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Jeff Kolpack, Published January 28 2011

Bison volleyball goes with familiarity in hiring Thompson as head coach

Kari Thompson had a 9-2 record and won a Summit League tournament championship as the interim head coach at North Dakota State. That audition was enough to convince women’s athletic director Lynn Dorn that Thompson deserved a promotion.

She was named the 11th head coach in the program’s 46-year history on Thursday. It will be the first head coaching job for the 29-year-old Thompson.

“We felt the search process was complete, and through it all, Kari came to the top,” Dorn said.

She replaces Erich Hinterstocker, who resigned in October.

Thompson was in her fifth season as a Bison assistant coach last fall. Before that, she was a graduate assistant at the University of Alabama for two seasons and a volunteer assistant for one year at Wisconsin-Green Bay, where she was a player.

Thompson said she began to seriously consider the head coaching position after NDSU’s season finished on a Friday night in the NCAA tournament at the University of Minnesota.

“I took the weekend to think about a lot of things,” she said. “I had a very strong relationship with Erich and I didn’t know if it was the right thing. I wanted to take the emotional side out of it.”

One of her other concerns was if she could delegate to assistants. She was a hands-on assistant, she said.

Now, instead of suggesting timeouts, she has to make the call.

“I’m very comfortable making those decisions and not hesitating,” she said.

Her priorities are to hire her assistants, recruit and finish the 2012 schedule.

“The Xs and Os of volleyball will not change,” Thompson said. “My style is that I’m calm, but calm and intense.”

Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be heard on the Saturday Morning Sports Show, 9-11 a.m. on WDAY-AM (970). He can be reached at (701) 241-5546.

Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia