Katie O'Brien will be returning for her fifth campaign as the head coach of the Falcon Volleyball program.
Last season she led the Falcons to another Peach Belt Conference tournament appearance. She coached UM’s first Peach Belt Conference Scholar Athlete of the Year, which is the highest individual award the PBC gives out each year. She also coached UM’s first female First Team Academic All-American in school history.
O'Brien owns an overall record of 275-189 (.592).
In 2011, she coached one Second Team All-Region selection, one First Team All-PBC selection, two Preseason All-PBC selections, one Academic All-American, one Academic All-District selection, two PBC Players of the Week, two PBC Specialists of the Week and three PBC All-Academic selections.
O'Brien came to UM from Piedmont College in Demorest, Ga., where she served as the head volleyball coach for eight seasons. O'Brien was inducted into the Piedmont College Hall of Fame in the spring of 2013.
She guided the Lady Lions to their first-ever NCAA Division III National Tournament in 2007. With a career record of 182-109, O'Brien led her team to two Great South Athletic Conference Tournament Championships, in 2001 and in 2007. She was also voted twice named GSAC Coach of the Year in 2005 and 2007. Also serving as the school's Senior Women's Administrator, she mentored 36 Academic All-Conference honorees, 22 All-Conference selections, 12 Freshmen All-Conference picks, three GSAC Freshmen-of-the-Year selections, one league Player of the Year and two tournament MVPs.
O'Brien's players also are known for their successes in the classroom. In her first year her at Montevallo, O'Brien coached two GSC All-Academic East Volleyball Team members and 11 team members were named to the GSC Honor Roll. During her career at Piedmont, her teams' cumulative grade-point average was 3.26. The 2006 season saw O'Brien's team earn the American Volleyball Coaches Association's (AVCA) GamePlan Academic Team Award as the squad carried a 3.42 cumulative GPA.
In addition, the Falcons were recipients of the 2011-2012 American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award under O'Brien's leadership. The award marked the third time a team coached by O'Brien received the award.
In 2009, she coached eight players to the Peach Belt Conference Presidential Honor Roll including one named to the ESPN The Magazine Second Team Academic All-District by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The Falcons were also awarded the 2009 Peach Belt Conference Sportsmanship Award.
In 2010, she coached three players to PBC All-Academic teams and had one player named First Team Academic All-District by CoSIDA. Her team also led the UM Athletic Department for highest Spring Semester GPA. She also has a four-time conference specialist of the week and four PBC Players of the Week. She also coached four All-Conference Players, two First Team and two Second Team. She also had two players named to the AVCA All-Southeast Region Team.
A former intramural director at Piedmont, O'Brien is a member of the South Regional Advisory Committee and is chapter adviser of the National College Athletic Honor Society, Chi Alpha Sigma.
O'Brien received her Bachelor of Science degree in sports, health, leisure and physical studies from the University of Iowa in 1999. She earned her master's degree in public administration from Piedmont in 2001.
Prior to beginning her coaching career, she was a standout volleyball player at the University of Iowa. She is currently ranked 14th on the Hawkeyes career blocks list and is 13th in career attack percentage. Additionally, O'Brien posted back-to-back top-10 finishes in the Big-10 Conference in blocks per game (1997 and 1998).
She is a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association and the American Coaches Federation. She is a former member of the board of directors of the Vertical 1 Club Team and is a former coach for the Northlake Kaepa Volleyball Club.
In 2005, O'Brien married Freddie Chapman. They live in Calera.