After 23 seasons and 433 wins, Todd Humphry will hand over the reins as the head coach of the Freed-Hardeman University Lady Lions volleyball team to a very familiar face, current assistant coach Amanda Cunningham.
Cunningham joined Humphry’s staff as an assistant in 2020 after four seasons as the coach of the Hardin County High School Tigers. She has been in charge of FHU’s junior varsity program since her arrival.
“Since coach Humphry hired me as an assistant coach, I have learned so much more about the sport I love and what it takes to have a successful program at this level,” Cunningham said. “Coach Humphry has built a strong and competitive program over the past 23 years. I can’t wait to see how we build on that legacy in the years to come by continuing to create a Christ-centered culture of growth and excellence.”
Cunningham was honored in the 2022 season as the Mid-South Conference’s Assistant Coach of the Year, while also being tapped as the AVCA’s (American Volleyball Coaches Association) NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) Southeast Region’s Assistant Coach of the Year. Originally from Cookeville, Cunningham spent four seasons, 2012-15, as a middle blocker for the FHU Lady Lions. She tallied 354 kills and 247 blocks. Her 247 blocks have her tied for fifth place in FHU’s all-time block category with current Lady Lion Ann Elise Jackson.
“Amanda has proven to be an outstanding leader and role model to our student-athletes. She has a desire to impact young people through the volleyball program and help them discover their God-given talents and abilities,” FHU Athletic Director Jonathan Estes said. “I am certain that Amanda will build on the foundation that coach Humphry has worked so hard to create.”
During Humphry’s first season at the helm of the Lady Lions, the team went 23-16 to preview the improvement to come. Sixteen of his 23 squads finished above the .500 mark.
The Lady Lions marched through the TranSouth Athletic Conference in 2008, going a perfect 14-0, while completing the regular season with a 32-5 overall record before bowing out in the conference tournament.
The highlight of Humphry’s tenure was the 2011 season, when the Lady Lions went 28-11 with a 12-2 mark in TranSouth Athletic Conference play. After winning the TSAC tournament title, FHU went to the opening round of the NAIA Volleyball National Tournament. The Lady Lions defeated Indiana East 3-1 to earn their first trip to the final site of the tournament.
Humphry’s volleyball teams have found themselves in the top 25 polls twice, the first time earning No. 25 spot in the final two weeks of 2011. The second time they garnered No. 18, the team’s highest, in the preseason of the 2012 season.
“Coach Humphry’s squads have been a model of consistency in the way they have represented Freed-Hardeman University both on and off the court,” Estes said. “His teams consistently have grade point averages in the 3.5 range, and they exemplify Christ in the way they compete and interact with each other. The impact that coach Humphry has had on FHU volleyball will continue to be felt.”
Humphry will remain in his position as head softball coach. The No. 5 Lady Lion Softball team is preparing to compete for another trip to the NAIA Softball World Series. Individuals can keep up with FHU athletics at GoFHULions.com, facebook.com/GoFHULions and twitter.com/GoFHULions.
The mission of Freed-Hardeman University is to help students develop their God-given talents for His glory by empowering them with an education that integrates Christian faith, scholarship and service. With locations in Henderson and Memphis, FHU offers bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees.