Gengenbacher assumes assistant coach role with San Diego State women’s volleyball program


Quincy native Kristen Gengenbacher, who was an All-American setter at the University of San Diego, is joining the San Diego State University women's volleyball program as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. | Photo courtesy University of San Diego

SAN DIEGO — Kristen Gengenbacher’s collegiate coaching career is about to take off.

The Quincy Notre Dame graduate recently was named an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the San Diego State University women’s volleyball program.

“I am incredibly thankful and excited to be back in San Diego as a part of the Aztec volleyball program,” Gengenbacher said in a press release. “We’re looking forward to a great season and I can’t wait to get started.”

Gengenbacher received her bachelor’s degree in communications from University of San Diego in 2018 before earning her master’s in intercollegiate athletic leadership from Washington in 2019. She played professionally with the Porfyras volleyball club in Piraeus, Greece, from August 2019 to March 2020 before venturing into coaching.

“After speaking with her at the beginning of the interview process, it was obvious that she would be the perfect fit for our program,” San Diego State coach Brent Hilliard said in a press conference. “Kristen has played the game at some of the highest levels nationally. She is a former Division I All-American setter who will provide great knowledge for this particular position. 

“Kristen’s coaching background also has her primed for the collegiate level, and she is an excellent communicator, which is key for our athletes.  I am extremely grateful that she has decided to make San Diego State her home, and I know she will make our players, supporters and alumni very proud.”

Hilliard served as the associate head coach at the University of San Diego when Gengenbacher was the Toreros’ setter from 2014-17. 

Gengenbacher dished out 3,729 assists in her University of San Diego career, which ranks third in program history. As a senior, she garnered West Coast Conference Player of the Year accolades and received third-team AVCA All-America recognition after leading the Toreros to the WCC championship and a second-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

Gengenbacher played one season of beach volleyball at the University of Washington, where she served as team captain and led the Huskies with 13 dual victories while qualifying for a spot in the USAV Collegiate Championships.

Gengenbacher also gained valuable international experience as a member of the U.S. National Collegiate Team that toured Europe in the summer of 2017.

Most recently, Gengenbacher served as head coach of the 18-1 squad at the 540 Volleyball Academy in Fredericksburg, Va., preparing a vast array of elite club performers to excel at the collegiate level. Prior to that, Gengenbacher spent one season as an assistant coach with the indoor and beach volleyball programs at MiraCosta College in Oceanside, Calif.

Gengenbacher was a three-sport athlete who graduated from Quincy Notre Dame in 2014 after earning all-state plaudits in both volleyball and basketball.

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