Our Staff

Marci Jenkins Byers, Head Coach

Four-time Big South Coach of the Year Marci Jenkins Byers has led a resurgence of the Radford volleyball program since taking over in 2008.

Entering her 11th season, Jenkins Byers has guided the Highlanders to a trio of Big South regular-season championships, two Big South tournament championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances during her time in the New River Valley.

Over the past four seasons, Jenkins Byers and Radford have compiled a 112-44 record (69.0 win percentage)––reaching 20 wins in back-to-back seasons twice (2013-14 & 2016-17).

The 2017 season saw the Highlanders post a 25-5 record, while taking a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in Jenkins Byers' tenure. Radford clinched the automatic qualifier with a 3-1 win over High Point in the Big South Tournament. The trip to the Big Dance was the second in five years for Jenkins Byers and company.

The same season saw many feats for Radford including once being ranked in VolleyballMag.com’s Mid Major Top 25, taking down three Power 5 opponents and claiming the program's seventh Player of the Year, along with the fourth Big South Tournament MVP in Maddie Palmer.

In 2016, Jenkins Byers led Radford to a 24-6 record and its fourth Big South regular season championship while under her command. The Highlanders posted a 14-2 conference record with an 11-0 record at Dedmon Center. The 11 home wins are tied for the most in program history with Jenkins Byers at the helm and it is the second time she had a team go undefeated at home.

Jenkins Byers coached her second Big South Player of the Year in 2016 as Maddie Palmer won the award. The first came from Rachel Wiechecki in 2013.

During the 2014 season, Jenkins Byers led Radford to its first win over a Pac-12 program (defeated California) and its first win over a Big Ten program (defeated Maryland). Following a 12-2 mark in Big South play, the Highlanders captured their second straight Big South regular-season title.

A large part of Radford's recent success can be attributed to Jenkins Byers' work on the recruiting trail, where she was able to land All-Big South honorees Rachel Wiechecki, Emma Deininger, Jena Braden, Savannah Cantrell, Cheyanne James, Kelby Jackson, Haley Kleespies, Amaya Rousseau and Maddie Palmer.

Led by five All-Big South performers, Radford claimed its eighth Big South regular season championship and fifth league tournament title in 2013. The Highlanders boasted a 25-10 record after advancing to the "Big Dance" for the third time in program history, where they faced No. 10 national seed Minnesota in Minneapolis. It was Radford's best record since 2000 when the Highlanders went 28-7.

In addition to playing in 14 five-set matches, Radford was tested throughout its magical season. The pressure peaked in the conference tournament where the Highlanders knocked off two-time defending champion Liberty in five sets and No. 2 seed Coastal Carolina in the championship match in straight sets. Despite the lopsided win in the final, the Highlanders had to prevail in the longest set in Big South championship history (36-34 in the first set).

For their success, the Highlanders were recognized prominently in the Big South postseason awards. Radford received three of the four major awards: Rachel Wiechecki (Player of the Year), Emma Deininger (Scholar-Athlete of the Year) and Jenkins Byers was named Coach of the Year for the second time in three seasons.

The 2011 edition of the Highlanders enjoyed one of their most successful seasons, culminating with their first trip to the Big South championship match since 2001, after a third-place regular-season finish.

Under Jenkins Byers' guidance, Radford, despite being hit by a rash of injuries and relying on a young squad, posted a 17-15 overall record and a 9-5 Big South record. Jenkins Byers was rewarded with the league's coach of the year, the fourth in program history.

Off the court, Jenkins Byers' program excels in the classroom, twice (2008 and 2013) earning the top academic team award at Radford.

In the summer of 2010, Jenkins Byers had the opportunity to serve as a coach the USA Regional High Performance Camp in Richmond, Va.

Prior to becoming the 10th head coach in Highlander volleyball history, Jenkins Byers came to Radford with a 30-26 overall record as a college coach after turning around the Chowan program. She also has a 121-49 mark in 10 years at the high school level.

In her two years at Chowan, Jenkins Byers' oversaw a rapid turnaround, taking a team that posted a 4-17 record her first season to a 26-11 mark in 2007. The Hawks led Division II in aces per game in 2007 under Jenkins.

Jenkins Byers' took over at Chowan after two successful years at Mills Godwin High School in Richmond, Va. Jenkins Byers’ first team at Godwin posted a 26-3 record, claiming a district title and a district tournament championship. The Eagles won the Regional Championship and finished third in the Virginia High School League State Playoffs. The following year, Jenkins guided her team to another winning record and a fourth place regional finish.

Her first coaching job came at Hermitage High School, where she served as the head coach for eight years. She never had a losing season at Hermitage, posting an 84-36 overall record. For three straight years, Jenkins Byers’ teams were ranked fifth or better in the region.

