Fort Hays State University Director of Athletics Curtis Hammeke announced the hiring of Jessica Wood-Atkins as the eighth head coach in Tiger volleyball history. Wood-Atkins officially will join the school Jan. 16.
“I am greatly honored and excited to be joining the Tiger family at Fort Hays State University,” Wood-Atkins said. “This is a program with a long history of excellence, which is difficult to achieve in such a competitive conference and region. I look forward to building on the foundations laid down by the previous coaching staffs and to work alongside a great set of student-athletes, coaches and administrators.”
“Jessica has an outstanding volleyball background as a player and a coach,” Hammeke said. “Her experience at the NCAA level as a player, coach and administrator have provided her with great insight to the operation of a successful volleyball program. We look forward to seeing the progress of our volleyball program under her guidance.”
Wood-Atkins brings in five years of head coaching experience after leading the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs volleyball team from 2004 until 2008. She accumulated a record of 78-69 in those five seasons, the most wins for a coach in program history. Wood-Atkins led the team to its first (and only) NCAA Division II tournament berth in 2007, coaching the Mountain Lions to 20 wins, one of two 20-win seasons in program history. UCCS went 16-3 in conference play that season, including a three-set victory over Nebraska-Kearney. Her players earned 11 All-RMAC awards and one All-Region accolade. Additionally, Wood-Atkins is already 1-0 inside Gross Memorial Coliseum, defeating FHSU in 2005 before the Tigers moved to the MIAA.
Wood-Atkins got her start in collegiate athletics as an assistant coach for the Mountain Lions, serving in that role for two seasons (2002-03). During that time, she completed her undergraduate degree, graduating from the UC-Colorado Springs in the spring of 2003.
Wood-Atkins was a four-year starter at Division I Murray State University in Murray, Ky., from 1998 to 2001, helping the Racers to three Ohio Valley Conference tournaments and a pair of postseason victories. A two-year team captain, Wood-Atkins is one of eight Racers in the 1,000 kills/1,000 digs club at Murray State. She accumulated 1,044 kills, 1,134 digs and 121 aces as an outside hitter at MSU, twice earning All-OVC honors (1999, 2000). She earned a spot on the OVC All-Newcomer team after totaling 313 kills and 625 digs as a freshman (1998). She picked up numerous honors as a sophomore in 1999, including OVC All-Tournament honors and strength and conditioning All-American accolades. Wood-Atkins also excelled in the classroom, earning a spot on the OVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll all four years while being named the OVC Scholar-Athlete in 2001.
Wood-Atkins has worked in NCAA compliance in recent years, including at UCCS and at the University of Idaho, where she currently serves as the Senior Woman Administrator. She has served on numerous national and regional committees, including the regional ranking committee, RMAC officiating committee and the Big Sky media and technology committee.
Wood-Atkins also has experience coaching volleyball at the junior level, serving as assistant and head coach of the Colorado Juniors Volleyball Club periodically until 2012.
At the conclusion of her playing career at Murray State, Wood-Atkins was invited to try out for the USA National Team as a libero. A native of Calhan, Colo., she was a USAV All-American as a senior in high school.
She and her husband, Greg, have two children, Mack and Cora.