Head Coach Nicole Cirillo
Progress. That is what third-year head coach wanted to see in 2016, and with hard work the Jackrabbits did just that. They had an overall record of 5-23, but more importantly, SDSU finished eighth in The Summit League with a 4-12 record. The four victories in league play were the most since the Jacks went 8-8 in 2012 and finished fifth.
Things have been looking up for the program since Cirillo’s arrival.
She has guided four Jackrabbits to postseason honors and one to academic accolades. Ashley Beaner became the first player since 2012 and seventh overall to earn All-Summit League honors as an honorable mention.
Makenzie Hennen and Ashlynn Smith were named to The Summit League All-Freshman team, joining teammate Mattison Munger on the 2015 team.
Ellie Benson was named to The Summit League All-Academic team, becoming just the second Jackrabbit named to the team.
Cirillo, who became SDSU’s 12th volleyball coach, spent five years as the associate head coach at IUPUI. During her tenure, the Jaguars recorded four of their best seasons, winning three Summit League regular-season titles, playing in three consecutive Summit League championships, winning the 2013 Summit League championship and advancing to their first NCAA Tournament. Cirillo also coached a two-time honorable mention all-American in Kaitlyn Hickey.
As IUPUI’s recruiting coordinator, Cirillo recruited and coached multiple Summit League award-winning student-athletes both on and off the court.
During five years as an assistant coach at Missouri Southern State, Cirillo worked directly in the development of the squad’s middle blockers, helping MSSU reach the South Central Regional Tournament and a top-25 American Volleyball Coaches Association ranking in 2006.
Cirillo also was the club director for the Ozarks Juniors Volleyball Club and served as a head coach for several USA Volleyball Juniors teams.
During her four-year collegiate career, Cirillo served as a team captain at Southwestern Illinois College (2000-02) and the University of Central Arkansas (2002-04).
She was an honorablemention all-America and a first-team all-region selection at Southwestern Illinois College, where she played the first two years of her collegiate career.
At Central Arkansas, Cirillo played in 173 games and logged 409 kills, 125 blocks (27 solo) and 62 service aces. In 2003, she helped the Sugar Bears to their first Gulf South Conference Tournament appearance since 1998. Cirillo was also named to the GSC Academic Honor Roll.
Cirillo earned her bachelor’s degree in management information systems from UCA in 2004 and her Master of Science in administrative studies from Missouri State in 2006.
A native of Edwardsville, Ill., Cirillo was a first-team all-conference and all-metro player at Edwardsville High School, earning player of the year honors on the all-area team while leading EHS to regional and sectional championships.
The former Nicole Shoger is married to Kiley Cirillo and they have three sons, Kale, Daxton and Beck.