After stepping off the volleyball court for the last time in her senior year of college, Lindsey Hunter never anticipated she would return to the school where she made her legacy.
Six years later, after graduation and a stint on the U.S. Women’s National Team, she found herself back in black and gold, this time on the sidelines as an assistant coach.
Hunter, who set for the Tigers from 2002-2005, returns this year for her third season of coaching. She is the head recruiting coordinator, responsible for bringing in this year’s freshman signing class, which is ranked 18th nationally according to PrepVolleyball.com. Last year, she guided setter Molly Kreklow to earn second team all-SEC honors.
“Creating a relationship with our setters, with Molly, being able to transfer over my knowledge as a player in the setting position has been really special,” Hunter said. “It’s just an added thing to be able to say I came from here and I’ve done what they’re doing now.”
During her college career, she was the first Missouri volleyball player to receive first-team American Volleyball Coaches Association All-America honors. She was also the first Big 12 Conference player to lead the league in the same statistical category for four consecutive years with respect to assists per game at 13.73, the highest being 14.22 in 2005. She also holds the school record for all-time career assists with 6,097.
After growing up in Papillion, Neb., Hunter wanted to stay relatively close to home for college. She originally committed to Kansas State, but when coach Jim McLaughlin left for Washington, she turned to Missouri instead.
She played under coach Wayne Kreklow for all four seasons with the Tigers and is now working alongside him on the coaching staff.
Now, Hunter’s focus is on making the most of Molly Kreklow’s last season at Missouri. Kreklow leads the SEC with 12.85 assists per game and in the past three seasons amassed 3,886 assists. Though sets were played to 30 points instead of 25 back when Hunter was a Tiger, Kreklow still has a tough road ahead of her if she is to break any records.
But Hunter has complete confidence in her setting prodigy and pushes her to reach those levels.
“Molly has all the tools to be able to do all that,” Hunter said. “I want her to break those records. I want her to do well. I want the team to do well and all of us to do well. They’re just numbers at the end of the day.”
Molly Kreklow mirrors Hunter’s positive can-do attitude and looks ahead to the rest of the season as an opportunity to further improve under Hunter’s guidance.
“I know that I'm definitely one of the people that's gotten a lot better since I've started here, and that has a lot to do with Lindsey,” she said. “I'm just really thankful to have somebody who's played at such a high level on her own, and that's really helpful for me because I know she knows what she's talking about, and I really trust her.”