Karen Farrell completed her 16th season as CWRU’s head volleyball coach in 2017, after being named to her current post on March 21, 2006.
In 2017, Farrell guided the Spartans to a 19-12 overall record, and finished in fifth place at the UAA Championships. Farrell coached three players to All-UAA selections, including a first team accolade for outside hitter Brianna Lemon. Lemon became the first Spartan since Haley Kauffmann in 2015 to be named to the All-UAA First Team. In addition, outside hitter Karley King was named to the CoSIDA Academic All-District First Team due to her outstanding performance both in the classroom and on the court.
Overall, Farrell’s program has posted at least 20 victories in seven of the last 10 seasons with a third-place finish in the the University Athletic Association in 2015, the program's best finish since the 1997 Spartans in Farrell's first stint at CWRU. She led the Spartans to three consecutive fourth-place finishes from 2010-12.
The 2015 squad also produced the program's first win (and second appearance) in the NCAA Division III Volleyball Championship.
Since 2011, the program has produced 19 All-UAA selections, two UAA Rookies of the Year, two American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Great Lakes region picks, two CoSIDA Academic All-District honorees and two first-team Capital One Academic All-Americans®.
Back in 2010, Farrell led the Spartans to a 24-11 overall record and the school’s first-ever bid to the NCAA Championship Tournament. For their efforts, Farrell and her assistants were named the UAA Coaching Staff of the Year.
Now 12 seasons into her second stint, Farrell has duplicated her previous success with the team. She inherited a program that won just five games in 2005 and quickly increased the win total to 20 by her third season.
Farrell coached CWRU from 1995-98, and came back to Cleveland from Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts where she served as volleyball coach (1999-2005), director of media relations (1999-2001) and assistant athletic director (2001-06).
In the late 90s, Farrell (formerly Karen Chambers) helped guide the Spartan volleyball team to several of the most successful seasons in program history. In 1997, the Spartans compiled a 29-10 record and finished third in both the UAA and the North Coast Athletic Conference. The following season, Farrell coached CWRU to a 24-16 overall mark and a second-place finish in the NCAC.
After the 1998 season, Farrell departed for Clark University where she was hired as the head volleyball coach and director of media relations. Farrell quickly found success with Clark and in 2000 the volleyball team finished ranked 15th in the New England region with a 20-11 record. In 2001, her team was consistently ranked among the top 12 in the region and compiled an impressive 22-8 mark. Already serving as Assistant Athletic Director, Farrell stepped down from her post as head volleyball coach after the 2005 season to serve full-time as an administrator.
Farrell graduated from fellow UAA institution Brandeis University (Mass.) in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology/American studies. In addition to competing for the Judges for four years in softball and volleyball, Farrell also earned high academic honors. Following her time at Brandeis, she went on to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she received her master’s degree in sports management in 1995.
CWRU came calling in 1995 as Farrell was hired as head volleyball and softball coach. She compiled an 88-69 record in four years with the volleyball squad and garnered coaching staff of the year honors from both the UAA and NCAC during that time. In addition to her volleyball duties, Farrell started the Case Western Reserve varsity softball program in the spring of 1996. The softball team was an instant success with Farrell as head coach as she guided the Spartans to a remarkable three UAA Championships in her four years at the helm.
In addition to her duties as head volleyball coach, Farrell currently serves as an Associate Athletic Director and as the department’s Senior Woman Administrator (SWA) and Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
She resides in Cleveland with her husband, Timothy, and two children.
- 404 career wins (through 2017 season)
- Five straight seasons of at least 20 victories (2008-12)
- 2010 UAA Coaching Staff of the Year
- First NCAA Championship Tournament win in program history (2015)
- First NCAA Championship Tournament berth in program history (2010)
By the Numbers
|Clark||77-105||6 (1994, 1999-03)|