An increasing number of female college volleyball coaches have been
hired to lead Division I teams, in the past five to ten years.
In the story of the NCAA playoff tournament, college volleyball coaches
have traditionally been male.
After three years of record-setting dominance by the Penn State
womens volleyball team, the level of top notch competition has finally
opened up to include NCAA womens volleyball team's from conferences
all over the country, not just from the Big Ten and the Pac-12.
Another noticeable difference comes from the number of female
college volleyball coaches currently coaching Division I women's teams
that are being ranked higher in national polls each year.
Some make it to the playoff and some don't but if you've ever thought
about becoming a womens volleyball coach and you are a female, now is
a good time to try your luck.
Read this section and be inspired. Be very inspired!
Big Ten (6): Penn State*, Nebraska, Minnesota, Michigan, Michigan
With the most teams from one conference to qualify to play in the NCAA
volleyball regionals tournament this year, the Indiana Hoosiers are
arguably in the toughest conference in the nation, the Big Ten.
Indiana didn't make it to this year's NCAA volleyball regionals.
The competition that Indiana's head volleyball coach Sherry Dunbar
faces every week includes top-15 ranked teams like the Fighting Illini at
Illinois, the Penn State Nittany Lions, the Gophers at Minnesota and top
30 ranked teams like Purdue, Northwestern and Ohio State.
Every victory in this conference is almost worth double since the talent
level is so remarkable.
Pac-12 (6): Stanford, Oregon, USC, UCLA, Washington, Arizona State,
Southeastern (5): Auburn, Florida*, Kentucky, LSU*, Mississippi,
University of Florida
Once again, the top seed in the NCAA womens volleyball playoff
tournament are the Florida Gators guided by twenty year veteran Coach Mary Wise. I
In 2010, Mary Wise helped lead the Gators to a 22-match winning streak
and finished the Southeastern conference with a perfect undefeated
record, the first time an SEC team remained undefeated since 2003.
With 22 seasons at UF, Coach Mary Wise, one of the winningest college
volleyball coaches in the SEC and nationwide, Wise has accumulated a
long list of accomplishments:
Coach Mary Wise was hired in 1991 and in her first year as head coach
the Gators finished ties with LSU for the SEC regular season
Florida appeared in the NCAA Final Fourfor the first time in 1992, where
they lost to UCLA in three sets.
A repeat visit to the NCAA Final Four in 1993, made Coach Mary Wise
the first Division I female head coach to qualify for more than one Final
Three years later, Wise led the the Gator to a third NCAA Final Four, the
third in five years which they eventually lost Hawai'i in the semifinals.
That same year Wise was named the American Volleyball Coaches
Association (AVCA) Division I National Coach of the Year.
In 2002, Florida made their first Final Four appearance since 1998,
defeating Temple in the Sweet 16 and Penn State in the Elite Eight,
before falling to eventual national champion Southern California in the
After being 0-for-6 in previous NCAA Final Four semifinals, Florida broke
through in 2003, by defeating Hawaii in the semis, 30-28, 30-28, 23-30,
Appearing in their first NCAA title match in school history, the
Gators lost to undefeated Southern California in four sets, 25-30, 30-27,
Wise became the first Division I female coach to coach in
a championship match. In addition, Florida set a then-NCAA record of
105 straight games won during the 2003 season.
For seven straight years Coach Fran Flory's LSU team was the leader of
the western division in the Southeastern Conference which led by
That seven year winning streak ended during the 2012 season.
The streak was the second-longest in SEC history only behind Florida's
14-year atop the SEC Eastern Division from
LSU head volleyball coach Fran Flory led her Tigers to the 2009 SEC
championships extending her team's record as five-time SEC West
champions in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Atlantic Coast (4): Duke*, Florida State, Miami (Fla.)*, North
Carolina, North Carolina State
Jolene Nagel has been the Duke Blue Demons head volleyball coach for
14 years. Under her tutelage Duke will make their tenth NCAA
womens volleyball tournament appearance, that's 10 in the last eleven
Under Nagel's guidance,
University of Miami
This is the twelth year for Nicole Lantagne Welch as head coach of the
University of Miami volleyball.
