Jean Kesterson is the type of coach that will have a long-lasting impact on the sport for generations to come. It isn’t just her astounding 826-166 record coaching the Cathedral High School (Indianapolis, IN) Girls Volleyball team, or her eight state championships, but the values she instilled in her players over her 40-year coaching career.
After spending a combined seven years leading the Bishop Chatard Volleyball squad and the NCAA’s Valparaiso, she joined the Fighting Irish in 1989 and never looked back. She rattled off 30-win seasons 17 times in her tenure, including an undefeated 2015 team that marked the program’s first national championship. For the incredible season, Kesterson was named the AVCA National High School Co-Coach of the Year, and the head coach of Team West in the Under Armour All-America Match. When she stepped aside after the 2016 campaign, she presided over 20 teams honored with the AVCA Team Academic Award.
Kesterson has continued to stay involved in the volleyball community after her coaching retirement. She was elected the first ever president of the Indiana High School Volleyball Coaches Association to help promote the highest standard of coaching in the state. This is just the most recent example of her taking on leadership, speaking, and committee positions to help advance the sport across the Hoosier State and the country.
“While having high expectations of the student-athletes she coaches, does not carry the persona that one might think is typical of a highly successful coach,” said IHSAA Assistant Commissioner Chris Kaufman. “In observing Jean over her long career, it is most apparent that she coaches at a different level than her peers. This approach has not only served her well on the court, but has prepared her players for life after high school and volleyball.”