LEXINGTON, Ky. - Kentucky volleyball assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Lindsey Gray-Walton was named National Assistant Coach of the Year by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, the organization announced on Wednesday.
Gray-Walton's work as the recruiting coordinator has not gone unnoticed. Her first seven recruiting classes ranked in the top 25 in the nation, according to PrepVolleyball. Last year's class, which had a major impact on the 2017 season, was the highest ranked in program history at No. 5. That class produced Madison Lilley who was the Southeastern Conference's Freshman of the Year and a second-team All-American by the AVCA. SEC All-Freshman team standout Avery Skinner and freshman defensive specialist Gabby Curry were also vital members of UK's success.
Her assistance with the Kentucky passers was highlighted by Ashley Dusek's third-consecutive SEC Libero of the Year award. At the end of the regular season, Dusek led the league in multiple categories, including a passing average of 2.45 (three-point scale) and good-pass percentage at 65.2 percent.
Dusek led the way the 405 digs this season, while four others - Curry, Leah Edmond, Lilley and McKenzie Watson - topped 200 scoops. Both Dusek and Watson are in the top 10 in total digs during the 25-point rally scoring era, while Dusek is second in program history.
Gray-Walton also directs the outside hitters, and propelled Edmond to an impressive season. Edmond was named the Southeast Region's Player of the Year, first-team All-America and to the All-SEC team. Edmond averaged 4.53 kills per set this season, which is No. 14 in the nation. Her 539 kills were the highest kill mark for a single season in the 25-point rally scoring era.
As a team, Kentucky finished the year 29-4 and won a share of the SEC Championship for the first time in Skinner's tenure and also advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time in the modern era. The Wildcats earned their highest ranking under coach Skinner, No. 6, and beat the No. 1 team in the nation for the first time in school history.
Gray-Walton is in her ninth season as an assistant at Kentucky. She's helped lead UK to an appearance in the NCAA Tournament in every season while a part of the program and the Wildcats have not finished lower than third in the SEC in any seasons with Gray-Walton on staff. Kentucky has garnered more than 20 All-America honors and 24 All-SEC accolades, including a program-record five in 2017 during her time with the program.
The AVCA also recognized Gray-Walton as one of its "Top 30 Coaches Under 30" in 2012. A former All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection, Gray-Walton was a standout at Georgia Tech before entering the coaching ranks.