Busboom Kelly excited about finishing up at Nebraska, taking over at Louisville

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Dani Busboom Kelly is still an assistant at Nebraska, but soon becomes head coach at Louisville/Jeff Reinking photo

Dani Busboom Kelly has been really busy the past week.

Really busy.

“Yeah, it’s been a little crazy the last few days,” she said.

And here’s why:

This past Saturday night she was on the bench in Lincoln for Nebraska’s regular-season finale, a victory over Michigan.

Busboom Kelly with Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich when she was introduced last Sunday/Jeff Reinking photo
Dani Busboom Kelly with Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich when she was introduced as the Cardinals new head coach last Sunday/Jeff Reinking photo

Then Sunday Busboom Kelly was introduced as Louisville’s next head coach.

And later Sunday she was back in Lincoln, resuming her role as an assistant coach for the defending national champion preparing for the start of this week’s NCAA Tournament.

“It’s hectic, trying to stay focused on Nebraska but knowing that I want to get started at Louisville,” she said. “It makes it kind of tough balancing both, but I’m very committed to finishing the season strong at Nebraska. We have big goals and I still want to be a major part in that.”

You would expect nothing less. She was a star in her day at Nebraska for her boss, John Cook, as both a setter and libero, and a team captain on the Huskers’ 2006 national-championship team.

Her coaching career took her to Tennessee and then, for the 2011 season, to Louisville. She went back to Nebraska in 2012 and then celebrated with her alma mater when the Huskers won the NCAA title a year ago.

Now Nebraska is the favorite to repeat, but no matter what, when the tournament ends, she moves back to Louisville and takes on her first head coaching job.

“I think it’s going to be completely different. At Nebraska everything runs like a machine. As assistants we have our roles and I think Chris (Tamas) and I are really great at filling our roles that John gives us.

“As a head coach I’ve already realized that there are a million more things that are on your plate and it will certainly be challenging, but I’m really excited and ready for the challenge.”

She has her work cut out for her.

Louisville, traditionally a volleyball power battling for the ACC lead, fell off terribly this year and finished 12-18 overall, 7-13 in the ACC. Just before the season ended, sixth-year head coach Anne Kordes, who had hired Busboom as her assistant when she got to Louisville, announced her retirement from college coaching. Kordes wants to devote more time to her young daughter, have another child and will work with her father at KIVA, their prominent juniors club.

“I owe a lot of my success in my career to Anne,” Busboom Kelly said. “She was a great mentor and had I not gone to Louisville — even though it was only for a year as an assistant — I would not have been the assistant I was at Nebraska.”

Busboom as a player at Nebraska
Busboom as a player at Nebraska

Busboom, whose husband Lane Kelly is a former Nebraska football player, met with the current Louisville team while she was there for her introduction.

“I’ve followed all their careers,” she said.

They should pay attention to their new coach, who as both a setter and libero, has a tremendous understanding of the game.

“I think those two positions require a lot of reading and knowledge of the game,” Busboom Kelly said. “As the setter, you’re the quarterback, you’ve got to know the plays and what the other teams is doing. And as libero, you’re coaching everybody else and making sure everyone is filling their roles.”

Busboom Kelly, 31, has yet to put together a staff and hopes to move in a hurry once Nebraska’s season ends. You would imagine she won’t have trouble hiring assistants.

“Being there for a year, there’s no doubt that it’s one of the premier coaching jobs in the country,” Busboom Kelly said. “The university is awesome, the city is great, it’s a great recruiting base with a great area to recruit out of. Everything about it is great and I was pretty ecstatic when I found out I would be a candidate for the job.

“For me it was a no brainer, even leaving an amazing program like Nebraska. Louisville will do everything they can to make sure their athletes succeed and their coaches succeed.”

It will, however, be very different than Nebraska, but for Busboom Kelly, that might be half the fun.

“First and foremost I’m excited because it’s one of the best opportunities I could imagine. So I’m excited to get started and prove myself as a head coach. But I’d be lying if I said I was not anxious and a little nervous because Louisville does deserve to be great. It’s a program that’s going to expect success and deserves success.

“But it’s also energizing. Like I said, at Nebraska we have our roles and it’s been awesome but it’s also rejuvenating to know I can expand my role and make decisions and kind of put my footprint on a program.”

Coaching carousel

The NCAA volleyball world got a big surprise last week when Stevie Mussie was out after just one season at Arizona State.

The same day Busboom Kelly was introduced at Louisville, Arizona State put this terse statement up on its website from Ray Anderson, Vice President for University Athletics:

“Sun Devil Volleyball Coach Stevie Mussie is no longer with the program. We will launch a national search immediately for her successor.  Sanja Tomasevic will act as interim head indoor volleyball coach with Brad Keenan continuing to serve as head beach volleyball coach.”

The Sun Devils went 12-20, 5-15 in the Pac-12 under Mussie, who came to ASU from the Penn State staff …

Another job opened up Monday when longtime University of Texas at Arlington coach Diane Seymour retired from coaching. Seymour, who is from Arlington, was a standout player for UTA in the mid-1980s and in her 13 years as head coach had a record of  211-195 …

Interim head coaches are still in place at Delaware and Middle Tennessee …

Montana has yet to replace Brian Doyon, who resigned after two seasons … And there’s still an opening at Troy, where Sonny Kirkpatrick resigned after 11 seasons.

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