCAA Division II volleyball history as a student-athlete for West Texas A&M from 1997-1999.
As a freshman, the Amarillo, Texas native earned Big 12 Freshman of the Year honors while at the University of Texas. She then returned to the Texas Panhandle to lead WTAMU to a NCAA Division II national title as a sophomore in 1997.
Carthel was a two-time NCAA Division II Player of the Year for the Lady Buffs, earning the honor as a sophomore in 1997 and as a senior in 1999. A three-time American Volleyball Coaches’ Association all-American selection, Carthel was also a two-time academic all-American pick. She was a three-time all-Region selection and Honda Award finalist for the top NCAA Division II Female Athlete in both 1997 and 1999.
After graduating from WTAMU in 2000, Carthel was a graduate assistant at Metropolitan State University in Denver, Colo., while she played for the United States National team.
She played professionally for the St. Louis Quest in the United States Professional Volleyball League, as well as also playing three seasons in a professional league in Puerto Rico (during the off-season). She also served on the coaching staff at Abilene Christian University from 2002-05.
In August 2005, she was voted to the NCAA Division II All-Time Volleyball team, one of only six players to earn the honor. Carthel was inducted into the WTAMU Hall of Champions in 2007 and in the summer of 2008 she was selected for induction into the Lone Star Conference’s Hall of Honor.
The former Sarah Butler, she is married to A&M-Commerce head football coach Colby Carthel.
With the hiring of Carthel, Case continues his plan of surrounding himself with strong and successful assistant coaches. The influence these assistants have had on the team have helped turn Lion volleyball into a solid program, and it is a tradition Carthel will help elevate to the next level.
“We’ve been blessed the past few years with very strong and dedicated coaches and adding a full-time coaching position for Sarah to that lineage is a great indicator that our program continues to move in the right direction. In addition, I think Sarah is going to be a very powerful role model for the young ladies in our program. A positive role model like her (and our former assistant coaches) is becoming more and more critical these days.”
A&M-Commerce opens up its 2013 season on Friday, September 6, traveling to Arkadelphia, Ark., for the Henderson State Invitational. The Lions’ 2013 home opener will be on Tuesday, September 10 when the Lions host Dallas Baptist at 7 p.m. at the Field House. The first of 11 home matches on the year, the showdown with the Patriots will be the Lions’ Gold-Out game for 2013.