2003 Tachikara/AVCA Division III Region Coaches of the Year


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2003 AVCA/Tachikara Division III Region
Coaches of the Year for Women's Volleyball Announced

- The following coaches have been selected by their region as Tachikara/AVCA Region Coach of the Year. Each of the honorees will represent their region on the Tachikara/AVCA National Coach of the Year ballot. The awards will be officially presented at the Tachikara/AVCA Coach of the Year banquet in Dallas on Thursday, Dec. 18, at the 2003 American Volleyball Coaches Association Annual Convention. Six of the eight selections have advanced their teams to the NCAA Division III Championship quarterfinal round to be played on Nov. 22.

Central Region Coach of the Year
Rich Luenemann, Washington University (Missouri)
2003 Record: 35-3, 12-0 University Athletic Association
Rich Luenemann has led Washington University into the NCAA Division III Quarterfinals this season with four AVCA All-Central Region players and an honorable mention selection. He recorded his 750th -career win against Carnegie Mellon on Oct. 18, 2003. In five seasons at Washington U., he has led Bears to five NCAA Tournament appearances. The Bears posted a 23-3 record this season against regionally ranked opponents and a 15-3 mark against nationally ranked opponents this season. He led the Bears to their 15th straight University Athletic Association (UAA) Championship and 17th straight NCAA Tournament appearance. Washington U., with seven players named to the All-UAA Team, ranked fourth or higher in the country all season long and has not slipped below second since Sept. 24.

Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year
Kate Witte, Ohio Northern University
2003 Record: 30-7, 8-1 Ohio Athletic Conference
Kate Witte has led the Polar Bears to their 12th consecutive victory and their first NCAA Regional Championship since 1997. ONU advanced from the NCAA Great Lakes region to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals by defeating two higher-ranked teams (Wittenberg - first region, fifth poll, Mount St. Joseph - second region, sixth poll), avenging two earlier-season losses to both squads. Witte's squad posted wins during the regular season over nationally-ranked opponents Central (Iowa), Emory and Simpson, UW-Oshkosh and UW-Whitewater. ONU, winners of the Ohio Athletic Conference Tournament after finishing tied first in the regular season, placed two players on the AVCA All-Great Lakes Region team, in addition to two honorable mention selections. The Polar Bears are ranked fifth in the Nov. 19 AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll.

Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year

Larry Bock, Juniata College
2003 Record: 38-0, 7-0 MAC Commonwealth Conference
Larry Bock has led Juniata to a perfect 38-0 record without having to play a five-game match. He has guided a veteran team that lost an AVCA All-America First-Team pick. Juniata has held the top spot in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll since the first regular season ranking and has defeated eight teams that have been ranked in the top 25, including each of the teams currently ranked in the top five. Juniata has had two players earn Sports Imports/AVCA Division III National Player of the Week honors this season. He is the winningest coach in NCAA women's volleyball and is five wins shy of earning 1,000-career victories at the helm of the Eagles program. Juniata has advanced from the NCAA Mid-Atlantic Region to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals with five AVCA All-Mid-Atlantic Region players and an honorable mention pick.

Midwest Region Coach of the Year

Sheila Perkins, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
2003 Record: 33-5, 7-1 Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
Sheila Perkins guided UW-La Crosse to a share of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title for the first time since 1986. The Eagles, 33-5 in 2003, have now won at least 20 matches in nine straight seasons. Perkins led the team to the WIAC Tournament title after being seeded second in the event, despite returning just six letterwinners from a year ago. The Eagles defeated defending national champion UW-Whitewater earlier this season to snap a 12-match losing streak to the Warhawks. UW-La Crosse is ranked a season-high fourth in the AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll after starting the season absent from the preseason poll. The Eagles have been a balanced team with two AVCA All-Midwest Region selections and an honorable mention pick. UW-La Crosse advanced from the NCAA Midwest Region final to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals for the first time since 1986.

New England Region Coach of the Year
Joel Dearing, Springfield College
2003 Record: 34-3, 9-0 NEWMAC
Joel Dearing has led the Springfield to its first conference title this season en route to being voted NEWMAC Coach of the Year. The Pride compiled a 34-3 record this season and went undefeated in the NEWMAC. SC tied a school record with its 20th -straight win in a sweep of MIT in the NEWMAC Tournament championship match. He notched his 400th win at Springfield in the Pride's win over WPI in the first round of the NEWMAC Tournament on November 4th. The Pride moved into the AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll on Oct. 29 at number 25 and has since moved up to 23rd in this week's poll. The Pride were honored with two selections to the AVCA All-New England Region team. Springfield won 11 more matches this season than last, improving from a 23-12 mark in 2002. Springfield advanced to the NCAA New England Region final before falling to Williams.

New York Region Coach of the Year
Ed Caesar, New York University
2003 Record: 38-4, 10-2 University Athletic Association
Ed Caesar has guided his team to two consecutive winning seasons, including a record-breaking 38-4 mark this season. He earned his first-ever NYSWCAA Coach of the Year Honor as the Violets went 28-1 in the region (with the one loss coming to second-ranked Washington University). NYU claimed its first-ever NYSWCAA Championship in 2003. Among the Violets 38 victories includes a victory over 15th-ranked Emory, marking the school's first-ever win over a ranked-team. NYU earned its highest seeding at the UAA Championships with a number-two ranking. The Violets, with three AVCA All-New York Region picks and the AVCA New York Region Freshman of the Year, are currently ranked 11th in the AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll. NYU, currently ranked a season-high seventh in the national poll, has advanced from the NCAA New York Region final to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals for the first time in school history.

South Region Coach of the Year
Julie Jenkins, Trinity University (Texas)
2003 Record: 33-5, 18-0 SCAC
Julie Jenkins led Trinity to its third straight undefeated conference season, keeping the team's 54-match SCAC winning streak intact and setting the all-time school and conference mark for consecutive league victories. Jenkins led Trinity to a sixth-straight SCAC title, leading to a 12th-consecutive trip to the NCAA Division III Championship. She has led her squad to a 6-1 record against non-Division III opponents and six wins over opponents ranked in the latest AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll. Jenkins has earned the Tachikara/AVCA Division III South Region Coach of the Year award the last three seasons and fourth time overall. Trinity never slipped below fourth place in the national poll heading into NCAA Tournament play (now eighth). Jenkins coached five AVCA All-South Region players this season. Trinity advanced to NCAA South Region final before falling to Emory in five games.

West Region Coach of the Year
Don Flora, University of La Verne
2003 Record: 28-2, 14-0 SCIAC
Don Flora led third-ranked La Verne to its fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance this season and is 28-2 overall. ULV has captured four consecutive SCIAC championships and is on pace to finish ranked among the top 10 in the AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll for the fourth straight year. ULV has been ranked in the top seven of the national poll the entire season, in addition to holding the number-one spot in the Division III West Region Rankings. La Verne has not lost a SCIAC Conference match in 36 contests, an SCIAC record. ULV's two losses are to top 10 teams in the nation - Juniata and Cal State Hayward. La Verne has defeated eight top 25 teams during the 2003 season. Don Flora has led ULV Women's Volleyball to its fourth consecutive 20+-win season. La Verne, which has three AVCA All-West Region picks and an honorable mention selection in 2003, advanced from the NCAA West Region to the NCAA Championship quarterfinals.

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