Athletics and academics Texas Wesleyan volleyball students perform on and off court

Kimberly Weaver

Six years ago Kimberly Weaver left her very successful volleyball coaching gig at Midland College to move to Fort Worth, get married and start a family. She admits that though her teams’ record at Midland was 113-48, she wasn’t sure it was good enough to gain enough attention for another college job.

Instead, she coached at Liberty Christian High School in Argyle in Denton County. All the while, athletic director Steve Trachier and officials at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth were taking notice.

Weaver was hired by Texas Wesleyan four seasons ago and arrived with a hope to return the program to national prominence. This season the Lady Rams (28-5) enjoyed their best season since 2007. They also advanced to the semifinals of the Sooner Athletic Conference (SAC) Tournament for a fourth consecutive season.

Weaver’s record at Texas Wesleyan is 86-53. She has had 27 all-conference selections since her arrival, including seven this year. She’s also coached four National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) scholar-athletes and two All-Americans.

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Weaver is also a huge advocate of success in the classroom. Her 2015 squad was named an NAIA Scholar-Team while posting 10 players to the SAC Commissioner’s Honor Roll and six to the SAC Academic All-Conference team.

During her tenure at Midland College, Weaver oversaw a 100 percent graduation rate for her players and led the volleyball program to a 10th-place finish at the National Junior College Athletic Association Tournament in 2010. In the same year, Weaver was named Western Junior College Athletic Conference Volleyball Coach of the Year and the NJCAA District F Coach of the Year.

Weaver was herself always one of the smartest players on her team, graduating magna cum laude from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and being named the Outstanding Sociology Graduate of the Year. As a former Academic All-American at Arkansas (2004), Weaver made the Dean’s List (2004-2006) and the Chancellor’s List (2006) and received two Sunbelt Conference Academic Awards (2004-2006).

She lives in Fort Worth with her husband, Blake, and their daughter, Harper.

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How did you bring the Texas Wesleyan program back to prominence?

Our staff has worked very hard to improve the culture and recruit student athletes who fit our philosophy. It has been a process, but every year we have taken very influential steps. Those steps have led us to where we are today.

With all the big-time programs around, such as TCU, Texas, etc., how do you recruit talent to Texas Wesleyan, which you clearly are able to do?

We are looking for a very specific student-athlete – a young lady who is passionate about volleyball but also very motivated to excel in the classroom. Our girls thrive on a smaller campus. They may not have the size of those recruited at TCU or Texas, but it is their skills and their heart that set them apart. We are selling a wonderful college experience that includes the opportunity to play very competitive volleyball while also receiving a top-tier education.

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It seems you make education a top priority. How important do you feel being smart is to being successful?

I believe it is more about working hard than about being smart. I want our girls to understand that just because something is hard does not mean they are not capable of doing it. I love seeing our GPAs improve as they mature and begin to understand what they are capable of accomplishing. I am fortunate that every student-athlete on our team is academic-minded. I don’t do very much micromanaging of their classwork. The drive, commitment and dedication we see from our girls in the classroom is because of them, not me.

Would you call the Lady Rams a hidden treasure that more folks should know about?

Our girls are our treasure. They work incredibly hard on the court and in the classroom. They are extremely fun to watch, and that is because of the hard work they put into practice and match preparation every week. I would love to fill the stands with fans because they deserve to be showcased!

What are your long-term goals for Texas Wesleyan volleyball?

It is a very exciting time to be a Ram. I know we can become a top-10 program, and I can’t wait to see that happen. I want to see us consistently position ourselves at the top of the Sooner Athletic Conference and gain attention on the national level. Our biggest goal will always be to graduate 100 percent of the student-athletes in our program.

What are your long-term goals for yourself? Do you someday aspire to coach at a higher level?

I want to keep learning and growing in this profession. Right now, Texas Wesleyan is home – and I couldn’t be more thankful to be a Ram.