2008 AVCA Division I Region Coaches of the Year


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2008 AVCA Division I Region Coaches of the Year


LEXINGTON, Ky. - The following coaches have been selected by their region as the 2008 AVCA Division I Region Coach of the Year. Each of the honorees will represent their region on the 2008 AVCA National Coach of the Year ballot. The awards will be officially presented at the 2008 jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon in Omaha, Neb., on Thursday, Dec. 18, at the 2008 American Volleyball Coaches Association Annual Convention.

AVCA Division I Central Region Coach of the Year
John Cook, University of Nebraska
2008 Record: 29-2, 18-2 Big 12
Despite losing four AVCA All-Americans from last year's national quarterfinal team, John Cook has his University of Nebraska squad in the national championship hunt once again.  The Huskers are 29-2 heading into this weekend's NCAA Tournament round of 16 against Michigan.  Nebraska was Big 12 co-champion in 2008, going 18-2; it is their fifth consecutive conference title, and the 11th in 13 years.  Nebraska began the season ranked No. 7 in the Bison/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll; after knocking off top-five foes USC and Stanford in the Runza/AVCA College Volleyball Showcase to open the year, the Huskers shot to No. 2, and haven't dropped any lower than their current ranking of No. 4 since.  In his seventh season at Nebraska, Cook is 249-16 (.940) as coach of the Huskers.  He has now won AVCA Division I Region Coach of the Year four times, having also earned the award in 1997, 2000 and 2005.

AVCA Division I East Region Coach of the Year
Nicole Lantagne Welch, University of Miami (Fl.)

2008 Record: 26-6, 14-6 Atlantic Coast Conference
Under the direction of eighth-year head coach Nicole Lantagne Welch, the University of Miami had a strong resurgence this season. After going 14-17 last year, Lantagne Welch led the Hurricanes to a 26-6 record - a 12 win improvement over last year. In addition, Miami went 14-6 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and finished tied for third with Clemson University. The 2008 ACC Coach of the Year, Lantagne Welch, who now holds a 151-87 career coaching record, is receiving her first AVCA East Region Coach of the Year honor. Both the ACC and AVCA honors are firsts for Miami.

AVCA Division I Mideast Region Coach of the Year
Russ Rose, Penn State University

2008 Record: 34-0, 20-0 Big Ten Conference
In his 30th year at Penn State University, Russ Rose has had one of the best seasons in the history of the women's collegiate game. Honored as the Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season, Rose led his team to an undefeated 34-0 overall record and a 20-0 conference mark. In addition, the Nittany Lions became the first team ever to go through the entire regular season without losing a set. Rose, who was elected to the AVCA Hall of Fame in 2007 and now has a 959-159 (.857) career record, has led his team to 26 conference titles - 12 Big Ten and eight Atlantic 10 - including the last six consecutive Big Ten titles, while capturing two national titles in 1999 and 2007. Penn State will play in the round of 16 this weekend, facing off against Western Michigan on Friday night. This is the third Region Coach of the Year award for Rose. He previously earned the honor in 2007 and 1996.

AVCA Division I Midwest Region Coach of the Year
Liz Kritza, Tulane University

2008 Record: 28-6, 15-1 Conference-USA
Liz Kritza has led Tulane University to a 28-6 overall record for the second consecutive season, and continued to guide the Green Wave program to new heights. 2008 saw several firsts in the Tulane program, as Kritza guided her team to the Conference-USA title, earning the Green Wave an automatic bid into the NCAA Division I Tournament. In its first-ever postseason appearance, Tulane advanced to the second round of the tournament with a 3-1 victory of Tennessee Tech. The Green Wave also went on a school record 17-match win streak during the season, which was brought to an end in its season-ending loss to Western Michigan. In her four seasons at Tulane, Kritza holds a career mark of 76-39 (.661). Kritza has now earned her second straight AVCA Division I Midwest Region Coach of the Year award. 

AVCA Division I Northeast Region Coach of the Year
Anne Kordes, Saint Louis University

2008 Record: 29-5, 13-0 Atlantic 10
Anne Kordes and Saint Louis University enjoyed one of their best volleyball seasons in school history in 2008.  The Billikens finished with 29 wins, tied for second-most in school history, and went undefeated in Atlantic 10 competition, winning the conference title for the second time in three seasons.  After a historic win over then-No. 3 Stanford early in the season, SLU began gaining national recognition, and on Oct. 20 earned its first-ever spot on the Bison/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 Poll.  The Billikens then entered the post season with the No. 13 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and won a match in the event for the first time in school history.  Kordes has been at the helm of SLU for only five seasons, and owns a 103-54 (.656) record in that span.  This is her first AVCA Region Coach of the Year award.

AVCA Division I Pacific Region Coach of the Year
John Dunning, Stanford University

2008 Record: 28-3, 17-1 Pac-10 Conference
John Dunning is completing his eighth successful season at Stanford, leading his team to a 28-3 overall record, a 17-1 conference mark and the Cardinal's third consecutive Pac-10 title and 12th in its history. The Pac-10 Coach of the Year for the third consecutive season, Dunning, who has been coaching in the collegiate game for 24 years, has four NCAA titles to his credit, two with Stanford (2001, 2004) and two from his year's at the University of the Pacific (1985, 1986). Overall, Dunning now has a 673-138 career record, with a 236-36 mark at Stanford. Stanford will face No. 15 Florida in the Round of 16 this Friday. This is Dunning's third AVCA Region Coach of the Year award. He previously received the honor 1999 and 2000.

AVCA Division I South Region Coach of the Year
Rob Patrick, University of Tennessee

2008 Record: 22-10, 15-5 Southeastern Conference
In his 12th season at the University of Tennessee, head coach Rob Patrick helped his team to another memorable campaign, as the squad, with its 22-10 overall mark, recorded its fifth 20-plus win seasons in the last seven years. After a slow start, Patrick guided the Lady Volunteers to victories in 12 of its last 14 matches, finishing only behind nationally-ranked Florida and Kentucky in the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division. In addition, Tennessee earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament opening round, where it eventually succumbed in a five-set heartbreaker to Clemson. During his tenure with Tennessee, Patrick has compiled a 243-135 (.642) record, and became the program's all-time winningest coach in 3-0 victory over Auburn earlier this season. This marks the second AVCA South Region Coach of the Year award for Patrick, as he previously was honored in 2004.

AVCA Division I West Region Coach of the Year
Beth Launiere, University of Utah

2008 Record: 26-5, 15-2 Mountain West Conference
After enduring a down year in 2007, University of Utah head coach Beth Launiere has again led her team to national prominence a year later. The 2008 season has seen the Utes turn things around, as they have compiled a 26-5 overall record, 15-2 in Mountain West action, en route to capturing 2008 MWC regular season and tournament championships. Utah, who is currently ranked No. 18 in the Bison/AVCA Division I Coaches Top 25 poll, earned its 10th NCAA Division I Tournament appearance in the last 11 years, and has advanced to the NCAA round of 16 for the second time in program history, where it is slated to take on Washington on Friday evening. In her 19 seasons as the Utes' mentor, Launiere has chalked up a 391-211 (.649) career mark. She has now won AVCA Division I West Region Coach of the Year three times, having also earned the award in 2001 and 2006.

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