New coach leaps into Dartmouth College volleyball fray

Kevin Maureen Campbell

Kevin Maureen Campbell


Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 07-01-2023 9:38 AM

Most college volleyball programs aren’t in the market for a new head coach in the late spring.

But when Gilad Doron abruptly stepped down from the head job at Dartmouth on May 10 to care for his aging mother in Israel, the Big Green were tasked with making a leadership change at the tail end of the offseason. Athletic director Mike Harrity landed on Kevin Maureen Campbell, who brings more than 20 years of Division I coaching experience to Hanover.

“If we could choose different timing we would, but this was our reality,” Harrity said. “You deal with the reality in front of you and take it head-on and persevere and demonstrate resilience.

“(Campbell) does not see that as in any way slowing her down. She’s energized by the opportunity in front of her.”

Campbell grew up in Omaha, Neb., and stayed home for college, recording more than 1,000 kills in four seasons at Omaha and earning two all-conference accolades before graduating in 1995. Her coaching journey began three years later with one season as an assistant at Winthrop, followed by a year at Ohio University and a five-year stint on the staff at Charlotte.

After that, Campbell worked for two seasons under Russ Rose at perennial power Penn State, helping the Nittany Lions win Big Ten championships in 2005 and 2006. That led to her first head coaching opportunity at North Florida, where she guided the Ospreys through their transition from Division II to Division I in 2009.

“Through all of those experiences, I’ve really formed who I am as a leader and as a coach,” Campbell said. “I run a fast offense. I’m a holistic trainer, meaning I coach volleyball players, not necessarily specific positions. I teach everybody to grow in the game.”

Since leaving North Florida, Campbell has made five more stops as an assistant, starting with one year at Colorado, in which the Buffaloes reached the NCAA tournament for the first time in seven years. She then spent two seasons at San Diego State and four at North Carolina State, helping lead the Wolfpack to their first-ever NCAA Tournament victory in 2017.

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Campbell worked for the last three years at Virginia Commonwealth, serving as interim head coach during a 2022 season in which the Rams finished 14-17 and led the Atlantic 10 in digs per set.

Now Campbell is just the fourth head coach in Dartmouth history, and she inherits one of the Big Green’s best programs at the moment. Dartmouth finished last in the Ivy League in 2016, Doron’s first season in charge, but by last fall, the Big Green were 16-9 overall and 8-6 in conference play, qualifying for the inaugural Ivy League tournament by finishing fourth in the league standings.

“One of the joys of this past year was going down and cheering on our volleyball program in the Ivy League tournament at Yale,” Harrity said. “We ended up on the short end of that one and lost, but … they displayed tremendous resilience on the court and off the court. They’re an incredible group of young women, and we have a great group coming in as well.”

Campbell, who was officially hired on June 5, has not yet announced the rest of her coaching staff and will have a limited time to implement her system. Dartmouth has not released its 2023 schedule but typically opens the season around Labor Day weekend.

With most students leaving campus within a week after she was named head coach, Campbell has been connecting with the team over the internet, though they did meet on campus before the end of final exams. The Big Green return their kills leader, incoming senior Ellie Blain, as well as senior setters Mackenzie Arent and Karen Murphy, junior defensive specialist Emma Engstrom and leading blockers Bomi Ogunlari and Molly Power.

“The combination of the skills, the systems we’re going to run, which are going to be fast and dynamic and exciting to watch, and the skills I have in creating a team culture of support and excitement, it’s going to blossom,” Campbell said. “They’ll need to learn my systems and my way of moving forward in this game, but the one highlight is that these women are learners and they’re open-minded and ready for this new adventure.”

Benjamin Rosenberg can be reached at or 603-727-3302.