MSU Hires Natalie Rawson as Volleyball Coach

Natalie Burton has stepped down from her post as MSU volleyball coach in order to join her husband in California, where he works at Fresno State / Source: KAUZ
Natalie Burton has stepped down from her post as MSU volleyball coach in order to join her husband in California, where he works at Fresno State / Source: KAUZ

Natalie Rawson transformed Newman (Kan.) into a winning program helping the Jets to their two most successful seasons as an NCAA Division II member over the past two seasons.

She will get the same opportunity at Midwestern State as Rawson was named the program's eighth head coach Tuesday afternoon.

"We are very excited to welcome an energetic and special coach with ties to Wichita Falls back to the program," MSU Athletic Director Charlie Carr said. "Natalie has a proven ability on the floor and is a great mentor of student-athletes."

Rawson compiled a 30-26 record over the last two season at Newman, which is located in Wichita, Kan., posting a 15-12 mark in 2013 then matched the win total last fall leading the Jets to their first Heartland Conference postseason appearance since 2010 with a 9-7 league mark.

"I'm so proud of how far we came together," Rawson said. "We set out to build a family and leave a legacy. I am looking forward to creating a vision to drive us here at Midwestern."

She coached two All-Heartland Conference selections and mentored the league's Freshman of the Year in 2013.

"Wichita Falls became home for me and it's exciting to come back home," Rawson said. "It's fun to come back to familiar faces. Everyone is supportive here. I am looking forward to building on the tradition at MSU."

Rawson served as a first assistant at MSU from 2010-12 helping the Mustangs to three consecutive Lone Star Conference Postseason Tournament appearances.

She also played a key role in the development of local volleyball talent founding the Zone-In Volleyball Academy (ZIVA).

"To see ZIVA flourishing is great," Rawson said. "It is even more important to grow the bond between MSU volleyball and the community."

Rawson takes over for Venera Flores-Stafford, who posted the most wins (179) and is the longest tenured coach in program history serving the past 11 years at the helm. The Mustangs posted three 20-win campaigns advancing to the NCAA Division II national tournament in 2007.

"This hire allows us to provide our volleyball program with someone who can focus on our volleyball team exclusively," Carr said. "It also allows our associate athletic director the time to concentrate on our business affairs and provide valuable assistance in fund raising and student-athlete retention."

Prior to arriving at MSU, Rawson spent the 2009 season as the top assistant at the University of Louisiana-Monroe, an NCAA Division I program that competes in the Sun Belt Conference. She would serve as the interim head coach of the program after John Schmidt resigned following the season.

The California native spent the previous two years as the assistant coach at Marshalltown (Iowa) Community College where she was instrumental in helping the team to a 54-44 overall record.

Rawson mentored two NJCAA All-Americans at Marshalltown as the Tigers soared to a No. 11 national ranking during her two-year stint (2007-08).

Prior to working as an assistant at Marshalltown, she assisted with the Fusion Volleyball program in Valencia, Calif. Her technical expertise helped numerous players sign with Division I programs from across the country.

Rawson was a standout volleyball and softball student-athlete at Colgate University from 2001-05 where she earned first-team all-conference recognition and was named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year in volleyball.

She twice led the league in digs along with earning her way on to the Patriot League Honor Roll on two occasions.