Rich Luenemann Named AVCA Division III National Coach of the Year


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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is proud to announce that Washington University in St. Louis head women's volleyball coach Rich Luenemann has been selected as the 2009 AVCA Division III National Coach of the Year, while Ohio Northern University assistant women's volleyball coach Brian Hofman has been named the organization's inaugural AVCA Division III National Assistant Coach of the Year.

In his eleventh season as the Washington-St. Louis head coach, Luenemann led the Bears to the NCAA Division III national championship for the third time with a 3-1 victory over rival Juniata College on November 21 - the program's Division III-record tenth crown overall. The title marked the sixth time in his career that Luenemann has guided a team to the national championship match, and he improves to 3-3 all-time in national title contests and 43-8 in all NCAA Tournament competition.
With Luenemann at the helm, the Bears rolled to a 34-4 overall record in 2009 against a rigorous national schedule. Washington-St. Louis faced 12 teams ranked in the AVCA Division III Coaches Top-25 Poll this season, posting an 11-3 record in those contests. The Bears began the preseason as the No. 5 team in the poll, slipped three spots to No. 8 after an early loss to eventual NCAA Division III semifinalist Hope College, but never fell any lower as the squad steadily ascended the rankings throughout the remainder of the season.

Luenemann came to Wash U. in the 1999 season after 18 years at the helm of the University of St. Francis of the NAIA, where he won nearly 600 matches.  Now in 11 seasons as the Bears' mentor, he has won 440 matches and his teams have made 11-straight NCAA tournament appearances.  This is the third time Luenemann has won the AVCA Division III National Coach of the Year award, also earning the distinction in 2003 and 2007.

Hofman is in his 17th season as an assistant coach with the Ohio Northern volleyball program. The squad's middle blocker coach, he is largely responsible for the success the Polar Bears have experienced in the position, most notably in three-time AVCA Division II All-American Liz Schnelle. Hofman helped ONU to a 30-4 overall record in 2009, a trip to the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Regional final and an Ohio Athletic Conference (OAC) Tournament Championship. In addition to his duties with the varsity program, Hofman is also the Polar Bears' junior varsity coach, the men's club team coach and an Assistant Athletics Director at the university.

The AVCA will formally present both coaches their awards at the 2009 jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, December 17.  The luncheon is held in conjunction with the 2009 AVCA Annual Convention.

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