Jenkins Byers’ leadership and coaching skills were recognized by the VHSL in 2003 and 2005 when she was selected as the head coach of the Girl’s Volleyball East team.

In addition to her extensive coaching experience on the high school and college level, Jenkins Byers has spent a significant amount of time as a club level coach. Her 2003-04 team qualified for the Junior Olympics in Houston, Texas, posting a 54-21 record. She led her 2004-05 team into a 23rd-place finish in the Junior Olympics, held in Salt Lake City with a 58-17 overall record.

Jenkins Byers has also extended her experience at numerous college and high school camps and her involvement led to invitations to prestigious coaching clinics. This includes the USA Volleyball Coaches Clinic at the Colorado Springs, Colo., Olympic Training Center.

Jenkins Byers is a 1995 graduate of Virginia Union University. She graduated with honors with a Bachelor’s Degree in Secondary Education with a concentration in Mathematics. A four-year starter, Jenkins Byers also served as the volleyball team captain her junior and senior years.

Chris Hertel, Assistant Coach

Chris Hertel is in his sixth season with Radford volleyball after being hired in June 2011 as an assistant coach.

Between 2013-14, Hertel and RU compiled a 49-18 record (73.1 win percentage)––reaching 20 wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2000-01. As a result of the Highlanders' success, the program's RPI climbed to as high as 87th in the nation––its highest in recent history.

During the 2014 season, Hertel assisted Radford to its first win over a Pac-12 program (defeated California) and its first win over a Big Ten program (defeated Maryland). Following a 12-2 mark in Big South play, the Highlanders captured their second straight Big South regular-season title.

A large part of RU's recent success can be attributed to Hertel's work on the recruiting trail, where he was able to help land All-Big South honorees Rachel Wiechecki, Emma Deininger, Jena Braden, Savannah Cantrell, Cheyanne James, Kelby Jackson and Maddie Palmer.

Led by five All-Big South performers, Radford claimed its eighth Big South regular season championship and fifth league tournament title in 2013. The Highlanders boasted a 25-10 record after advancing to the "Big Dance" for the third time in program history, where they faced No. 10 national seed Minnesota in Minneapolis. It was Radford's best record since 2000 when the Highlanders went 28-7.

In addition to playing in 14 five-set matches, RU was tested throughout its magical season. The pressure peaked in the conference tournament where the Highlanders knocked off two-time defending champion Liberty in five sets and No. 2 seed Coastal Carolina in the championship match in straight sets. Despite the lopsided win in the final, the Highlanders had to prevail in the longest set in Big South championship history (36-34 in the first set).

Under Hertel's guidance, Radford led the league in blocking (323.5) and has finished in the top five ever since he arrived in the New River Valley.

In his first season with RU, the squad finished 17-15, including a runner-up finish in the Big South Tournament.

Hertel joined the Highlander staff after spending six seasons as a volunteer assistant coach at New Mexico State, and the past 20 years working in the Diamondback (N.M.) and Empire Club (Calif.) programs.

Hertel worked under the direction of NMSU head coach Michael Jordan since 2005. During his six-year tenure, he was involved in all aspects of the Aggies program, including practice and scouting opponents. Hertel, a 2011 graduate of NMSU, also played an essential part in Jordan’s volleyball camps since 2002.

Along with his collegiate coaching experience, Hertel was an integral part of the club systems in New Mexico and California. An assistant director and coach in both programs, he oversaw training multiple teams, assisted with recruiting and coordinated team travel.

His most recent involvement was with the Diamondback Volleyball Club (2004-2011) out of Las Cruces, N.M. Prior to Diamondback, Hertel got his start at Empire Volleyball Club (1991-2003) in Santa Rosa, Calif., learning the trade from Ed “Bear" Grassl.

Caleb Adams, Assistant Coach

Caleb Adams is in his fifth year with Radford volleyball and fourth as an assistant coach.

Between 2013-14, Adams and RU compiled a 49-18 record (73.1 win percentage)––reaching 20 wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2000-01. As a result of the Highlanders' success, the program's RPI climbed to as high as 87th in the nation––its highest in recent history.

During the 2014 season, Adams assisted Radford to its first win over a Pac-12 program (defeated California) and its first win over a Big Ten program (defeated Maryland). Following a 12-2 mark in Big South play, the Highlanders captured their second straight Big South regular-season title.

Adams' work was exemplified in the development of setter Jena Braden, who he helped develop into an All-Big South performer her senior season (2014). Braden finished her career with 3,494 assists, which rank second all-time in rally-scoring history. She led the league in 2014 in assists (1,315), which were the second-most assists ever recorded by a Highlander in a single season in the rally-scoring era.

