Coon Rapids High School graduate Christa Cooper (Jung) was recently named as the University of New Haven’s fourth women’s volleyball coach in the 43-year history of the program by University of New Haven Director of Athletics Chris Palmer.
Cooper, an American Volleyball Coaches Association “Top 30 Under 30” honoree, has experience at all three levels of the NCAA and comes to New Haven following a five-year stint as the assistant volleyball coach at Ferris State University, a perennial NCAA Division II Championship qualifier.
“Christa brings a level of experience to New Haven that mirrors the standard of excellence our women’s volleyball program is recognized for nationally,” Palmer said. “I look forward to watching the continued success of our program under her leadership.”
Cooper is experienced in working with a program steeped in championship history as she helped lead the Bulldogs to five straight Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) regular-season and tournament championships and five appearances in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional, including advancing to the championship game in back-to-back seasons.
“I would like to thank Chris Palmer, Robin Salters and the rest of the search committee for the opportunity to be the next head volleyball coach at the University of New Haven,” Cooper said. “Obtaining this position is just the beginning, and I am excited to lead this championship level program which has such a storied history of success and pride.”
Overall during her tenure at Ferris State, the Bulldogs collected a record of 138-28 (.831), including a mark of 79-6 (.929) in the GLIAC. Among the highlights while at Ferris State was a 2015 campaign where she helped lead the Bulldogs to a No. 1 ranking for the first time in school history. That season, Ferris State finished with a 33-3 overall record, boasting the nation’s highest winning percentage. After claiming both the GLIAC regular-season and tournament championships, the Bulldogs made their first of two appearances in the Midwest Regional Championship match during her tenure.
This past season, she helped lead Ferris State to its fifth-straight GLIAC regular-season and tournament championship and fifth-straight appearance in the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional as the Bulldogs closed out the regular season with an undefeated conference record for the first time in 28 seasons. While at Ferris State, Cooper helped coach nine All-American honorees and 27 All-GLIAC Conference award winners, including the GLIAC Player of the Year (2017 and 2018), the Libero of the Year (2018), Setter of the Year (2015 and 2016) and the Attacker of the Year (2015).
Prior to her appointment at Ferris State in 2014, Cooper spent a short time as a volunteer assistant coach at Division I Montana State. In her short tenure at Montana State, she gained experience coaching at the NCAA’s highest level, assisting with practice planning, skill development, travel arrangements and more during the spring campaign.
“I am forever grateful to all of the people in my life who have supported, coached and mentored me in my career,” said Cooper. “It is a blessing to be able to coach and develop young women in pursuit of excellence, both academically and athletically.”
Cooper joined the Montana State staff after three years as a Division II assistant coach at the University of Mary (N.D.). Originally joining the staff at Mary as a graduate assistant, Cooper was involved with nearly all phases of the program in her three seasons, including scouting, recruiting, film breakdown, practice planning, skill development, budget, travel and equipment. Additionally, she gained experience as the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee adviser for two years.
While also serving as the Marauders’ assistant coach, Cooper created the North Dakota Premier Volleyball club, serving as the club director from 2011-13. As the director, she managed tryouts, budgeting, tournament organization and oversaw coaches along with serving as a head coach.
She began her collegiate coaching career as an assistant coach on the Division III level at St. Catherine University in St. Paul in 2010 where she worked primarily with blockers and assisted in the recruiting duties as the Wildcats qualified for the conference tournament for the first time in over 16 years. Also, she was a coach with the Minnesota Premier and Minnesota Select club teams with her Select team finishing in the top 20 at the AAU National Tournament.
Cooper graduated magna cum laude from Michigan Tech in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in coaching. A two-time team captain and four-year letterwinner, she led the Huskies to two NCAA Division II Regional Tournament appearances and three GLIAC Tournament bids. Additionally, the right side helped Michigan Tech lead the nation in blocks during her senior campaign, finishing the season second on the team with 92.