Central Baptist College Athletic Director Lyle Middleton has announced the hiring of a new volleyball coach to replace Sara Mitchell, who resigned April 10 after one season to take a job at a high school in Georgia. Stephanie Irwin, a Central Arkansas native, has been hired as the new volleyball coach and she will begin her duties August 1.
“Coach brings a lot of passion and energy to the program,” said Middleton. “I’m excited about her long term commitment to moving the program to the next level. I think we are very fortunate to have a coach that’s passionate not just about winning but about character and leadership and development of young women.”
Irwin will become the seventh volleyball coach since CBC joined the NAIA in 2009. A native of Beebe, she has been coaching club volleyball for 501 Volley since 2015. Coach Irwin also has extensive volleyball experience as a player. She spent two seasons with the inaugural University of Central Arkansas sand volleyball team from 2016-2018. She posted a 4-0 record in doubles and a 10-7 record individually in her first season, competing as both a number one and number two player for the Bears and earning the 2017 UCA Student Athlete Award. Last year, she was 14-7 in doubles play and 14-7 in singles as well, competing against players in the other five positions on their teams and going 6-0 in exhibition matches.
Prior to playing sand volleyball at UCA, Irwin competed on the court from 2013-15 at Ouachita Baptist. As a freshman for the Tigers, she competed in 27 matches and 89 sets, posting 118 kills, a .160 hitting percentage, seven assists, 21 aces, 40 digs and 70 blocks. The next season, she played in 16 matches and 57 sets with 101 kills, a .192 hitting percentage, three assists, 25 digs and 17 blocks. Her final season at Ouachita was her best season, as she played in 26 matches and 98 sets, posting a career-high 218 kills, a .241 hitting percentage, four assists, 11 aces, 58 digs and 38 blocks.
“I’m excited to be a part of CBC and to grow the volleyball program,” said Irwin. “My mission is to pour into the girls on the court in developing their athleticism and skill, but more than that, my mission is to build character through discipleship to be young women for Christ. Go Mustangs!”
Irwin graduated with bachelor’s degree in family & consumer science with an emphasis in nutrition from UCA in 2017. She is currently working on her master’s in nutrition from UCA and is planning to graduate this fall. She is married to Braden, a physical therapist in Conway and they are members of Second Baptist Church where she also helps lead on the worship team.