Returning for her fourth season as an LSU assistant is Ainsley Grimes. Grimes joined the LSU staff in 1999 season after taking a season off from collegiate coaching in 1998.
Since joining the Tigers staff four years ago, Grimes has continued to improve as a coach and take on more responsibilities with each passing year, while helping LSU to two winning seasons and a berth in the SEC Tournament championship match.
“I think through the course of the last year, she has really seen what we are capable of and she understands what it is going to take to get there,” said head coach Fran Flory. “When you move in from a player’s perspective to a coaching perspective, it’s a four to six year process to truly see that.”
As a Southeastern Conference setter at Kentucky, she gained valuable experience that she has been able to translate to two of the career assist leaders in LSU history. Grimes deals directly with the Tigers setters on a daily basis in practice as well as coaching them in the games.
“Ainsley has added a new perspective to us. She has become more of a voice in the gym, she’s become more of a voice running our offense,” added Flory. “She has had great input into adapting our offense to the strength of our hitters, and to our setters, and to our defense. She has great insight in that which is something that I think, she has matured into and has gained confidence in that last few years.”
Flory sees one of Grimes’ biggest assets being the way she compliments fellow assistant Tonya Johnson. The pair, together for the past three seasons, assists tremendously in the heavy recruiting trail that college teams must travel.
“The balance between Tonya and Ainsley recruiting is Tonya has a really good perspective on certain types of athletes, and Ainsley has a good perspective on the other types,” notes Flory. “So I have a great balance between the two of them because I know what type of player each of them recruits, and they know what I want. We can kind of mix them all together and find the right combination for us.”
Grimes is no stranger to the competition of the SEC as she was an assistant coach under Flory at Kentucky in 1997 and played for the Wildcats from 1993-96, also under Flory.
While at Kentucky, she finished her career ranked fourth on the Wildcats career charts for assists. In her freshman season, she was a part of the Wildcat team that finished second in the SEC and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament while going 29-4.
Between her assistant coaching positions at Kentucky and LSU, Grimes served as the head volleyball coach for her alma mater, Louisville Holy Cross High School. As a high school player, Grimes was a four year starter and led the team to the state final four twice while coming away with four regional championships.
Twice she earned all-state honors and she was also a member of the U.S. Volleyball Association National Invitational Team in that time.
The Grimes File
Birthdate: July 7, 1974
Hometown: Louisville, Ky.
College: Kentucky, 1997
College Coaching Experience
1999- Assistant Coach, LSU
1997 Assistant Coach, Kentucky
College Playing Experience
1993-96 Setter, Kentucky