BSU names Bitter head volleyball coach
Bemidji State University Director of Athletics Rick Goeb announced Thursday the hiring of Laurie Bitter as BSU's head volleyball coach. Bitter becomes the 12th head coach in the 37-year history of the program and begins her new duties Monday. "We...
Bemidji State University Director of Athletics Rick Goeb announced Thursday the hiring of Laurie Bitter as BSU's head volleyball coach.
Bitter becomes the 12th head coach in the 37-year history of the program and begins her new duties Monday.
"We are pleased to bring Laurie on as our head volleyball coach," said Goeb. "She has a proven record of building programs wherever she has been, she knows the Northern Minnesota volleyball landscape and she has a tremendous work ethic."
Bitter takes the helm at BSU after a 16-year tenure at Lake of the Woods High School where she turned the Bears' volleyball program and Lady Laker club team into powerhouses that have competed well on the regional, state and national levels.
"This is an exciting opportunity for my family and I," commented Bitter. "Coaching at the collegiate level has always been a goal of mine and I think Bemidji State is a perfect situation for me. I am a Northern Minnesota girl and am very familiar with the league, its coaches and its players."
While at Lake of the Woods, Bitter piled up an impressive 354-100-1 record as its head coach. Nine times she led the Bears to North Border Conference Championships - including the last six consecutively. The team has also won eight district championships and participated in the Minnesota State High School Volleyball Tournament four times under the watchful eye of Bitter, earning a 2A Championship in 2005 and runner-up honors in 2003.
Bitter earned Section Coach of the Year accolades in both 1998 and 2001.
In addition to Bitter's high school coaching experience, she has also been active on the club team circuit.
She helped start the Lady Laker program in 1993 and in 2001 and 2003 she mentored her teams to North Country Region Championship and trips to the Junior National Championships.
A two-year participant in both volleyball and track as a student-athlete at Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Bitter turned her focus to her passion - teaching and coaching - as a junior.
"I was encouraged to get more involved in the teaching side of the game and began coaching at one the local high schools." Bitter added. "That is really where I learned to love this part of the game and got my start in coaching."
Taking on a program that has not experienced a tremendous amount of success in recent years while playing in one of the elite conferences in all of NCAA Division II will hold its fare share of challenges for Bitter and her crew, but that is something she understands. She is confident that with hard work and dedication from everyone involved, good things are on the horizon for the BSU volleyball program.
"This is what I do ... I build programs," said Bitter. "I want to come in right away and begin to train the student-athletes, motivate them and help them to believe that they can be competitive and win.
"I know things are different at the collegiate level and I know there are aspects I will have to learn. But I have always had to work for everything and I don't expect that to change now."
Bitter is a graduate of MSUM with a degree in physical education/health/coaching. She is currently in the process of completing her master's degree in theory at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and expects to graduate in May.
Bitter and her husband Curt have two children. Courtney, is currently a junior at Lake of the Woods High School and is an All-State member of the volleyball team. Isaac is in the eighth grade and occupies his time with hockey and baseball.
BSU's head volleyball coaching position was vacated by Kim Falkenhagen shortly after the completion of the 2006 campaign. Falkenhagen spent four seasons at BSU and left ranked third on the university's all-time volleyball coaching list in both wins (35) and matches coached (129).
Bemidji State is coming off a campaign in which it posted a 7-25 overall record going 3-15 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. The Beavers return a roster featuring seven sophomores, a junior and five seniors including All-NSIC Honorable Mention outside hitter Brittney Burns.