Dogie alumnus inducted into BHSU Hall of Fame

By: 
Hannah Gross, NLJ Correspondent

Now married to her husband, Kelly, and living in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, with their two daughters, Emersyn, 9, and Avery, 6, Kristin Carmichael decided it was time to transition out of her coaching career to spend more time with her family. She is now the assistant athletic director at BHSU. 

 

Kristin Carmichael’s passion for volleyball started on the courts of Newcastle Middle School when she was in seventh grade, and this year her dedication to the sport has earned her a spot in the 2022 Black Hills State University Hall of Fame. 

“Kristin is arguably one of the best, if not the best, volleyball players to ever take the court at BHSU, and we’ve had a lot of good ones. She is one of a few athletes that has been inducted the first or second year of eligibility,” said Steve Meeker, vice president for university advancement at BHSU and head of the hall of fame committee.

Carmichael didn’t let numerous knee injuries stop her from reaching her potential. She played throughout high school, except for her junior year when she was sidelined with an injury, until she graduated from Newcastle High School in 2005. 

From there, she continued her volleyball career to the collegiate level as a Yellow Jacket at BHSU, red-shirting her freshman year. She led her team to the Dakota Athletic Conference Championship twice, as well as “a pair of National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Tournament appearances,” Meeker said. 

Carmichael also achieved the status of three-time NAIA All-American for the Yellow Jackets. 

“So many people were influential in helping me achieve success. My high school coaches (volleyball and other sports), my parents and sister, my teammates, my athletic trainers, the list goes on and on,” Carmichael said. “I think some of the major lessons all of those people helped me learn is perseverance, competitiveness, strategies, teamwork, work ethic, but maybe most importantly just to enjoy what you’re doing.”

That’s exactly what Carmichael learned while she was sidelined on the bench as a junior in high school. She admitted the intense running sessions or long practices weren’t always enjoyable, but when her knee kept her from participating in the training, it taught her to soak up every moment. 

“My personal journey with all of my knee injuries taught me to be patient,” Carmichael said. 

Additionally, her position on the bench allowed her to view the coaching aspect of the game, preparing her to later become the head volleyball coach at BHSU. Graduating with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and exercise science in 2010 and her master’s degree in curricular of education in 2012, Carmichael extended her time at BHSU by joining the coaching staff in 2010. 

The head coach at the time became the athletic director, so Carmichael joined the program in a graduate assistant role because she wanted to help her teammates finish their career, including her younger sister. Carmichael became the full-time assistant before assuming the head coach position in 2014. 

“Kristin is a confident person and a natural leader. She is a role model for young female student athletes with a very good work ethic,” Meeker said. 

Her favorite part about coaching is “seeing other student athletes reach their pinnacle of performance.” She especially loves watching athletes from small, rural communities, who didn’t have the opportunity in high school, bloom in the more competitive environment.

Carmichael said she feels honored to be nominated to the hall of fame, and she hopes the whole team will get inducted for their accomplishments. 

“I honestly wasn’t expecting it,” Carmichael said. “My time at BH gave me all of my very best friends.… I couldn’t have done any of it without them.” 

Carmichael said she loves the competitive aspect of volleyball — whether it’s blocking a hit or scoring offensively off a spike — the compilation of all “feel good moments” is rewarding and makes the work worth it. 

Those “feel good moments” were abundant during the course of her athletic career, according to Meeker. He
said that Carmichael is the all-time leader in solo blocks (146), assisted blocks (622), kills (1,539) and games
played (443). 

She set the Dakota Athletic Conference record with a .404 hitting efficiency and earned the DAC Freshman of the Year in 2006, DAC Player of the Year in 2008, and DAC Most Valuable Senior in 2009. 

Some of her favorite memories from BHSU, however, were the support from the audience. Weston County School District No. 1 often sent its volleyball athletes to watch a BHSU game, and Carmichael loved seeing the local middle and high school kids cheering from the stands. 

“I just felt like that was special being so close to home,” Carmichael said.  

Now married to her husband, Kelly, and living in Belle Fourche, South Dakota, with their two daughters, Emersyn, 9, and Avery, 6, Carmichael decided it was time to transition out of her coaching career to spend more time with her family. She is now the assistant athletic director at BHSU. 

“I’m not ruling out returning to coaching in the future, but I am really enjoying my new job and the more family-friendly schedule,” she said.

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