Dowling To Embark On New Life Outside Volleyball
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Assistant volleyball coach Jenae Dowling has announced her resignation from the University of Kentucky. Dowling, who will wed Steven Fundingsland next month, will relocate with her new husband who will be serving as a Second Lieutenant branched as an Infantry Officer in the United States Army. The newlyweds will be stationed in Fort Benning, Ga., for at least 10 months while they await Steven’s assignment.
Dowling will head south after Fundingland’s graduation from UK this May. Although this move was slightly expected given Steven’s career, departing the Blue and White was a bittersweet decision for Dowling.
Dowling came to UK as part of head coach Craig Skinner’s inaugural staff in 2005. She has been an integral part in the turn-around of Kentucky volleyball, including back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats ended the 2006 season with the most overall victories, most Southeastern Conference wins, best league finish and first NCAA Tournament victory in 14 years when it defeated No. 20 Ohio in the opening round.
“Craig has been very understanding throughout this whole process,” said Dowling. “When we got engaged, we knew this day would come eventually, but we weren’t sure if it would be this year or next. Steven and I are very thankful that everyone at UK was willing to wait and work with us until we had the official date that Steven would be sent to training.”
The Wildcats have flourished under the direction of Dowling and company as they went 11-9 in the Southeastern Conference in 2006 and finished fourth in the league standings. The Cats have won 21 SEC matches over the past two years, matching the total number of league wins from the previous four years combined.
“It is very hard to say goodbye. I have truly loved my time at Kentucky. I know that being part of this staff was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I have learned so much and had a great time these past two years,” said Dowling. “The athletes on the teams I have been a part of here have blessed my life in so many ways, and I am looking forward to following them throughout the rest of their careers. This university, the athletic department, the fans and the people of Kentucky are second to none and I will miss you all.
“I want to thank Craig for giving me the opportunity to coach with him and learn from him,” added Dowling. “To you recruits out there, he truly is the best!”
Dowling, a native of Fort Wayne, Ind., was a four-year letterwinner at Nebraska for Coach Skinner, helping the Huskers to three Big 12 titles and the 2000 NCAA Championship. The 5-6 libero walked on at Nebraska in 2000 and appeared in 93 matches during her career. She was named a co-captain during her senior season of 2003 and split time at the libero position.
Dowling shined in the classroom, earning first-team All-Big 12 honors three times and was a six-time member of the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll. She majored in finance and graduated with a bachelor's degree in business in May 2004.
“The Kentucky Volleyball family is very excited for Jenae and Steven in this new chapter of their life,” said Skinner. “Although we will miss Jenae’s energy, commitment, and hard work that she has brought to this program over the last two years, we know this decision is the best thing for her as she begins her married life. We are very fortunate to have had her with us over the last two seasons to bring this program into the national spotlight.”