PROVO -- Jason Watson, the volleyball associate head coach at Kansas State, and Mari Carpenter, the head coach at American Fork High School, have been hired as assistant coaches by BYU women's volleyball coach Karen Lamb.
"I am excited to have these two fine assistants join the BYU volleyball program," Lamb said. "Jason adds a quantitative approach to the game that I am excited about. He is an outstanding offensive coach with very good experience who has been successful in a variety of circumstances. Mari is an avid student of the game with wonderful people skills. She has excellent knowledge of the outside hitter position, which will be a tremendous benefit to our program."
A former All-American setter at BYU, Watson served last year as the associate head coach at nationally ranked Kansas State. He returns to his alma mater after eight seasons as an assistant coach at four different schools, including two with BYU's men's program. After finishing his playing career in 1994 as BYU's career assist leader, he was an assistant at BYU under Carl McGown from 1995-96 before taking assistant positions with women's programs at Montana State (1997-98), Arkansas State (1998-99) and Kansas State (2000-01).
"It's always been a goal to return to my alma mater," Watson said. "I'm very thankful to be given this opportunity and am humbled by the responsibility. Volleyball at BYU is headed by a great coach and it's wonderful to be a part of her staff."
During his time at Kansas State, the Wildcats earned back-to-back top-three finishes in the Big 12 Conference and consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament while achieving a 42-17 (.712) overall record and 29-11 (.725) conference mark. Coaching the setters and coordinating the offense, Watson established a powerful attack that produced several team and individual records, including kills, total attacks, 20-kill matches and conference wins. Watson also helped Arkansas State post a 51-18 (.739) record and earn an NCAA tournament invite while achieving consecutive Sun Belt Conference regular season titles. While at Montana State, the Bobcats went 35-24 (.593) and had the school's best record since 1983 with a 19-12 season in 1997.
Watson has a track record of helping individual players. Under his tutelage, Kansas State setter Disney Bronnenberg finished second nationally in assists, averaging 15.01 assists per game, and Arkansas State setter Jessica Barney led the Sun Belt in assists to earn freshman of the year honors.
A physical education and sports business management graduate from BYU in 1995, Watson was a four-year starter and two-time captain at BYU as a player from 1990-94 as the men's program grew from its infancy to a national power. Watson is still BYU's all-time assist leader (4,649) and single-game assist record holder (128). He was named a second-team American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American, Volleyball magazine honorable mention All-American and a member of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Third Team in 1994.
A native of Homebush, Australia, Watson, 31, was a member of the Australian Men's National Team from 1990-91 and a member of the Junior National Team from 1987-90. He and his wife, Larissa, have two sons and are expecting their third child in September.
Carpenter, 25, joins the Cougars full-time after serving as a volunteer assistant under former coach Elaine Michaelis since January. She has been the head volleyball coach at American Fork High School the past two seasons.
"It's a dream come true to be coaching at my alma mater with such a great coaching staff," Carpenter said. "I expect to learn a lot from Karen Lamb and Jason Watson and contribute in any way I can. I loved my time at BYU and I am excited to be a part of the program again."
A player for the Cougars in 1999 and 2000, Carpenter earned second-team All-Mountain West Conference honors as an outside hitter, helping BYU to records of 31-4 and 28-5 while advancing to the NCAA regional finals and semifinals. The 6-foot-4 hitter was an intimidating figure on the left side, averaging 3.4 kills per game while hitting .340 - a career attack percentage that ranks second on BYU's all-time list.
After graduating from BYU in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in sociology, Carpenter has held positions in the BYU athletics department and with USA Volleyball while coaching at American Fork High School. She was an assistant promotions coordinator in BYU's marketing department from August 2000 to March 2001 and was the director of the school's Cosmo's Kids Club from April 2000 to July 2001. She also serves as the grassroots director of USA Volleyball's Intermountain Region, where she organizes and implements youth leagues and coaches volleyball clinics.
A two-sport athlete, Carpenter earned seven varsity letters in volleyball and basketball. Prior to coming to BYU she was a first-team NJCAA All-American at Ricks College (now BYU Idaho) in Rexburg, Idaho, where she led the nation in kills with an average of 5.7 per game. The two-sport star was named the Ricks College Alumni of the Year in 2000. Carpenter was named an honorable mention All-Pac-10 freshman in volleyball at UCLA in 1995, where she also played basketball. She was a two-year member of BYU's women's basketball team.
Playing at Sky View High School in Smithfield, Utah, Carpenter was Utah's 4A Most Valuable Player in volleyball in 1994 and in basketball in 1994 and 1995. The Logan, Utah, native was a member of the USA Youth National Volleyball Team in 1994. She is married to Matt Carpenter.