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Penn volleyball head coach Kerry Carr resigned on Thursday, ending the winningest coaching tenure in program history.

Credit: Ilana Wurman , Ilana Wurman, Ilana Wurman

Penn volleyball head coach Kerry Carr resigned from her position Thursday after 19 seasons at the helm for the Red and Blue.

“I want to thank Kerry for her many years of service to Penn Volleyball and wish her and her family the best in the future,” Penn athletic director Grace Calhoun said in a statement. “We will begin a national search immediately to find the right candidate to lead our program moving forward.”

Carr finishes her tenure as the winningest coach in program history at 282-221 (149-95 Ivy). She also holds the program record for Ivy League titles won with five. Following her arrival in 1998, Carr’s teams won three straight championships from 2001-03. After Carr missed most of the 2008 season while being treated for breast cancer, the team again pulled off consecutive championships upon her return, taking the title in 2009 and 2010.

Penn volleyball has struggled in recent years, finishing below .500 in two of the last three seasons. But the news of her departure came as a great surprise to the players, who were informed in a meeting with Assistant Athletic Director Scott Ward before the University announced the news.

“Our team was very shocked,” sophomore outside hitter Courtney Quinn said. “Throughout our team, we are all best friends, and she has given us that and given us this opportunity to play together, and that’s something that our team will be forever be grateful for, that we owe to her. This was a hard day for everyone.”

“From what I took from after her last game, her postgame talk, it definitely seemed to me like she was coming back,” junior captain Kendall Covington said. “She never hinted — I never really got any feeling that she might not be coming back.”

“I have a lot of mixed emotions,” Covington added. “I don’t think I can pick one exact emotion I’m feeling right now. I kind of take it as, it happens, I’m gonna move on from it, and stay very open-minded as to what’s to come in the future and be able to adapt to that change quickly.”

Carr’s recent graduates were surprised as well.

“I still keep in touch with all the girls that were on the team, and my classmates. Everyone was pretty surprised,” former captain and 2015 graduate Alexis Genske said. “I think she deserves to be remembered as a coach who always encouraged the team to be as close as possible, and she’s someone who definitely wants to challenge everyone, so they’re not stuck in the same place the whole time they’re at Penn. I think she is a very thorough coach, and someone who definitely tries to look at everything from multiple angles.”

"Coach Kerry Carr had an instrumental impact on the volleyball program at Penn," said former star libero and 2014 graduate Dani Shepherd. "I personally loved my experience at Penn and volleyball was a major aspect of my time there. I think Kerry will be remembered for her passion for the sport, dedication to the program and support for her team.

The 2017 team will return all of its players from 2016, but will have a new face calling the shots. Scott Schweihofer has been elevated from assistant to interim head coach as Calhoun starts the process of looking for a replacement.

Penn Athletics declined to comment beyond the issued statement, while Carr could not be reached by press time.