Longtime Eagan volleyball coach Kathy Gillen and her daughter McKenna Melville talked many times about a possible succession plan, with daughter taking over the volleyball program from mother when the time was right.

Which is now.

Gillen, a Hall of Fame volleyball coach who ran the program since the school's inception in 1989 (save for a three-year hiatus when her children were in elementary school), has stepped down after more than 30 years, seven state championships (1997, '98, 2001, '03, '13, '15 and '16) and 711 victories.

"I still love it," Gillen said. "I just think the program needs a new tone, new energy. I don't feel like I have the energy anymore to propel the program forward."

Melville, a former All-State player at Eagan and the Star Tribune Metro Player of the Year in 2017, will take over as head coach. Melville completed an All-America career as an outside hitter at Central Florida last fall as the school's career leader in kills.

Melville is finishing her student teaching requirement in Florida and already has accepted a position teaching math at Eagan.

Gillen, who teaches at Eagan, said her daughter's future position at the school factored into her decision to step down.

"I've been thinking about it for a couple of years," she said. "When McKenna accepted the job here, I asked her if she'd want to coach here. You always want to teach where you coach. She said, 'Yes, if you will be my assistant.' "

Gillen said Melville initially proposed she serve a short period as her mother's assistant. Gillen quickly nixed that idea: "I said no. I kind of wanted to be done last year."

Melville then asked her mother to be her assistant, to which Gillen quickly agreed. "It was a resounding yes," she said.

"She's got all of the leadership qualities to be a successful coach, and she's phenomenal with kids," Gillen said. "And I'll be here to help her with some of the less desirable aspects of the job. She will be doing all of the practice planning, all of the summer stuff, all of the things I've been doing for so long. With her energy and her passion, it's so exciting."