Led by five All-Big South performers, Radford claimed its eighth Big South regular season championship and fifth league tournament title in 2013. The Highlanders boasted a 25-10 record after advancing to the "Big Dance" for the third time in program history, where they faced No. 10 national seed Minnesota in Minneapolis. It was Radford's best record since 2000 when the Highlanders went 28-7.

In addition to playing in 14 five-set matches, RU was tested throughout its magical season. The pressure peaked in the conference tournament where the Highlanders knocked off two-time defending champion Liberty in five sets and No. 2 seed Coastal Carolina in the championship match in straight sets. Despite the lopsided win in the final, the Highlanders had to prevail in the longest set in Big South championship history (36-34 in the first set).

Under Adams' direction, Radford tallied 183 aces, which ranked third in the Big South.

In 1984, Adams sat in the audience as a young man watching the 1984 Gold Medal winning team play Canada in an exhibition match. At that moment he was hooked. Although volleyball was not played in the area where he was raised, the thrill of the game never left his heart.

He spent the summers following high school graduation on the beaches of Presque Isle State Park on Lake Erie playing in 4's and 6's tournaments with team Third Wave (also as a co-founder of the team). For himself and others of Third Wave, no formal instruction to the sport was given. In essence, it was trial by fire.

Adams attended North Carolina State University (1993-1997), earning B.S.'s in Mathematics & Math Education. While at NCSU, he spent one season with the club program. Following graduation, Adams gained employment as a math teacher at Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, N.C.

While in North Carolina, Adams worked with two clubs in two different seasons.  The first was an independent group of players from the Raleigh area who called their team "Airborne" (1996-97 - 18's division).  The second club was the now disbanded club, Club Raleigh (1999-00) where his 18's squad participated at the National Championships in New Orleans, La. When he and his wife spent a year in Massachusetts, they worked under Smash Volleyball (2000-01 - 18's division).

Adams has also served as head coach of the Tidewater Volleyball Association Juniors Program working with the 13, 14 & 15's age group. During his tenure at TVA, one squad qualified for the national championships. During the inaugural Beach Elite season (2008-09), Adams coached the Beach Elite 18's squad and served as club director.

In 2009-10, he coached the 17's team, which won the regional bid tournament and qualified for the national championships in Reno, Nev. In 2010-11, Adams returned to coach the 18's team. This squad won the regional bid tournament and qualified for the national championships in Atlanta, Ga.

Throughout his years of involvement with club volleyball, Adams has had the honor to coach many players who continued their playing days with colleges at various levels.

In addition to working as a JO coach, Adams has worked as a clinician, camp counselor and personal trainer while in the Tidewater area. Also, Adams was the head JV and assistant Varsity coach while employed at Leesville High School (1997-99-Raleigh, N.C.) and was an assistant under Kathy Stefanou at Millbrook High (1996-Raleigh, N.C.).

Following a move to Greensboro, he spent a season at Page High School (2000).  Adams has had the pleasure to work with former N.C. State and Citadel assistant Kreg Togami, and has scouted for and advised Jean Lojko, former head coach of Greensboro College.

Beginning in 2008, Adams served as co-head coach at Kellam High in Virginia Beach, Va. In his first season, his squad captured the Ukrop's Showcase and reached as high as No. 62 in the country as rated by Prepvolleyball.com, finishing with a 19-4 record.

The 2009 Knights finished third in the Beach District at 15-6.

The 2010 Knights continued their winning ways, capturing the Volleyball Showcase (formerly Ukrop's Showcase), Beach District regular season championship (co-champs), Beach District Tournament Championship, Eastern Regional Championship, and the VHSL Group AAA State Championship with a 30-3 record.

This feat was bested by the 2011 Kellam squad, which finished the season with a match record of 33-0 (96-4 in sets). The 2011 Knights captured the Volleyball Showcase Tournament and Endless Summer Tournament titles, both the regular season and tournament championships of the Beach District, the Eastern Region tournament title, and the VHSL Group AAA State Championship. Dating back to 10/7/11, Kellam has reeled off 48 consecutive matches (the best in the state). Also, the team finished ranked No. 26 in the country as rated by Prepvolleyball.com.

During his tenure at Kellam, the Knights have had the best four-year stretch in school history (97-13, an 88.18 winning percentage). In his four years at Kellam, the program has placed nine athletes on the All-Beach District first team, six athletes on the All-Eastern Region first team, five players on the Group AAA All-State team, and a two-time AAA State Player of the Year (2010 & 2011), who is current Radford sophomore Cheyanne James. In 2010, the Knights' staff was awarded the Eastern Region Co-coaching Staff of the Year and Adams was honored as the VHSL Group AAA State Coach of the Year.

Adams is employed as an assistant professor at Radford University in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics.

He resides in Radford with his wife, Karen, and five daughters, Trinity, Mattox, Raelin, and twins, Vivienne and Genevieve.