Head Volleyball Coach
Chuck Crawford, who has extensive experience in premiere collegiate volleyball, was named the 11th head coach in program history, Director of Athletics Chris Massaro announced, on Jan. 10, 2017.
“Chuck Crawford comes to Middle Tennessee with a great deal of experience in developing players, and he has a successful track record of aiding student-athletes getting the most of their experience academically and athletically,” Massaro said. “After an extensive national search, we are delighted with Coach Crawford being the person to lead our volleyball program.”
Crawford comes to Murfreesboro from Auburn where he served as an assistant for the past three seasons.
While on the Plains, Crawford’s responsibilities included defensive game planning along with scouting and assisting with recruiting and development. With the Tigers, Crawford also helped lead wins against No. 10 Florida and No. 21 Arkansas.
Crawford coached an All-SEC selection and a pair of AVCA All-South Region honorable mentions at Auburn in 2015. Off the court, Crawford also mentored an SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year, a CoSIDA Academic All-District in 2014 and 2015 and eight members of the SEC Academic Honor Roll.
“Obviously I’m incredibly excited. I’d like to thank President McPhee, Chris Massaro, Diane Turnham and Whit Turnbow for the confidence they have, and trusting me to lead the program in the future,” Crawford said. “Middle Tennessee is a place that I have followed for years. They have a history of winning on the national level. More importantly, I think they are known for the family atmosphere. Those are the things that attracted me the most — the people.”
Prior to Auburn, Crawford spent a season at Georgia Tech coaching the middle blockers while also serving as recruiting coordinator and director of camps. While with the Yellow Jackets, Crawford coached middle blocker Chanell Clark-Bibbs, who earned a spot on the 2013 USA Junior National Team, and was named a two-time Academic All-ACC selection.
Crawford went to Georgia Tech from his alma mater Miami (Ohio) as an assistant for two years. With the RedHawks, he helped train three first-team All-MAC honorees and a CoSIDA Academic All-American. Crawford worked primarily with the hitters and oversaw the program’s recruiting, including a ‘High Honorable Mention’ by Prep Volleyball from his 2013 recruiting class.
Before joining the RedHawks, Crawford spent a year and a half as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Jacksonville University. At JU, Crawford coordinated all recruiting along with team training, scouting, fundraising and practice planning. He helped middle blocker Alyssa Robertson earn Atlantic Sun All-Freshman team honors, outside hitter Aidan Yager earn a spot on the All-Atlantic Sun first team and recruited the 2012 Atlantic Sun Freshman Player of the Year in Sammie Strausbaugh.
He also spent a year as a volunteer assistant at Georgia Tech in 2009, helping the Yellow Jackets to an NCAA Tournament bid after a five-year postseason drought.
He is a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association, having served on their national Assistant Coaches Committee, as well as United States Volleyball and the Southern Region Volleyball Association.
A native of Middletown, Ohio, he taught health, physical education and special education in Fulton and Forsyth counties (Ga.) for nearly 10 years and coached at Centennial High School (2001-04) and North Forsyth High School (2006-09) during that time.
Crawford earned his Bachelor of Science degree in health and physical education from Miami University in 2001. He was a four-year member of the RedHawks’ club volleyball team.
Crawford and his wife, Lori, have four children: Carson, Drew, Ty and Ava. An avid rock and mountain climber, Crawford was featured in the Weather Channel TV series Epic Conditions climbing the nose of El Cap (3,300 feet) in Yosemite. He has also summited 14,400-foot Mount Rainer in Washington state and spent three years riding bulls in the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA).
Assistant Volleyball Coach / Recruiting Coordinator
Jenna Orner joined the Middle Tennessee volleyball staff as an assistant coach in January 2017.
Prior to MT, Orner served as a graduate assistant at VCU for the 2016 season. With the Rams, Orner helped VCU to a 19-14 record and a trip to the Atlantic 10 Conference semifinals. On the court, VCU produced a three-time Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week in Jasmin Sneed, while Julia Adler (second team), Vicky Giommarini (All-Rookie) and Sneed (All-Rookie) were named to All-Atlantic 10 Conference post-season teams.
A 2015 graduate of Coastal Carolina, Orner served as a volunteer assistant for the Chanticleers during the 2015 campaign and was later named director of volleyball operations. During the 2015 season, Orner helped the Chants to a 2015 NCAA Tournament appearance.
Orner played libero for three seasons at Coastal Carolina, where she was twice named to the Big South All-Tournament Team. Orner also received two Big South Conference Presidential Honor Roll accolades and was named to the All-Academic team her senior season.
As a senior in 2014, Orner averaged 4.69 digs per set and led the Chanticleers to the Big South Championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament. Orner recorded a career-high 31 digs in the Big South Championship Match to help Coastal topple Radford. Orner also played one season at Jacksonville, where she was recruited by Chuck Crawford.
Orner is a native of Carlisle, Pennsylvania. She is the daughter of Rick and Jackie Orner, and has one younger brother, Tanner. Orner’s mother was a gymnast at West Chester University.
Assistant Volleyball Coach
Candice O’Brien has joined the Middle Tennessee volleyball team staff as an assistant coach, Blue Raider head coach Chuck Crawford announced.
O’Brien comes to Murfreesboro after a two-year tenure as a head coach and recruiting coordinator for Alliance Volleyball Club and Independence High School.
“Throughout the interview process, Candice had three factors that enabled her to be the best fit for our program: her character, being a mother and her volleyball experience,” Crawford said. “The total package is her overall experience of recruiting and training at an elite, Division I level which will make her valuable to our program.”
O’Brien has 14 years of coaching experience at the Division I level, appearing in two NCAA tournaments and taking a trip to a Sweet 16.
Before coaching at Alliance Volleyball Club and Independence High School, O’Brien served as an assistant coach at Baylor University for 11 seasons.
While in Waco, Texas, O’Brien assisted in coaching, supervision, recruiting and the organization of the Baylor volleyball program.
During her time at Baylor, she helped guide the team to two NCAA tournaments including a trip to the Sweet 16 in 2009, the deepest NCAA run in program history. She was an instrumental part in guiding the team to a 17th-place national ranking, the highest in school history.
O’Brien coached 13 All-Big 12 honorees as well as two All-Americans. On the academic side, she coached 57 All-Big 12 academic selections and eight CoSIDA Academic All-District honorees. The Bears also received the AVCA Team Academic Award for having a team GPA above 3.3 during the 2013 season.
While at Baylor, O’Brien also served as a head coach for the Waco Juniors Volleyball Club during the offseason in 2012.
Before arriving at Baylor, O’Brien served as an assistant coach for two seasons at the University of Wyoming. While with the Cowgirls, she coached and trained two All-Mountain West Conference first team members.
O’Brien launched her collegiate coaching career in 1997 as the head coach at Niagara Community College. She then went on to serve as an assistant coach at the Division I level at Lamar University for a season.
She was a four-year letter winner at the University of Buffalo (N.Y.) with its women’s volleyball team. She recorded many accolades as an athlete, including finishing her career atop the school’s career kills list, second in career digs and top-10 in career aces. O’Brien also earned first team all-conference accolades twice during her four years.
O’Brien received her Bachelor of Science in exercise science and kinesiology in 1997 from the State University of New York at Buffalo. O’Brien resides in Franklin with her husband Pete and their Daughter Logan.