2011 AVCA Division III National Coach of the Year
AVCA Division IIII National Coach of the Year - Paco Labrador, Wittenberg University
AVCA Division III National Assistant Coach of the Year - Laura Bindon, Calvin College
Lexington, Ky. (November 22, 2011) - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is proud to announce that Wittenberg University head women's volleyball coach Paco Labrador has been selected as the 2011 AVCA Division III National Coach of the Year, while Calvin College assistant women's volleyball coach Laura Bindon has been named the organization's AVCA Division III National Assistant Coach of the Year.
In his ninth season at the helm of the Tigers, Labrador led his squad to a year they won't soon forget. For the first time in program history, Wittenberg can be called national champions after they swept away Christopher Newport in the NCAA Championship Match. They dropped just one set over the course of six NCAA Tournament matches, and is the first championship for any Wittenberg squad since their men's basketball team hoisted the trophy in 1977.
The team was on a roll the entire year finishing the season with a 37-3 record, including a perfect 16-0 in the NCAC. They began the year with a No. 5 ranking in the preseason AVCA Coaches Top-25 poll, and remained in the top-5 throughout the season, ranking as high as third for four consecutive weeks. The road to the championship was certainly not an easy one. In the NCAA Tournament, they defeated five top-20 programs in Heidelberg (No. 13), Calvin (No. 1), Cal Lutheran (No. 17), Eastern (No. 4) and Christopher Newport (No. 6). The Tigers never lost consecutive matches all season and ended the year riding a 12-game winning streak.
Labrador, a 1995 graduate of Hiram College, has compiled an impressive a 296-41 record in nine seasons. With that astounding record it should come to no surprise he's advanced to the NCAA Tournament in all nine of his seasons as Wittenberg's head coach, including four semi-final appearances. Under his guidance, 10 Tigers have garnered All-America accolades, including the most highly decorated athlete in Wittenberg history, Sarah Yuskewich, who holds the Division III record for assists in a season and was a three-time First-Team All-America honoree. In 2011, Labrador coached three AVCA All-Americans with one second-teamer (Katie Sumner) and two third-teamers (Christina Gilene and Kimmie Dyer).
Bindon has been with Calvin Head Coach Amber Warners for the past nine years, and Warners calls her a "co-coach" in many areas. Since she joined the coaching staff, the Knights have recorded a 289-56 (.828) record while winning their first ever national championship a year ago. She is a well-rounded person off the court, leading service projects for the student-athletes working at Habitat for Humanity and planning activities for joint ventures with local minority high school students and their athletes.
The AVCA will formally present both coaches their awards at the 2011 Jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon in San Antonio, Texas on Thursday, December 15. The luncheon is held in conjunction with the 2011 AVCA Annual Convention.