Fairfield University volleyball head coach Todd Kress reached a significant milestone on Sept. 18 with a commanding win over Niagara University. The win was the 500th of Kress’s career, an extremely impressive achievement shared by only thirty other active Division I coaches.
Kress began coaching at Fairfield in the year of 1995 and stayed for four years before departing, according to a press release from Fairfield’s official website. He made his return in 2014 and has led the Stags ever since.
The Stags won the game handily, with KJ Johnson ‘23 leading the way with sixteen kills and two blocks. Junior Ella Gardiner also had a notable performance with eight kills and two blocks. This win wrapped up a strong road performance to start the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) schedule for Fairfield with wins over Canisius College and Niagara.
Reaching 500 wins in volleyball is noteworthy, and Kress believes he could not have done it alone.
“Any sort of milestone or anniversary reminds me of all of the student-athletes and coaches that I’ve had the privilege to work with over the years,” Kress says. “Every win is a team achievement, and all of those people who shared in the individual wins along the way also share in this moment.”
Kress now holds a lifetime record of 500-312 in Division I Women’s Volleyball. The win for the Stags was his 266th with the team, with the rest coming when he led Division I programs at the University at Buffalo, Florida State University and Northern Illinois University. This record gives him a prestigious winning percentage of nearly seventy percent as Fairfield’s head coach.
When asked whether he was aware of the milestone heading into the match, Kress explained he was unaware.
“Last weekend was the start of MAAC play against two strong opponents, so getting ready for that was first and foremost in my mind,” Kress says. “I actually wasn’t aware of my exact win total until I was told on Sunday. So, I certainly appreciate all of the congratulations, but the biggest achievement for us this past weekend was getting back on the bus to campus with two league wins.”
Kress’s focus is well-placed. The Stags look to have a strong season in the MAAC this year but will face tough competition. However, there is no one better to lead the team than the all-time winningest coach in Fairfield and MAAC Volleyball history. The eight-time MAAC Coach of the Year is looking to bring his team back to the top again this season.
“We have potential, but we also have work to do,” Kress says on the forecast for his team moving forward into the season. “The MAAC is going to be incredibly competitive this year, especially with all ten teams qualifying for the conference tournament. But we know that if we challenge ourselves daily to reach and exceed our potential, we will be in a position to succeed in November.”
The stags continued to dominate against MAAC opponents this past weekend, defeating both Marist College and Siena College on the road. Johnson had an outstanding performance against Marist, while Allie Elliot ‘26 and Blakely Montgomery ‘25 led the way
against Siena. Fairfield is the only unbeaten team left in the league and has won 3-0 in every league matchup this year. They are in a great place as they end their road stretch before returning to campus for a few home games.
As Kress looks to lead the team to his eighth MAAC championship, it will be a long road ahead. The MAAC will be very competitive this year, but the Stags are off to a strong start. They look to continue their success against MAAC opponents this Saturday, Oct. 1, when they take on Quinnipiac University at home.