news-category: Athletics

Eric Plunkett Resigns as Head Women’s Volleyball Coach

National Search to Find Next Head Coach Underway

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.— Head Women’s Volleyball Coach Eric Plunkett has resigned from his position, the Department of Athletics announced on Thursday. A national search for Gardner-Webb University’s next head coach has already begun.

“Due to health concerns with my family I have made the difficult decision to step down as head volleyball coach at Gardner-Webb University,” Plunkett wrote in a statement. “I would like to thank Dr. Downs, former AD Chuck Burch, and AD Andrew Goodrich for believing in me as a head coach and giving me the opportunity to thrive as a Bulldog. I will never be able to replace what Gardner-Webb has given me. I want to thank my staff for always having my back and helping me to be a better head coach each day. And finally I would like to thank my team. You all have made a lasting impression on both me and my family.  I am so proud of each one of you. I will forever be a Runnin’ Bulldog.”

“Although we are all truly saddened to see Eric go, we fully respect the priority he so rightly places on family,” shared GWU President Dr. William Downs. “I’ve enjoyed having Coach Plunkett on our staff, watching him build our volleyball team into a winner, and seeing the positive and lasting impact he has made on those who came through his program. He’s a great leader, husband and father. We wish him the very best.”

Eric Plunkett surrounded by the team

This past season Plunkett led Gardner-Webb to a 14-13 overall record and an 8-6 Big South Conference record, notching a third-place finish in the league’s final standings, the program’s best in its 16-year Big South tenure. The season concluded with the program’s first-ever appearance in the Big South Tournament semifinals.

The 2023 team also posted the program’s highest overall win total since the 2013-14 season and the program’s best overall winning percentage in its 22-year Division I history (.519).

In each of Plunkett’s three seasons in Boiling Springs, Gardner-Webb increased its overall and conference win totals.

“I want to thank Eric for all that he has done to elevate this program during his tenure,” said Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Andrew T. Goodrich. “He most certainly left it much better than he found it. Our thoughts and prayers are going out to Eric and Whitney as they embark on the next chapter of their journey.”

Assistant coach Kali Boatwright will serve as the interim head coach until the next head coach is named.

Gardner-Webb University is North Carolina’s recognized leader in private, Christian higher education. A Carnegie-Classified Doctoral/Professional University, GWU is home to nine colleges and schools, more than 80 undergraduate and graduate majors, and a world-class faculty. Located on a beautiful 225-acre campus in Boiling Springs, N.C., Gardner-Webb prepares graduates to impact their chosen professions, equips them with the skills to advance the frontiers of knowledge, and inspires them to make a positive and lasting difference in the lives of others. Ignite your future at Gardner-Webb.edu.

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