Macey Gardner, Arizona State volleyball career kills leader, is returning to her alma mater as assistant coach.

Gardner is replacing Amanda Burbridge as a full-time assistant under first-year head coach Sanja Tomasevic. Burbridge is shifting into a volunteer position for alumni and donor relations in part because is getting married. 

“I’m lucky adding Macey and not losing Amanda,” said Tomasevic, whose other full-time assistant is Carlos Moreno.

Gardner, of Gilbert, broke the school 20-year kills record midway through her senior season in 2015 before suffering a career-ending knee injury. She finished with 1,882 kills and 1,093 digs, playing on teams that made four consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. 

Gardner was assistant volleyball coach in 2016 at Liberty, where her brother plays basketball. She also has club coaching experience.

“Even if she wasn’t an alum and the stud (player) she was, just getting to know her she is awesome, works hard and wants to get better at everything she does,” Tomasevic said. “She’s so well put together and represents the program really well. There are plenty of girls in this state who want to be Macey Gardner.”

ASU has eight players returning and 11 incoming after a major roster reshuffle following the firing of coach Stevie Mussie and promotion of Tomasevic, who was on Mussie’s staff. The Sun Devils were 12-20 (5-15 Pac-12) in 2016.

Not the only ASU homecoming

Gardner is the second big-name former athlete returning to coach at ASU in the fall. Charli Turner Thorne recently hired Briann January, who still is playing with the Indiana Fever, as a women’s basketball assistant coach.