By Tim Glon
ADA — Ohio Northern volleyball coach Kate Witte has announced her retirement at the end of the 2019 season after 29 years as head coach of the program.
Witte will be replaced at the helm of the Polar Bears by current assistant coach and ONU All-American Katie Kuhn on Jan. 1, 2020.
"I am very honored to have had the opportunity to be the leader of the ONU volleyball program for the past 28 years, Witte said. "I am greatly looking forward to my last volleyball season at Ohio Northern. I have had the privilege to coach hundreds of terrific young ladies during my time here and will cherish those memories the rest of my life."
During her first 28 years at ONU, Witte has guided the Polar Bears to an impressive 715-235 record (.753 winning percentage), 18 Ohio Athletic Conference regular season titles, 14 OAC Tournament Championships, 22 NCAA Division III Tournament bids, 11 NCAA Division III Tournament Sweet 16 appearances, four Elite 8 appearances and one Final Four appearance.
The Ohio Northern volleyball program is one of the more storied programs in the university's athletic history, posting an impressive 1,321 victories in 60 seasons. Northern also posted an NCAA all-divisions record 35 consecutive winning seasons from 1976-2010.
She has been named OAC Coach of the Year in '91, '94, '96, '97, '02 and '08 and the AVCA Regional Coach of the Year in '94, '96, '97, 2003, 2009 and 2016.
This past season, she led the Polar Bears to the OAC regular season and Tournament titles and a bid in the NCAA III Tournament.
Kuhn will become only the third volleyball coach in the past 51 years in the program after spending nine seasons as an assistant coach.
She was a two-time All-American and three-year team captain as an outside hitter and setter for the Polar Bears from 2005-08.
"I am beyond excited for this opportunity to be the next leader of the ONU volleyball program, and want to thank our administration for the opportunity," Kuhn said. "This program has a special place in my heart, from impacting me positively both as an athlete and assistant coach. We are looking forward to celebrating Coach Witte and all she has given to this program and the young women under her guidance. Fortunately, I have been able to develop under her as both a person and coach, and am thankful to have her on-board to assist with the program's transition. I am excited to embrace and continue to enhance our program's high standards of success, both on the court and in the classroom."
Kuhn was named one of the nation's top 30 volleyball coaches under 30 years of age in 2016 by the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
The two-time All-American finished her career third all-time in assists at 4,680. She was also the 2008 OAC Co-Player of the Year, the same season the Polar Bears reached the NCAA Final Four.
Kuhn graduated from Ohio Northern in 2009 with a dual degree in public relations and sport management.
In spring 2011, Kuhn completed a graduate assistantship at Ashland University where she earned her master's degree in education.
She married fellow ONU alum and All-OAC swimmer Brett Kuhn in May 2011 and the couple resides in Bellefontaine with their two children Soucie and Gier.
The Polar Bears will open their 2019 season with the 41st annual ONU Invitational on Aug. 30-31.