Named head coach on Jan. 15, 2009, Ashley Hardee has quickly transformed University of North Dakota volleyball into a powerhouse program.
In the best start by a head coach in UND history, Hardee raked in two Great West Conference regular season titles, three GWC tournament titles, and a pair of GWC Coach of the Year accolades before leading his team to a successful first year in the Big Sky Conference in 2012. His impressive 88-33 record (.727) is easily the winningest percentage in UND history.
The 2012 squad made a name for itself in its new league, going 10-10 in conference play and earning a spot in the postseason league tournament. UND defeated arch-rival North Dakota State, 3-0, for its first win in Fargo since 1976 and Hardee became the first UND coach to defeat NDSU more than once since Polly West did so twice in that 1976 campaign. A statement sweep over eventual top-seeded Portland State and a thrilling win over Eastern Washington down the stretch (UND fought off seven EWU set-points in the final set) helped usher UND into the league tourney. That 2012 campaign also saw UND defend its North Dakota Classic title, defeating South Dakota and Green Bay in the season-opening home tournament.
Junior Ronni Munkeby was named to the All-Big Sky Conference Second Team while sophomore Lexi Robinson was also named an honorable mention selection. Munkeby was also selected to the 2012 Capital One Academic All-District® Volleyball First Team and was one of seven UND athletes named to the All-Big Sky Academic Team. Hardee's teams have continued success on the court and in the classroom as he's mentored 21 academic all-conference (14 Great West, 7 Big Sky) athletes in his four seasons at UND.
The 2011 season saw Hardee's team collect a school-record 26 wins en route to its third consecutive GWC tournament title. His squad finished in the top 60 in RPI in NCAA Division I, well ahead of any GWC or Big Sky school.
Among the 26 wins was a four-set thriller over rival North Dakota State, a match that packed a record 2,394 fans into the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. UND also took out South Dakota State twice and won a heart-pounding five-set match at South Dakota.
North Dakota dropped both regular season contests to Utah Valley but undaunted, swept UVU in three straight sets in the GWC title game at the BESC. That win sent out that talented senior class as the winningest in UND history (97 wins).
In 2010, the Fighting Sioux finished 25-5 overall and went a perfect 12-0 in the Great West Conference to capture their second consecutive regular season title and tournament crown. The Sioux finished the season on a UND record 15-match winning streak and set a new school record when 1,038 fans showed up to watch the Fighting Sioux take down South Dakota on Oct. 14.
Named GWC Coach of the Year, Hardee wasn't the only one honored for a tremendous season. Junior Annika Smed was named the 2010 Great West Conference Tournament MVP and was joined on the all-tournament team by teammates senior Erin Joki and freshman Erica Turner. To cap off an outstanding season and career, Joki was named the GWC Player of the Year.
Freshman Ellen Krueger received GWC Setter of the Year honors and was named to the GWC All-Newcomer along with classmate Ronnie Munkeby.
Joki, Krueger, Smed, and junior Devin Trefz were named to the All-GWC first team. Joki, Munkeby, Smed and Trefz also received GWC all-academic honors.
In his first year at the helm, Hardee led the Fighting Sioux to both a regular season title and the inaugural Great West Conference tournament championship.
The Sioux reeled off a 22-6 record overall, an 11-1 mark in league play and went undefeated at home for the first time in program history. The six setbacks were also the fewest ever by a Sioux squad in program history.
Hardee, who was the only one of 21 first-year Division I head coaches to lead his team to a conference title, closed out his rookie season with a 12-match winning streak.
For their efforts, three Sioux earned all-tournament honors and senior Megan Langseth captured MVP honors. Langseth also earned Setter of the Year accolades and was named to the All-Great West first team along with teammates Britta Hanson and Trefz. Smed was named to the second team to give the Sioux a league-high four players on the all-conference teams.
In addition, Hanson, Smed, Trefz and Joki earned Academic All-Great West honors for their efforts in the classroom.
Hardee arrived at UND following an eight-year stint at New Mexico State University, where he was promoted to associate head coach in 2008 after spending the previous seven seasons at NMSU as an assistant coach. As a member of the NMSU staff, Hardee helped guide the Aggies to five NCAA Division I postseason appearances and an AVCA Top 25 ranking in each of his last three seasons.
The Aggies went 210-52 (.802) overall and 110-14 (.887) in conference play during Hardee's tenure, including six 25-win seasons.
In 2008, Hardee and the Aggies qualified for their fifth NCAA tournament in the past six seasons and advanced to the second round for the first time in program history. NMSU went 26-9 overall and 15-1 in conference play, capturing the school's first WAC regular season championship under 2008 WAC Coach of the Year Mike Jordan. NMSU was ranked 25th nationally entering the NCAA tournament.
Hardee tutored seven all-conference first team selections in eight seasons, including four in 2008. He also coached three-time AVCA All-American Kim Oguh and a pair of ESPN the Magazine Academic All-Americans. Hardee also served as NMSU's recruiting, academic and summer camp coordinator.
Hardee, a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association, also boasts a wealth of head coaching experience at the club level. He coached the Diamondback Volleyball Club in Las Cruces, N.M., from 2003-07 and twice qualified for the Junior Olympic Nationals. During that same period, Hardee was a Sun Country Region (SURVA) High Performance Head Coach for USA Volleyball and won a national championship in 2006.
Prior to that, Hardee spent two seasons as head volleyball coach at J.H. Rose High School in Greenville, N.C., where he amassed a 40-9 record and won back-to-back conference championships in 1998 and 1999. In 1998, Hardee was named Big East Conference 4A Coach of the Year.
Hardee received a bachelor's degree in health and human performance with an academic concentration in mathematics from East Carolina University in May 2000. Ashley and his wife, Dori, have two sons, Noah and Dylan.
|ASHLEY HARDEE COACHING RECORD
Ashley Hardee by the Numbers
88 Wins at UND
26 Conference Players of the Week
21 All-Conference Academic honorees
14 All-League selections
9 All-Tournament Team members
5 All-Newcomer Team members
4 Years at UND
3 GWC Tournament championships
3 Consecutive 20-win seasons
3 GWC Tournament MVPs
2 GWC Coach of the Year Awards
2 GWC regular-season championships
2 GWC Setters of the Year
1 GWC Co-Freshman of the Year
1 GWC Player of the Year