2001 Tachikara/AVCA Division III National Coach of the Year


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Colorado Springs, Colo. ­ The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), in conjunction with Tachikara USA, Inc., is proud to announce that Don Flora of the University of La Verne has been selected the 2001 Tachikara/AVCA NCAA Division III National Coach of the Year.

Flora, the 2001 Tachikara/AVCA Division III West Region Coach of the Year, guided La Verne to its second-ever NCAA Division III National Volleyball Championship, and first since 1982.

ULV, unanimously chosen No. 1 in the final 2001 AVCA Division III Coaches Top 20 Poll, completed a near perfect season with a 27-1 record and the best winning percentage in NCAA Division III. La Verne, ranked sixth in the West Region as late as a week left in the regular season, proved a worthy team as it advanced through the NCAA West Region tournament for a berth in the NCAA Quarterfinals.

ULV defeated then-No. 4 Mount St. Joseph in three games to advance to the national semifinals, then proceeded to defeat No. 3 Juniata in five games and then-No. 1 Wisconsin-Whitewater in another five-game thriller to claim the national title.

Flora's squad entered the NCAA Tournament as the SCIAC's automatic qualifier for winning the league title, its second in a row. His squad won the ULV Leo Classic this season with two significant wins over Emory. Further, ULV defeated  No. 8 Cal State Hayward, as well as Colorado College (receiving poll votes). ULV started the season ranked seventh in the AVCA Division III Coaches Top 20 Preseason Poll.

Flora's 2001 roster sported two AVCA All-Americans in senior setter Ryan Winn (first team) and junior middle blocker Stacey Lupu (second team). Winn and Lupu were the 10th and 11th Leopards to earn AVCA All-America honors, but the first in a decade. Additionally, freshman Amy Kratochvil was named AVCA West Region Freshman of the Year.

Over the past two seasons, Flora's team has a combined 52-3 record (.945). He is a graduate of La Verne and led the ULV men's program from 1993-97.

Tachikara will formally present the National Coach of the Year awards on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2001, in San Diego at the Tachikara/AVCA Coach of the Year banquet.  The brunch, which will begin at 10 a.m. at the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina, is held in conjunction with the 2001 AVCA National Convention.

- AVCA -

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