FORT WORTH, Texas — There have been a lot of great moments over the years for Texas Christian University volleyball. But you can’t tell the story of the program without starting from the beginning.
Head Coach Jill Kramer enters the facility every day just as she did 25 years ago. In 1996, she was the first volleyball player on scholarship to take the court for the Horned Frogs during their inaugural season. She still holds the record for career kills (1,595), kills in a season (626 in 1996) and kills per set (5.22).
“I was a gym rat. I was the kid you couldn’t get out of the gym,” said Jill. “As a player here, I watched a lot of film on my own. Those kinds of things are things that take you into coaching, right?”
But at the time, Kramer didn’t know she wanted to be a coach. As a Neeley Business graduate, she had other plans.
“I had every intention to be some type of consultant,” she said. “That was all the rage at the time. But you just never know where your path is going to take you.”
She may have left the game following her final match at TCU, but the game never left her. Kramer’s path led her back to the volleyball court to begin her coaching career. From UTSA, Alabama, Virginia and West Virginia, Kramer bounced around the country for 16 years. Then her alma mater came calling.
“There were just a lot of emotions because stars have to align really,” Kramer said. “I think it took me a while to grasp it."
But once she did, the Frogs flourished. TCU clinched back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances in Kramer’s first two seasons as a head coach.
“I remember the first time I met her. She walked up to me and gave me a big time hug,” said TCU libero Dani Dennison. “She’s just super welcoming. It’s been cool to see my relationship with Jill develop and grow over the years.”
She’s a player’s coach with the hopes to take these players back to the postseason.
“With this group, we are in a great spot with our culture,” said Kramer. “They are all bought in.”
“I’ve expressed this with coach Kramer before. I wanna make the (NCAA women's volleyball) tourney once in my career here,” said Dennison. “But we have to just break it down and take it game by game.”