Dani Busboom Kelly joined head coach John Cook’s staff in July of 2012 after spending the previous season at Louisville. The former Husker national champion enters her fourth season with NU and assists Coach Cook with Nebraska’s setters, liberos and outside hitters.
In her three seasons at Nebraska, Busboom Kelly has helped the Huskers to a 75-24 record and three straight NCAA regional final appearances. Busboom Kelly has also helped oversee the inaugration and emergence of the Huskers' sand volleyball program. After starting the program from scratch in 2013, the Huskers turned a 7-7 dual record through the first two seasons into a remarkable 6-2 record in 2015. Both losses in 2015 came to the nation's top-two teams, as the Huskers moved into the realm of becoming a top-10 sand volleyball program in just three years.
In 2014, the Huskers reached their third straight regional final with the youngest team in school history and playing the second-toughest schedule in the nation. With only one senior, the Huskers showed great improvement down the stretch and finished 23-10, upsetting No. 3 Washington in Seattle to advance to the regional final. Senior setter Mary Pollmiller finished her Husker career with AVCA honorable-mention All-America and All-North Region honors, and she was an All-Big Ten honorable-mention pick and an academic All-Big Ten selection. She totaled 1,211 assists in her senior season and finished with 5,230 for her career, ranking fourth in the Big Ten with 10.26 per set. Sophomore libero Justine Wong-Orantes recorded a team-high 464 digs on the season and averaged 3.85 digs per set, seventh in the Big Ten. She became the first Husker in school history to lead the team in digs as both a freshman and sophomore. Her career-high 29 digs against Texas on Sept. 20 were the second-most by a Big Ten player in 2014.
In 2013 Busboom Kelly helped guide a young Husker squad to a 26-7 record, second-place finish in the Big Ten Conference and a berth in the NCAA Lincoln Regional Final. Nebraska opened in a rotation featuring all first-or second-year Huskers in 29 of its 33 matches in 2013. She helped train the Husker defensive specialists and liberos, a group that included three true freshmen, to one of Nebraska’s most successful recent passing and defensive campaigns. Wong-Orantes led the Huskers defensively in her freshman season, posting 399 total digs on the year and an average of 3.50 digs per set. She ended the season ranked ninth in the Big Ten in digs. She tied the school record for digs by a freshman in a season and tied for ninth on Nebraska’s single-season list. Busboom Kelly also helped train Pollmiller as Nebraska’s setter in 2013, as Pollmiller guided the Huskers to a successful offensive campaign in her first season as NU’s setter.
Busboom Kelly helped the Huskers to a berth in the NCAA Regional Finals and a second-place finish in the Big Ten Conference in 2012. The Huskers posted a record of 26-7 and improved their tournament record to 86-28 while making their 31st straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. In addition, Lauren Cook, Gina Mancuso and Hannah Werth all earned AVCA All-America honors. The Huskers also posted four All-Big Ten picks and seven academic All-Big Ten accolades.
Other Coaching Experience During her season at Louisville, Busboom helped the Cardinals to a 24-9 record including a trip to the semifinals of the Big East Conference Tournament. Prior to her time at Louisville, Busboom was an assistant coach at Tennessee from 2009 to 2011. While working with the Volunteers, she guided the team’s setters, coordinated travel and equipment needs and ran the school’s volleyball camps.
Playing Experience As a captain at Nebraska, Busboom moved from setter to libero in 2006 to help Nebraska’s defense and finished her career as one of only two players to rank among NU’s all-time leaders in both digs (1,281, second) and assists (2,873, eighth). She was a four-year starter for Cook, guiding NU to a 124-10 record, the best four-year mark in school history, three Big 12 titles, two NCAA finals appearances and a national title in 2006.
Busboom was considered the Big 12’s best libero in 2006, as she helped NU limit opponents to a Big 12-low .144 hitting percentage. She set Nebraska’s single-season digs record (580) in her first year as a libero, breaking the previous mark of 480 by Amanda McCormick in 2004. As a senior she reached double figures in digs in 32 of 34 matches, including 21 straight matches with at least 10 digs. She notched her best defensive performance at the NCAA semifinals against UCLA, totaling a career-high 29 digs, which ranks as the second-best postseason performance in school history.
In addition to her accomplishments on the court, Busboom excelled off the court for the Huskers. She was a 2006 second-team academic All-District VII selection, while earning six Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll accolades and becoming a three-time first-team academic All-Big 12 honoree. She earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies from Nebraska in 2007.
Following her graduation, Busboom spent time with the U.S. Women’s National Training Team before working as a sales representative for an Omaha insurance company. She has worked as a sideline reporter for radio broadcasts of Nebraska volleyball matches on the Husker Sports Network and also as an assistant coach with USA Volleyball’s Select A2 Program. Dani and her husband, former Nebraska football player Lane Kelly, were married in the summer of 2010.
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