Keylor Chan, having completed his 14th season as Northwestern's head volleyball coach, has proven to be one of the nation's most talented coaches. Chan took over the program in 2000, inheriting a team that had won just four matches in 1999, and in three short years he turned the program around and led the Wildcats back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1984. Northwestern also made the tournament in 2003, 2005 and 2010, and have been on the cusp of reaching the postseason in several other seasons while competing in the nation's top volleyball conference.
Chan currently is the second-winningest coach in Northwestern history with 206 wins as a Wildcat and 224 overall. He recorded his 200th career victory as a head coach on Sept. 8, 2012 at Yale and is 208-228 overall in his head coaching career after spending the 1999 season at Furman. Prior to his arrival in 2000, the Wildcat volleyball program had not experienced a winning season since 1990. Now, Northwestern has finished .500 or better in nine of the last 12 years under Chan with a trio of NCAA tournament appearances.
Chan helped bring the Wildcats to the cusp of postseason play in 2013. Northwestern improved its Big Ten ledger by three wins, including a two-match sweep of nationally-ranked Purdue and a thrilling five-set victory over in-state rival Illinois, another team that was nationally recognized in 2013. The head coach helped Stephanie Holthus, the program's all-time leader in kills, receive All-America accolades for a second consecutive season last year.
Northwestern's bench boss helped the Wildcats get out to the best start in program history in 2012. The 'Cats won their first 11 matches of the season en route to capturing four nonconference tournament titles (Marquette Challenge, La Quinta Invitational at New Mexico State, Yale Classic and Wildcat Classic). Coupled with the 3-1 win over then No. 2 Nebraska in the 2011 regular season finale, the Wildcats won 12 consecutive matches for the first time since 1983.
NU had its best record away from home during the Chan era in 2012. The 'Cats picked up 11 wins away from Welsh-Ryan Arena, including triumphs over NCAA Tournament-bound teams Bowling Green, Marquette, New Mexico State, Yale and Michigan State. The 11 wins were the most for any Northwestern squad in road or neutral-site matches since 1990.
Statistically speaking, Northwestern turned in record-breaking performances on both the team and individual levels in 2012. The Wildcats committed only 597 attacking errors marking the first time in program history that the team was below 600 miscues in any season. Individually, several players reached career milestones under Chan's guidance including Holthus, who notched her 1,000th kill and dig, and Madalyn Shalter, who picked up her 2,000th assist and 1,000th dig during the year. Holthus became the fourth player under Chan to earn All-America recognition as she was named to the AVCA Third Team. The junior also picked up All-Big Ten and AVCA All-Mideast Region honors in 2012, as well.
Following the graduation of a pair of AVCA All-Americans in the middle in Sabel Moffett and Naomi Johnson, the 2011 squad featured several new faces in prominent roles. Though unable to capture a second straight NCAA Tournament bid, the Wildcats produced several memorable moments and glimpses of a bright future. Northwestern raced out to a 5-0 start, its best since 1997. On top of that the 'Cats did not drop a single set in those five matches, a feat that had not been accomplished since 1984 when NU won its first 22 sets en route to an 8-0 beginning. Under Chan's tutelage in 2011, the 'Cats posted wins over three top-25 opponents at Welsh Ryan Arena, punctuated by a 3-1 triumph over No. 2 Nebraska on Nov. 26, 2011, in the first match between the two schools as Big Ten foes. The second of those big victories, a five-set victory over Ohio State on Nov. 11, 2011, marked Chan's 100th career win in Big Ten play.
In the summer of 2012 Chan honed his skills as a member of the coaching staff for the U.S. Volleyball Women's National A2 Program. He traveled to Columbus, Ohio to help train the participating athletes and coach during the USA Volleyball Girls' Junior National Championships.
Northwestern put together one of the best seasons in school history in 2010. The veteran squad earned 20 wins for the second time under Chan while advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second time in program history. Moffett and Johnson earned AVCA All-America honorable mention honors after leading the NU offense and defense from the middle blocker position all year long. While coming up just short of an NCAA bid, 2009 will be remembered as one of the most memorable seasons in Chan's career. The Wildcats finished 16-16, improving eight matches from 2008, while finishing all alone in sixth place in the Big Ten Conference. The success was not limited solely to the playing court.
