Midwestern State volleyball coach Natalie Burton is stepping down after leading the program for the last three years.
"This is certainly a tough day for Midwestern State Athletics. Natalie has done an outstanding job as the head coach of MSU volleyball," MSU Athletic Director Kyle Williams said. "Coach Burton's dedication to the game and passion for student-athletes will be missed. At the same time, we are happy for Natalie, Brian and certainly Janiyah as they close one chapter and start another one. MSU Athletics wishes the Burton family all the best."
The coaching family has endured a distance relationship. They will now unite in Burton's home state of California where Brian serves as Director of Basketball Operations at Fresno State.
Burton's teams at MSU showed steady improved advancing from six wins in 2015 to 12 the next season advancing to the Lone Star Conference Postseason Tournament. The Mustangs fell one victory shy of posting the program's first winning ledger since 2013 finishing at 15-16 last fall.
She was a part of the MSU staff for six of the last eight years first serving as an assistant from 2010-12 before leaving to take her first head coach job at Newman (Kan.). She returned to Wichita Falls in 2015.
"I have spent half of my college coaching career here in Wichita Falls and at MSU. I've been blessed to have worked alongside amazing coaches and people during my time here," Burton said. "I have been fortunate be able to also create and lead a club volleyball organization, ZIVA, which has grown into a top 20 North Texas Club volleyball. This place will always be a part of me."
The team returns 10 letter winners with six starting matches which doesn't include another redshirt student-athlete for the Mustangs last season. The roster will be bolstered by a solid freshman signing class including setter Alaina Dunlavy, outside hitter Taylor Anderson and defensive specialists Samantha Manio and Savannah Jones.
The search for the next volleyball coach begins immediately.
COACH NATALIE BURTON'S STATEMENT
"I have spent half of my college coaching career here in Wichita Falls and at MSU. I've been blessed to have worked alongside amazing Coaches and people during my time here. I have been fortunate be able to also create and lead a Club volleyball organization, ZIVA, which has grown into a top 20 North Texas Club volleyball. This place will always be a part of me.
I came here with a vision to rebuild this program and leave it with a culture and foundation of winning.
The three-year journey has been full of highs and lows; challenges and victories; twists and turns, and many success stories. I can honestly admit I feel so great, hopeful and proud where I leave this program today. Last year we set out to make it a historic year. Although we didn't accomplish all of our goals, we were able to accomplish it being a historic year in many ways breaking several school records along the way.
The players returning to this program are competitive, talented, and high in character and I believe ready to take the next step to continue to move this MSU volleyball program forward.
Thanks again to Kyle (Williams), Dr. Shipley and the administration for believing in me and giving me the opportunity. Thank you to my players who joined me on this journey and the community for all of its years of support."