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Christopher Brandt, an Illinois native with Division III playing and NAIA coaching experience, is Lakeland College's new assistant women's volleyball and head men's club volleyball coach.
Brandt comes to Lakeland after serving as a graduate assistant coach at Robert Morris University (Ill.) the past two seasons. He helped the Eagles to a 44-29 record, their first-ever conference championship and NAIA tournament bid. The program had one All-American Honorable Mention and two All-Region players.
The Darien, Ill., native was also the head coach of the Chicago Hits volleyball team. He amassed a 26-8 record in two years, while also finishing in the top five twice at the Nation Senior Olympic games.
"I'm excited to get started," said Brandt. "I've had the opportunity to work with both the women's and men's program at RMU, which I feel has prepared me for this job. My playing and coaching background has given me the experience that will transition well into my role at Lakeland."
As a player, Brandt was a four-year starting setter at the Milwaukee School of Engineering. He helped the Raiders to the 2010 Midwest-III Conference Championship. MSOE defeated its first top-10 team in 2009, with Brandt leading the way. In 2010, he also set the school record for assists in a match with 66. Brandt closed out his Raider career with 3,925 assists, which ranks first in MSOE history.
Brandt is a three-time Midwest-III Conference selection and a two-time Academic All-Conference award winner. He was also 2010 Midwest-III most valuable player and in 2009 received AVCA Player of the Week honors. He was selected as MSOE Athlete of the Year in 2010 and was the team MVP three times.
Brandt takes over a young Lakeland team that struggled through inconsistent play and finished 22-24 overall, 6-7 in the Wisconsin Volleyball Conference. The program has made four national title appearances, including a national championship in 2008, and won four WVC championships, while finishing second numerous times.
"The goal for the men's program year in and year out is to be one of the best teams in the nation," said Brandt. "To be successful in our goals we have to be the best serving, blocking and mentally strong team in the country. To get back to national prominence, I will have high expectations for each player both mentally and physically. I will be working with each player to help them reach their potential."
Lakeland athletic director Jane Bouche shared her enthusiasm for the hiring and her desire to continue to build on the tradition that exists within the program.
"We're looking forward to seeing Chris' passion and enthusiasm for volleyball impact our program," said Bouche. "His experience as a player and coach has been good preparation for him to become a head coach. He is, of course, aware of our program's strong tradition, and he embraces the opportunity to build on what we have already accomplished."
Lakeland head women's volleyball coach Kim Bukowski shared her excitement for the hiring. "I am so excited for Chris to be part of our volleyball program. He played the game at a high level at MSOE and I am confident that his knowledge and background will help raise our level of play. His enthusiasm for women's volleyball will bring a lot to our program in both recruiting and on-court improvement. "
Brandt graduated from MSOE in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in business marketing. He earned a master's in business administration from Robert Morris University in 2012.