Volleyball head coach Alexa Keckler assists players on proper form. During her four years as head coach, Keckler has led her team to the Patriot League Tournament. (Annalise Kelloff/B&W Staff)

Volleyball Head Coach Alexa Keckler takes family-oriented approach to coaching

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Head coach, Alexa Keckler, coaches her players as they practice on Sept. 9, 2021, in Grace Hall. 2021 is Keckler’s fourth year as head coach of the Lehigh volleyball program. (Annalise Kelloff/B&W Staff)

Alexa Keckler, head coach of the Lehigh volleyball team, begins this season with a record of 39-35 over her past four years with the program.

 During her time with the program, Keckler has led Lehigh to a Patriot League Tournament berth in 2019 and has had five players earn Second Team All-Patriot League honors, as well as three Academic All-Patriot League selections. 

As a mother of four, Keckler’s players said that she brings a family-oriented approach to coaching.

Emily Poole, a graduate assistant who played for Keckler for two years, attested to Keckler’s developmental strategies and her relationships with players.

“She’s a wonderful person to play for and work with now,” Poole said. “She’s incredibly family-driven. She cares a lot about her athletes both as players and as people.”

Poole said Keckler’s coaching style is a blend of cheering her athletes on while also keeping analytics in mind.

Players echoed those sentiments when describing Keckler’s in-game coaching style.

“She’s definitely (a) very analytical coach, and she really makes sure that she and the coaching staff get straight to the point,” said Hannah Wright, a fifth-year senior. 

Keckler said her foundational coaching practices stem from something she learned growing up.

“One of the biggest things I heard was that your players don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” Keckler said. “For me, it’s important to make sure they know that I care about their overall well-being and it’s not just about performance on the court.” 

Before Lehigh, Keckler spent eight seasons coaching at Muhlenberg College, where she compiled a record of 141 wins and 96 losses. 

Keckler said the transition from Division III to Division I was more challenging than she initially expected. She said Division I requires more time and there is more difficulty in recruiting from balancing out scholarships and non-scholarships.

Keckler said that changing the program’s dynamic is still a work in progress.

“For me (it’s been important) to change the composure (and) the composition of the team to be more dynamic, more athletic and more well-rounded from a ball control standpoint,” Keckler said. “Because if we have that, we are capable of doing so much more in the gym.”

After a season that was impaired by COVID-19, Keckler is excited about being able to coach a full season again.

Keckler and the Mountain Hawks return home on Sept. 14 for a matchup against the University of Pennsylvania.

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