MacKenzi Welsh Switches Roles with Rise
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Rise on Tuesday announced that setter MacKenzi Welsh will now serve as the team’s director of volleyball operations, assuming that role from Rise head coach Cathy George. Welsh decided to medically retire and forgo her inaugural Pro Volleyball Federation campaign.
Welsh joins the Rise staff that also consists of associate head coach Bill Walton and assistant coach Denislav Dimitrov.
“It has always been a dream of mine to play professional volleyball in the US, making this an incredibly emotional decision to retire from playing,” Welsh said. “Cathy and the Rise graciously gifted me the opportunity to not only remain a part of the inaugural season, but to fall in love with the sport of volleyball in a new and exciting way.”
Welsh played collegiately at the University of Michigan from 2016-19, where she became a two-time AVCA All-American Honorable Mention (2019, 2016) and a two-time AVCA North All-Region member (2019, 2016). In addition, the 6-foot-1 setter was named to the 2019 First Team All-Big Ten and the 2016 All-Big Ten Freshman Team. Welsh concluded her collegiate career with 5,223 assists, which ranked third in Michigan history.
“While it is unfortunate that MacKenzi will not be on the court competing this January, we are thrilled to have her join our staff as the director of volleyball operations,” George said. “MacKenzi’s organizational skills coupled with her high-level experiences, both collegiately and professionally, will serve our team well.”
The Bolingbrook, Ill., native has spent three years playing professional volleyball in Puerto Rico (2022-23; 2019-20) and Peru (2020-21). Welsh has also competed with the U20 USA National Team and earned a gold medal at the 2017 U20 Pan American Cup. She collected two AAU National Titles in 2015 and 2013 for Sports Performance Volleyball Club in Aurora, Ill.
ABOUT THE GRAND RAPIDS RISE
Founded in December 2022 as the first Pro Volleyball Federation franchise and Grand Rapids’ first major-league women’s sports team, the Grand Rapids Rise will make their debut at Van Andel Arena in January 2024. Led by longtime Michigan State and Western Michigan head coach Cathy George, the Rise’s 14-player roster will play 24 games (12 home, 12 away) during their inaugural season. The team is operated by DP Fox Sports & Entertainment and owned by Dan DeVos, who is also co-owner and CEO of the American Hockey League’s Grand Rapids Griffins. Visit grrise.com.
Photo by University of Michigan Athletics