Libero Kate Nobilio, who had already solidified her status as the Wildcats' all-time digs leader, finished her stellar career second all-time in Big Ten history for digs and capped her senior season by being named the Big Ten's Defensive Player of the Year. Moffett also had a breakthrough season up front, ranking among the top-10 in nearly every statistical category en route to earning All-Big Ten honors. Both she and Nobilio were named honorable mention AVCA All-Americans and Moffett was one of 24 players selected to the U.S.A. Volleyball National A2 Team.
The 2007 season proved to be a memorable one for Chan and offered exciting glimpses into the future of the Wildcat program. In addition to recording his 100th career victory, he helped guide the `Cats to an 18-13 overall record. Despite an 8-4 record over the final 12 matches of the year including wins over No. 13 Minnesota and No. 20 Michigan, the NCAA committee left Northwestern out of the NCAA Tournament, making the Wildcats the first Big Ten school in seven years to finish at least five matches over .500 and not receive a bid into the field of 64.
In 2005, the Wildcats won 20 matches for the first time since 1988, had their best record (20-12) since 1987 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history. Northwestern's first-round NCAA Tournament victory came against perennial power Texas A&M, which had not lost in the first round in 13-consecutive appearances.
In 2003, Chan's squad produced an 18-15 record -- its best since 1988 -- en route to its second-consecutive postseason appearance. In addition, middle blocker Erika Lange earned her third-consecutive All-Big Ten honor to become the second Wildcat in program history to accomplish that feat.
With the graduation of a large group of talented players from that 2003 squad, Chan proved to be not only a top-flight coach, but one of the best recruiters in the country. His 2004 recruiting class was ranked No. 20 in the nation by PrepVolleyball.com, while his 2006 class reached No. 14 and the 2007 freshmen again notched the No. 20 slot.
In just his third year at the helm of the volleyball program in 2002, Chan led an experienced group that made an NCAA Tournament appearance for the first time in almost 20 years. The team finished the season with an overall record of 17-16 and completed Big Ten play at 10-10. The conference record of 10-10 was enough for Northwestern to finish in a sixth-place tie with Michigan and Indiana. In his first season as head coach, Chan was faced with the challenge of playing one of the nation's toughest schedules with a young team. His starting lineup consisted of one senior, two sophomores and three freshmen. Over the span of the 2000 season, the Wildcats faced 12 nationally ranked teams, including eventual national champion Nebraska, which was one of the three 2000 NCAA Tournament semifinalists on Northwestern's schedule.
Before taking over the coaching reins at Northwestern, Chan spent one season at Furman University as head coach. He guided the Paladins to an 18-15 overall mark, including a 13-7 conference mark. While under Chan's direction, Furman climbed 22 positions from 167th to 145th in the Sagarin Power Rating.
Chan was an assistant coach for the Wildcats under head coach Kevin Renshler for two years prior to his tenure at Furman. As an assistant at Northwestern, Chan was responsible for the development and implementation of drills and conditioning work, scouting and statistical analysis of opponents, scheduling and team travel. During his two-year term, the Wildcats' Sagarin Power Rating improved from 175th to 38th.
Prior to joining the staff at Northwestern in 1997, Chan spent one year as an assistant coach at Kent State. The Golden Flashes experienced an impressive season under his guidance, as they notched a 20-12 overall record and had their first winning record in the Mid-American Conference at 10-7.
During his time as a student at Florida, Chan also served as an undergraduate assistant coach for Florida's Lady Gator varsity program, which won four SEC titles and advanced to one Sweet 16, one Elite Eight and two Final Fours.
Chan also is an accomplished athlete, having played on the University of Florida men's club team from 1991-95. During his time as a Gator, Florida won four-consecutive conference titles and made back-to-back appearances in the National Collegiate Club Final Four. In his senior season, Chan earned conference Player of the Year honors, All North/South Region accolades, and was a National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) second-team All-American. In addition, he was named to the NIRSA All-Tournament team after leading Florida to the national championship match and a 30-6 season record. He closed out his career second in career kills (1,104) and digs (435), and first in aces (103). Chan's name also appears 21 times in the Florida record books for various match, season and career superlatives.
Chan graduated from Florida in 1995, with a bachelor of science degree in microbiology and cell science. He currently resides in Evanston, Ill., and is married to the former Maren Witzel, a three-year letterwinner at outside hitter for Michigan State. The Chans have two daughters, Elinor and Casey.