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Bemidji State volleyball coach Bitter reassigned, search opens for new coach

Bemidji State head volleyball coach Laurie Bitter was reassigned to an administrative position within the athletic department Tuesday.

BSU will immediately begin a national search to fill the coaching vacancy left by Bitter.

"Laurie Bitter has a passion for making positive influences in young people's lives," BSU Athletic Director Rick Goeb said in a press release. "BSU Athletics looks forward to Laurie's new responsibilities and contributions within the athletic department."

Bitter could not be immediately reached for comment Tuesday night.

Bitter coached Bemidji State the last three seasons to a 28-61 overall record (17-41 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference).

The Beavers finished the 2009 season 11-20 overall and 8-12 NSIC play. It marked the most overall wins for the program since 2003 and the most conference wins since 2002.

The Beavers finished ninth in the final conference standings and were one win away from seventh place. BSU was picked to finish 11th out of 14 teams in the preseason coaches' poll.

BSU also had success in the classroom during Bitter's tenure. BSU had 13 players named to the Fall Academic All-NSIC Team and sophomore Courtney Bitter was named to the ESPN The Magazine College Division Academic Second-Team All-District V.

Courtney, Laurie's daughter, has transferred to the University of North Dakota. She is enrolled in spring semester at UND and practiced with the Fighting Sioux volleyball team Tuesday.

She is eligible to participate in team activities immediately and will compete in UND's spring scrimmages.

North Dakota, a Division I program, won the Great West Conference regular season and playoff titles last season.

"Courtney is a very good, exceptional athlete and has a strong background setting at Bemidji State and in high school," UND head coach Ashley Hardee said. "We think she will compete for a job as a setter or a libero. We're very excited to have her join our program."

Bitter led Beavers last season with nearly 10 set assists per game and ranked fourth on the team in kills. She led the team in service aces and ranked third on the team in digs.

Laurie Bitter will remain the advisor for the Student-Athletes Advisory Committee (SAAC) and NCAA LifeChoices Program.

The SAAC program delivered turkey dinners last Thanksgiving as part of a community outreach program and raised $2,500 in teddy bears, hats and mittens during BSU hockey games the weekend of Dec. 4.

Bitter came to BSU after a 16-year tenure at Lake of the Woods High School, where the Bears won nine conference titles and reached the state tournament four times. Lake of the Woods was the 2005 Class 2A state champion and was runner-up in 2003.

In addition to Bitter's high school coaching experience, she was also active on the club team circuit, was the head of the physical education department and taught physical education at the kindergarten through 10th grade level for 16 years.