In 2013, Coach Welch was voted as the Atlantic Coach Conference
Coach of the Year for a second time, the first was in 2008.
She was also honored by the American Volleyball Coach's Association as
their East Region Coach of the Year.
"As a team and a program we knew that we were a little bit
underestimated this season," Lantagne Welch said. "We had a lot to
prove and were not picked high since we lost a lot of people. However,
what a lot of people didn't know was how ready we were to step out to
the court and compete. It is a credit to all of the players in our program
and the coaches on the staff to how hard we have worked this year to
put ourselves in this position."
In 2013, Nicole Lantagne Welch was named the new head coach of the
UC Santa Barbara team, stepping in for retiring coach and beach
volleyball legend Cathy Gregory.
Big 12 (4): Texas, Kansas, Iowa State*, Kansas State
Christy Johnson-Lynch heads up a near all-female staff of college
volleyball coaches at the Iowa State Cyclones (20-8) who finished the
regular season with a 19-7 overall record in the super-competitive Big
Missouri Valley (2): Creighton, Missouri State*, Northern Iowa*
University of Northern Iowa
"We are thrilled to be able to announce this deal," Dannen said. "Bobbi is
one of the top volleyball coaches in the nation, and her competitive
record speaks for itself. But, even more importantly, she is a great
leader and role model for young women not only in her program, but also
for the young women across our campus, and throughout the entire
Cedar Valley community. Bobbi is a great asset to the University of
Northern Iowa, and we look forward to continued successes for our
volleyball program, and the student-athletes in that program, with her
at the helm."
The University of Northern Iowa Panthers just renewed Coach Bobbi
Petersen's contract until 2018.
Under Petersen the UNI volleyball team has captured four Missouri Valley
Conference regular season titles, six MVC tournament crowns and
reached the Sweet 16 on two occasions
Bobbi Petersen is a UNI alumni and is often referred to as the best
player in UNI's volleyball history. In eleven years as head coach,
Peterson has a 259-73 and was named Missouri Valley Conference
Coach of the Year.
She ranks in the top 10 of active Division I coaches in winning
percentage (.780), with the Panthers winning 20 or more matches nine
of her ten years as head coach.
Melissa Stokes has been the head coach at Missouri State for 15 years
where she accumulated a .684 winning percentage.
With a 314-145 record, she surpassed the 300-win mark against
Delaware in 2009.
Additional accomplishments include:
Stokes has taken Missouri State to five NCAA Womens Volleyball
Tournaments during her tenure, four in the last five years, and the
Bears have finished at least second in either the Missouri Valley
Conference regular season or tournament in each of the last nine
Big East (2):
Big East (2): Louisville, Marquette
Big West (1): Hawaii
Cal State Fullerton coach Carolyn Zimmerman didn't qualify this year but
she has been at the helm of the Titans long enough to accumulate a
108 -131 record.
Mountain West (2): Colorado State, San Diego State*
San Diego State
Deitre Collins Parker
In addition, Head Coach Deitre Collins-Parker was voted the Mountain
West Coach of the Year after her Aztecs compiled a record of 23-7
overall and 13-3 in league play to earn SDSU's first Mountain West
volleyball championship. Collins-Parker was previously named the
Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1998 when she was
the head coach at UNLV.
In 2011 she led her Aztec squad to an 18-10 mark and a 10-4 ledger in
the Mountain West, good for a second-place finish. It was SDSU's best
conference record and league finish since the 2002 season and top
overall record since 2003. In addition, she produced the program's first
All-America honoree (Andrea Hannasch) since 1988 along with three
Sun Belt (1): Western Kentucky
Western Athletic (1): New Mexico State
America East: Binghamton, Albany (N.Y.)*
Albany didn't qualify for the 2012 NCAA volleyball regionals.
MJ Engstrom came to Albany as a top assistant after five seasons as
one of Nicholls State college volleyball coaches.
In her third season as top assistant she helped guide Albany to its third
conference championship in four seasons and produced the program's
first NCAA Womens Volleyball Tournament victory after she was
appointed interim head women's volleyball coach on March 5, 2008.
