WKU Volleyball announces staff changes

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 12:57 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Head volleyball coach Travis Hudson announced the hiring of former Purdue All-American Jena Otec to his coaching staff, while assistant coach Craig Bere is being promoted to associate head coach prior to the 2023 season.

Bere, who has been with the program since 2015, has coached a 225-30 record on The Hill that includes eight consecutive 20-plus win seasons.

In his tenure, the Hilltoppers have won seven regular season titles, six conference tournament titles, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament six times.

“First of all, I want to say thank you to Jessica Lucas for her time on our staff. She has given so much to our program as a player and a coach and we wish her well as she moves into the private sector. Moving forward we are excited with the direction of our staff”, said head coach Travis Hudson. “Craig has been more than worthy of this title as associate head coach for some time and is a respected member of the coaching profession. Jena is an exciting young piece to add to the puzzle. She was a very accomplished defensive player during her playing career and we are excited about what she will bring to our gym. I also think she has the tools necessary to be one of the top young recruiters in the country.”

“I am honored to be a part of a historically success program like Western Kentucky. I am grateful for the opportunity to learn from and work alongside Travis, Craig, and Kristi”, said Otec. “I am eager to get in the gym, get to work with the team, along with getting to know them on and off the court. I hope to share my knowledge, experience, and passion for the game here in Bowling Green”.

Prior to The Hill, Otec was an assistant at Eastern Michigan in 2022. She primarily worked with the Eagles’ liberos and defensive specialists but was involved in training the outside hitter position as well.

She assisted in developing All-MAC First Team honoree, Raeven Chase along with four College Sports Communicators Academic All-District honorees, and eight Academic All-MAC Team members.

While playing collegiately, she spent five years coaching with The Academy Boiler Juniors, a Lafayette, Ind.-club volleyball organization.

She led her teams to numerous championships during her time coaching and has also mentored multiple nationally ranked junior players.

Otec was a nationally recognized defensive specialist at Purdue University.

A five-time letterwinner with the Boilermakers, Otec was twice named an AVCA Honorable Mention All-American (2020, 2021), was a two-time All-Big Ten honoree (2020, 2021), earned Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2020, and was a multiple-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree (2020, 2021).

Additionally, she collected All-American honors from VolleyballMag.com following both the 2020 and 2021 campaigns.

A two-time graduate of Purdue, Otec holds her bachelor’s degree in Selling and Sales Management, and a master’s degree in Technology, Leadership, and Innovation.