Former Purdue standout Carrie Gurnell is in her first season at Gardner-Webb University as the assistant coach of the volleyball program. Gurnell assists with all aspects of the program.
“I am truly delighted to welcome Carrie to our volleyball staff,” said Sayles. “Her playing experience is top notch - both as an elite player for Purdue and as a professional player competing internationally. Her success as a player with the Boilermakers under Dave Shondell gives her a keen understanding of the steps needed to build a successful program. Those that have spoken to me on her behalf agree that she is more than ready for this step in her career.”
Gurnell starred for Purdue from 2006 to 2009, totaling more than 1,000 kills as an outside hitter for the Boilermakers while earning a spot on four all-tournament teams during her senior season. The four-year starter appeared in 127 matches during her career at Purdue, and posted at least 10 kills in 50 contests - including 24 as a senior.
A native of Katy, Texas, Gurnell completed her prep career as a two-time All-State honoree at Cinco Ranch High School in 2006, and was ranked as the No. 11 recruit in the nation by prepvolleyball.com prior to her commitment to Purdue. She was also listed amongst Volleyball Magazine’s Fab 50 players.
Following her collegiate career, Gurnell played three professional seasons for Volleyball Club Tirol in Innsbruck, Austria as a middle blocker. During her stint with VC Tirol, Gurnell helped the team to back-to-back second-place finishes in the Bundesliga Damen regular season standings.
Gurnell brings a wealth of coaching experience at the camp and club level, including eight years in the junior club circuit and two years coaching young children in the Austrian public school system during her time with VC Tirol. She has participated, trained and coached in the USA Volleyball system, including stints as a player in both the USA A-2 Youth and the Junior National teams.
“She has a great, infectious personality and charisma, and recognizes she is still a student of the game,” continued Sayles. “Carrie is ready to learn the administrative side of coaching, and her experience, enthusiasm, and personality will be a tremendous asset to us in the practice gym and on the sidelines.”
What they’re saying about Coach Gurnell:
“Gardner Webb hit the jackpot with the hiring of Carrie Gurnell. The former Boilermaker star is one of the most loyal and caring players I have ever coached. Carrie is dedicated to becoming a difference-maker in the lives of student-athletes. The former outside-hitter is one of the finest young coaches in America and I am very proud of her continued development. I am excited to follow her journey with the Runnin’ Bulldogs.”
- Dave Shondell, Purdue University head coach
“Coach Gurnell brings a unique blend of contagious personality, versatile coaching knowledge and high level playing experience to the table. She will be a great addition to the Gardner-Webb staff!”
- Ryan Freeburg, University of Alabama assistant coach
Graduate Assistant Coach
Heather Feldman is in her first season as a graduate assistant coach with the Gardner-Webb volleyball program.
Feldman will assist in all aspects of the program, including areas such as on-campus recruiting, practices and scouting. She will also work extensively with the setters and assist with the Runnin' Bulldogs' offensive system.
“I am delighted to have Heather Feldman return to GWU as our GA/2nd Assistant Coach,” said Sayles. “Heather was a tremendous contributor to the advances we made in the program my first four years here. She was an outstanding floor leader, and was a great camp coach when she worked summer camps. She has the maturity, work ethic, energy, and diligence necessary to be a great assistant.”
Feldman starred on the court for the Runnin’ Bulldogs from 2011 to 2014, finishing her career as the 10th player in Big South Conference history – and second at Gardner-Webb – with at least 4,000 career assists (4,545) and 1,000 career digs (1,112).
“On the court, she will use her experience as a setter to help us with our setter training and offensive system, and will likely call serves from the bench as well,” continued Sayles. “Off the court, Heather’s diligence as a student will help her in her role as travel coordinator and video coordinator. Her love of GWU and loyalty to the program will make her a passionate recruiter as well. She is a great fit for GWU, and will continue to be a tremendous blessing to our program!”
The Eden, New York native shone brightly in the classroom as well, earning the Big South’s prestigious George A. Christenberry Award for Academic Excellence after finishing her career with a perfect 4.0 grade point average. She was also a two-time Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree at Gardner-Webb, and was named to the Big South Volleyball All-Academic Team in three straight seasons.
Feldman currently ranks first in Gardner-Webb’s Division I record book in hitting percentage, second in assists and sixth in digs. She also finished her career ranked 11th in Big South history in assists.