Don Perkins has been the head coach of the Kean University women’s volleyball program since 2009. In nine seasons at Kean, Perkins has won 181 games and qualified for the postseason in each of the last six years.
Perkins had arguably his best season in 2017 with 28 wins, the school's first NJAC Championship and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament (the school's first since 2001). Perkins earned his first NJAC Coach of the Year honor and had five All-NJAC selections, including the Player of the Year in Sara Ridgway. Ridgway went on to become the first All-American in program history.
As of 2018, Perkins becomes the first head coach in the Kean Athletic Department history to win a conference championship and make the NCAA tournament with two different programs.
In 2016, Perkins amassed 21 wins as Jesse Larkin was named the NJAC Rookie of the Year and the Cougars made their fifth straight appearance in the postseason.
Perkins led the Cougars to 21 victories and their fourth-straight postseason appearance in 2015. Brett Harper was named the NJAC Rookie of the Year and senior Lisa DeGroot eclipsed the Kean career record for digs during the season.
The 2013 Cougars won 24 matches and captured the 2013 ECAC Metro-Upstate Championship, the first postseason title for the program since 2001. In 2012, the Cougars posted a 28-11 record and won at least 20 matches for the second time in three years. They also advanced to the postseason for the first time in six years by qualifying for both the NJAC and ECAC Tournaments.
Perkins also coached the Kean men's team for its first three varsity seasons. He led the upstart program to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments and Skyline Conference titles. Perkins was named the Skyline Men's Volleyball Coach of the Year in 2013. After that season, he handed off the reigns of the program to Coach Charlie Ginex.
Perkins joined the Cougar staff in 2009 after a two-year stint as the assistant coach at Mississippi State University. While at Mississippi State, he was responsible for working with the outside hitters as well as strengthening the serving game. At MSU, he coordinated the recruiting program and oversaw team travel and scheduling.
Prior to arriving at Mississippi State, Perkins was the head coach at SUNY-Poly (The State University of New York Polytechnic Institute). While at SUNY-Poly, Perkins restructured the women's program while also undertaking the task of developing a varsity level men's program.
In all, Perkins has over 16 years of coaching experience ranging from summer camps and club teams to working with USA Volleyball in training and evaluation. He also established the High Performance Program for Upstate New York, and created the Great Nor'easter youth volleyball tournament in Albany, New York. Perkins was also a student-athlete at Syracuse University and was a member of the men's volleyball club.
Perkins earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Syracuse University in 2000 and his master's degree in public administration from the University of Albany, Nelson A. Rockefeller School of Public Affairs in 2002. He was a member of the NCAA Division III women’s volleyball committee from 2014-2017 and is a voter in the American Volleyball Coaches Association Top-25 poll.
Alix Denison returns for a third season as an assistant coach with the women’s volleyball program in 2018. Denison was on Coach Perkins staff in 2017, which helped the Cougars capture their first NJAC title and make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001.
Denison earned a bachelor of science degree from Kean in 2015 in psychology and recently earned a masters of arts degree in counseling from Kean in 2018.
A three-year starter and four-year team member of the Cougars, Denison finished her collegiate career with 565 digs, 379 kills, 145 aces, 48 assists and 44 blocks. She was named to the Kean Invitational All-Tournament Team in 2014 .
Denison has coached previously at Central Jersey Volleyball Academy and Allegro Volleyball Club since 2011. The Colorado native played with Northern Colorado (NorCo) and the Colorado North Stars.
Audrey O’Donnell is with the Cougars for her fifth season overall and fourth straight in 2018. O’Donnell was previously the Cougars’ assistant coach in 2009, and followed that with stints at Montclair State (2010-11) and Stevens Institute of Technology (2011-13). O'Donnell was on Coach Perkins staff in 2017, which helped the Cougars capture their first NJAC title and make the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2001.
O’Donnell played NJAC Volleyball at Stockton University, where she won two NJAC titles (2006,2008), made two NCAA Tournaments (2006,2008), was the 2008 NJAC Player of the Year, an All-American and a three-time all-conference selection. She earned her bachelor of arts in anthropology from Stockton in 2009.
She has coached at the Cutshot Volleyball Club for three seasons and is still an active athlete in the volleyball community.
Hayley Merrill joins the women’s volleyball coaching staff in her first season in 2018
Merrill previously served as a volunteer assistant coach at Montclair State in 2017.
Merrill played NJAC volleyball at Montclair State (2014, 2016) and Rutgers-Newark (2015). As a member of the Red Hawks, she won an NJAC Championship in 2016, was named an AVCA New York All-Region selection, an All-NJAC first team selection, the MSU Female Athlete of the Year, and a NJAC All-Academic Team selection, while earning a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a Child Advocacy & Policy Certificate in 2018.
She is a head coach at the Princeton Volleyball Club, while being a beach volleyball coach at the East Coast Beach Volleyball Academy and an Assistant Coach at the Princeton Volleyball Club.