The Danes finished 24-10 overall and reached the NCAA Womens
Volleyball playoffs second round for the first time in team history.
In the spring of 2009, MJ Engstrom was named head volleyball coach
where she led the Great Danes to their third consecutive America East
Conference title and fourth in the last five seasons.
The Great Danes played in the first round of the NCAA Womens
Volleyball Tournament, taking on #2 Stanford.
In 2011, UAlbany won its sixth America East Conference championship
title, and fourth in the last five years under Engstrom’s tutelage.
Atlantic 10: Dayton
Atlantic Sun: East Tennessee State
Big Sky: Northern Colorado
Big South: Liberty
Colonial Athletic Association: Hofstra
Conference USA: Tulsa
Horizon League: Cleveland State
Butler* didn't qualify for the 2012 NCAA volleyball regionals
* Butler's all-time leader in volleyball wins
* 2010 Horizon League Champion and NCAA Tournament appearance
* Had 7 winning seasons at Butler
* Coached 4 20-win seasons (1996, 2003, 2009, 2010)
Ivy League: Yale
Penn* didn't qualify for the 2012 NCAA volleyball regionals.
The longest-tenured and winningest coach in program history, Kerry
Carr will begin her 16th season as the head women's volleyball coach at
Penn in 2013.
With Coach Kerr the Quakers won five Ivy League
championships and have accumulated nine 15-win seasons, in addition
to back-to-back Ivy League titles and two NCAA Championship
As of 2010, Coach Kerry Carr became the program's all-time leader in
Mid-American: Bowling Green State
Mid-Eastern Athletic: Maryland Eastern Shore
South Carolina State* did not qualify for an automatic bid for the NCAA
South Carolina State
Donika Sutton is in her second season as the head coach with the SC
State women's volleyball program.
Sutton served as the assistant volleyball coach with the program from
2009-2010 and in 2010 helped the Lady Bulldogs capture their
second Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championships (last title won
was in 1990).
Metro-Atlantic Athletic: Fairfield
Niagara* did not qualify for the 2012 NCAA volleyball regionals
Fourth year head coach Susan Clements led her Purple Eagles to
successfully defend their 2010 Metro Atlantic Athletic conference title.
Sweeping Iona in the final, Niagara (25-8) earned the conference’s
automatic bid to the 2010 NCAA Womens Volleyball Tournament.
Northeast: LIU Brooklyn
Ohio Valley: Belmont
Austin Peay* did not qualify for the 2012 NCAA volleyball regionals
Austin Peay's first year head coach Taylor Mott finished 17-16. The
Lady Govs lost in the first round in the Ohio Valley Conference.
Patriot League: Colgate
Southern: College of Charleston
Southland: Central Arkansas
UTSA* didn't qualify for the 2012 NCAA volleyball playoffs.
Coach Laura Neugebauer-Groff begins her ninth season at the helm of
UTSA’s volleyball program. The local volleyball legend has become well-
respected and has:
Southwestern Athletic: Jackson State
Summit League: IPFW
North Dakota State* -didn't qualify for the 2012 NCAA volleyball
North Dakota State
In her interim role in 2010, Thompson went 9-2 and led the Bison to
their third straight Summit League championship and second NCAA
tournament in three years. NDSU finished 20-11 overall and tied for first
place with a 14-4 record in The Summit League.
She was named Summit League Coach of the Year in 2011, her first full
season at the helm, as the Bison went 26-9 and won a fourth straight
Summit League title with a 16-2 mark. NDSU made another NCAA
tournament appearance and achieved the program's highest ranking at
No. 42 in the NCAA Rating Percentage Index.
Western Athletic: New Mexico State
West Coast: BYU
San Diego* didn't qualify for the NCAA volleyball tournament.
Honored as the 2004, 2008 and 2010 West Coast Conference Coach of
the Year, in 11 complete seasons as head coach, Petrie has led San
Diego to nine appearances in the NCAA Tournament (1999, 2001, 2002,
2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 & 2010).