2007 AVCA Division III National Coach of the Year
Washington's Luenemann Named Division III AVCA National Coach of the Year
LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 26, 2007) - 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 2007 AVCA Division III National Coach of the Year.
In his ninth season as Washington head coach, Luenemann led the Bears to the NCAA Division III national championship for the second time, and the school's Division III-record ninth crown overall. After losing four matches in the first three weeks of the season, Wash U. only lost one more match the rest of the way, a five-game thriller to Emory University in the conference tournament finals. The Bears avenged their loss to the Eagles in the national quarterfinals, before upending then-No. 1 and undefeated Wittenberg University in the national semifinals and outlasting University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in five games in the final.
"You can't begin to imagine how much this team improved over the season," Luenemann said after winning the championship on Nov. 17 in Bloomington, Ill. "I've never in my coaching career, and I'm old, coached a team who improved this much over the course of a season."
Washington began the season ranked No. 4 in the CSTV/AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll, but fell to as low as No. 8 following their first four losses.
"You have to understand how proud I am of this team," he said in Bloomington. "This group has worked harder than any team that I have ever coached. We were not a strong team at the beginning of the year, but we came into practice, worked hard at getting better and fought through it. If any team is deserving of winning a national championship, it is this group."
Luenemann came to Washington 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 nine seasons on the Danforth campus, he has won 314 matches, bringing his overall total to more than 900 career victories. This is the second time Luenemann has won the AVCA Division III National Coach of the Year award, winning also in 2003.
The AVCA will formally present the National Coach of the Year award to Luenemann at the 2007 Jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon in Sacramento, Calif. The luncheon is held in conjunction with the 2007 AVCA Annual Convention.