Legacy Locker Room Honors Retired Volleyball Coach

Coach Jeanne Hess Legacy Locker Room 1

Thanks to generous donations from more than 100 households including K alumni, staff, faculty, family and friends, the new volleyball locker room at Anderson Athletic Center will be named the Jeanne Hess Legacy Locker Room.

The Kalamazoo College community has stepped up to honor retired volleyball coach and professor Jeanne Hess, who influenced hundreds of lives over 35 years at K.

Thanks to generous donations from more than 100 households including K alumni, staff, faculty, family and friends, the new volleyball locker room at Anderson Athletic Center will be named the Jeanne Hess Legacy Locker Room.

The announcement was made Friday, Oct. 18, when Hess and K’s 1990 volleyball team were inducted into the College’s Athletic Hall of Fame during Homecoming’s annual Alumni Awards ceremony at Dalton Theater.

“During the course of 35 years at Kalamazoo College, Jeanne Hess served many roles within the K community: coach, mentor, colleague, friend, author and inspiration source, just to name a few,” Athletic Director Becky Hall said. “The locker room will be a tribute to the many lives Jeanne positively impacted and will celebrate K volleyball’s past, present and future. Every contributor to the project will be recognized on a donor wall, serving as a wonderful example to every Hornet volleyball player about the power of giving back, a concept central to Jeanne’s life philosophy.”

In the 1990s, K’s volleyball team qualified for the NCAA Division III tournament seven times under Hess. The coach also created volleyball summer camps and programs for children in the Kalamazoo area, taking her program into the community and bringing the community into the College.

Hess took her K team abroad for cultural exchange and international competition every three years for about a decade. In 2009, the team took a trip to China. In 2012, the Hornets visited Costa Rica. In 2015, they traveled Trinidad and Tobago. Last December, the team returned from two weeks in South Africa. Yet Hess’s day-to-day mentoring on campus and the spirit of her teams meant the most to her players, who hope her deeds will resound for years to come at K.

“The new Jeanne Hess Legacy Locker Room is such a special place for our team,” said Gayle Nugent ‘98. “For current players, it is a place to prepare and commune after games. For all of us—past, present and future—it holds the spirit of team.”

An official dedication for the locker room will be scheduled during the 2019-20 academic year and gifts for the project are still being made. To make a gift in Jeanne’s honor, please do so at our website.

“I was overwhelmed by the level of support for the Jeanne Hess Legacy Locker Room,” Hess said. “I have spent both playing and coaching careers working to advance the equality of women in sport, and this is yet another step by Kalamazoo College toward justice. The locker room, to me, is a sacred space of preparation for participation in this game; this game that means so much to those who love it and work so hard to participate in it. I feel so much gratitude for all who donated, planned and did the actual construction. My heart is full. Thank you so much.”

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Andy Brown

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As the Director of Media Relations and Online Content, Andy shares the stories that distinguish Kalamazoo College through social media, the Web and the news media. Contact him at abrown@kzoo.edu.