TWIN FALLS, Idaho ( KMVT / KSVT ) "This is my two-year stop so I can get the training and playing at a high level to be able to perform at the next institution," exclaimed Heidi Cartisser in October on her future All-American Aiyi Miyabe.
That sentiment represents the purpose of junior college sports and hundreds of volleyball players have Heidi Cartisser to thank, but unfortunately future CSI athletes won't be able to have that luxury.
Legendary head volleyball coach Heidi Cartisser passed away Tuesday morning in her sleep according to her family. She was 44 years old.
She just finished her 23rd season as a head coach and leading her Golden Eagles to a national runner–up finish.
Cartisser just earned American Volleyball Coaches Association West Region Coach of the Year honors and her star player Airi Miyabi made the NJCAA All-American second team.
In her 12 years at CSI, she has added three NJCAA National Championship trophies to the trophy case in 2009, 2012 and 2015.
During the past 10 years, Cartisser has coached 13 NJCAA All -Americans, three NJCAA National Tournament MVP's, nine players named to the NJCAA all–tournament team and one AVCA Player of the Year.
Prior to her CSI days, she coached at Treasure Valley and Chicago State.
In her last season there, CSU finished with the most wins ever by the Division I school.
Cartisser played for CSI from 1991 through 93, graduating from Alberston College in 1995.
She'll be survived by her husband Jim and their five children, Cody, Canyon, Cason, Cailey and Carli.
CSI announced that the family respectfully requests privacy. Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
Current and former players took to Twitter in response to the news:
Lacey McEwan said, "my heart is heavy today...I love you Coach Heidi and I am so grateful for everything you did for me and our team. praying for the Cartisser family. You will be greatly missed and never forgotten. Rest in peace."
Esti Wilson simply says "love her."
Jessi Seumalo tweeted, "very saddened by the news. Heidi was not only an amazing coach, but an incredible mentor and friend. I am so honored to have played under her and Jim, and am extremely thankful for everything they did for me. All my love and prayers to the Cartisser family.
Jojo Kruize, "I am so heartbroken, I love you coach, rest in love."
And Pati Anae, "my heart is hurting for you Jim. rest in love and peace Heidi. I am eternally grateful for all you have done to prepare me for where I am today. your legacy as the greatest coach lives forever. My love and condolences to the Cartisser family."