Hall of fame. The name alone creates a title of greatness for anyone qualified to enter. For new App State head coach Sarah Rumely Noble, it’s just one of many accolades she earned during her decorated playing career for the Kentucky Wildcats from 2006 to 2009. Rumely Noble was inducted into the British Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017 along with fellow Wildcat athletes Randall Cobb and John Wall.
“It was amazing and really humbling to be a volleyball player entering the Hall of Fame,” Rumely Noble said. “The university as a whole was really excited about volleyball and excited to honor someone who helped lay the groundwork.”
Rumely Noble was instrumental in transforming Kentucky into the powerhouse it is today. Joining a 3-13 Kentucky team coached by a new Craig Skinner, Rumely Noble came in as a starter, made an immediate impact by winning SEC Freshman of the Year in 2006.
“When you get into a program and you fight to build something, you have to fight for it every day and you have to work hard,” Rumely Noble said. “I really just bought into this vision of wanting to build something and do something really special.”
After winning the SEC Freshman of the Year, Rumely Noble continued to improve as a player. She started living for volleyball, training hard every day not only to improve herself, but also to improve the team.
“There has never been a day that I thought, ‘Oh my God, I have to go practice today,’ Rumely Noble said. “Training has become my championship. where my confidence comes from is knowing that when I entered a field, I had passed the people around me.
The Wildcats became dominant with Rumely Noble at the helm. She led the team to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances, making it through to the Sweet 16 her senior year. In 2008, Rumely Noble had her best year as a player, winning SEC Player of the Year.
“Sarah was one of the main reasons Kentucky became a national name in the sport of volleyball,” Skinner said. “I have no doubt she will do great things as the helm of App State volleyball.”
When Rumely Noble graduated from Kentucky, she left as one of the most dominant players in program history. She left the program as the SEC’s all-time leading passer and sixth all-time in the SEC with 5,703 assists. She also leads the Wildcats program in service ace with 165. Rumely Noble was a four-time All-SEC passer, making two SEC first teams and a second team with the Wildcats.
After her time at Kentucky, Rumely Noble spent time playing overseas in France’s top professional division, Ligue 1, where she was the starting setter for Nantes Volley Feminin from 2010 to 2011.
“Learning to play in a different culture shaped me,” Rumely Noble said. “I definitely learned from the coaches and the style they do there and took pieces of that to shape certain parts of me.”
After a short stint professionally, Rumely Noble knew she wanted to continue with volleyball. She had more to give to the game and wanted to continue sharing her love and knowledge of the sport.
“When I realized who I was and how volleyball shaped that, I wanted to be able to pay that off to the athletes I was able to coach,” Rumely Noble said. “At the end of the day, that’s why I wanted to become a coach.”
Rumely Noble began her coaching career in 2011, traveling to North Texas University to become an assistant coach. There, Rumely Noble coached passers and coordinated the offense, leading North Texas to 26 wins in its 2012 season.
After North Texas, Rumely Noble went to Wake Forest where she served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator from 2013-2015. As an assistant, Rumely Noble was credited with recruiting three players who were named to All-ACC teams.
Rumely Noble would return to the SEC as a coach in 2015, heading to the University of Arkansas to become an assistant coach and Recruitment Coordinator. There, she spent two seasons with the Razorbacks, leading offense in 2015 and defense in 2016.
Rumely Noble found a more permanent home at Louisiana State University, where she spent five seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. There, she is credited with introducing nationally ranked recruiting classes for the Tigers. She also helped the Tigers to the NCAA Tournament in 2017, while coaching two freshmen to All-SEC first. team selections.
In her final season with the Tigers, Rumely Noble was named associate head coach for the first time. From there, she would never look back, making plans for the day she would eventually coach a team.
“I worked very hard in my career to make sure I made the right choices professionally, to be around the right coaches who would work to develop me,” Rumely Noble said. “I am ready to do this. I’m ready to make it mine.
The Mountaineers hired Rumely Noble on January 13, making her the ninth head volleyball coach in Mountaineers history. Rumely Noble immediately began making changes to the program, starting with the coaching staff, bringing in two new assistants in Connor Zimmick and Chanelle Hargreaves.
“Our three coaches are really good,” said elder McCall Denny. “I think all three of them bring something different to the table, and I think the team has a lot of confidence in them.”
Coach Zimmick was hired by Rumley Noble to join the Mountaineers shortly after being named head coach. Zimmick comes to App State with an impressive coaching resume, acting as an assistant to Kelly Sheffield from Wisconsin and Craig Skinner from Kentucky. While at Wisconsin, Zimmick would help coach the Badgers to the Finals in 2015 and the Semi-Finals in 2016. Zimmick would then go to Kentucky as a graduate assistant, helping the Wildcats. program to SEC titles in 2018 and 2019. Zimmick was hired by Butler as an assistant coach after Kentucky, spending the previous two years there.
“This opportunity to go into a program that was kind of starting over and kind of on the bottom and we’re trying to get to the top, that was really intriguing to me,” Zimmick said.
Rumely Noble also hired Chanelle Hargreaves in February to complete her coaching hires. During her time as a player, Hargreaves was a four-year defensive specialist in Florida from 2016 to 2019. During her four seasons, she helped the Gators win three SEC titles and enter the NCAA Tournament in the past few years. four seasons she played.
“Our staff really balances out from a skills perspective,” Rumely Noble said. “The energy we bring as a collective carries over into our team and into our program, and the girls are going to emulate that.”
As a coach, Rumely Noble is committed to App State volleyball and its players. As soon as she was hired, she did a statistical analysis of the Sun Belt to see how the team could improve. She then immediately began working with the team, making the necessary changes she felt were necessary to help the team get back to winning ways.
“We arrived on day one and we all got new services,” Denny said. “She lined us up in lines and said that’s how we were going to serve, and we all started straight from scratch like we had never served before.”
That wasn’t the only change Rumely Noble instilled upon stepping in as head coach, she also kept her same ideas about coaching. Rumely Noble welcomes competitiveness and high energy into his practices, with the team always moving at game speed.
“Effort is never in question with new coaches,” Denny said. “We’re still going, people hitting the walls, the posts, it’s a really good effort, it’s still 100 per cent here.”
Now that the season is approaching, Rumely Noble is ready to make her debut as a head coach. Making big goals earlier this year, Rumely Noble hopes to not only start rebuilding the program, but “push the top half of the Sun Belt”.
“I’m thrilled to see this group of 17 and just the team we’re becoming throughout the year,” Rumely Noble said.