AVCA Division IIII National Coach of the Year - Amber Warners, Calvin College
AVCA Division III National Assistant Coach of the Year - Melissa Stansbury, Salisbury University
Lexington, Ky. (November 21, 2012) - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is proud to announce that Calvin College head women's volleyball coach Amber Warners has been selected as the 2012 AVCA Division III National Coach of the Year, while Salisbury University assistant women's volleyball coach Melissa Stansbury has been named the organization's AVCA Division III National Assistant Coach of the Year.
In her 11th year at the helm, Warners has built a Division III powerhouse, leading the Knights to nine consecutive NCAA Tournaments. In 2012, Calvin once again proved they are one of the top teams in the nation, reaching the national championship match for the second time in three seasons, falling to the University of St. Thomas (Minn.) at Hope College after winning it all in 2010. Entering the NCAA Tournament, Calvin was ranked No. 1 in the nation and never fell below a No. 3 ranking the entire year.
It was not an easy route in Calvin's latest path to the NCAA Championship Match, defeating three teams ranked in the AVCA Coaches Top-25 poll entering the tournament in No. 13 Mount Union, No. 2 Wittenberg and No. 12 Puget Sound, playing hard-fought five-set matches in two of those three matches. Ending the season with a 33-2 record, the Knights opened the season 20-0 before losing to Elmhurst. After the loss, they went on a 13-match winning streak with seven of them coming as sweeps.
The 1990 Calvin graduate has won the Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year four times in her illustrious career, including the 2010 AVCA National Coach of the Year. However, it has been her ability to coach and mentor her student-athletes that makes her one of the nation's best. Two-time AVCA All-Americans Megan Rietema and Lizzie Kamp each made the first team in 2012 including AVCA National Player of the Year in Kamp. It is the second consecutive NPOY Warners has coached after Kamp's older sister Rebecca won the honor in 2011.
Stansbury, a former player for Salisbury, helped lead the Sea Gulls to a 37-4 record and an appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Her strong points as an assistant for head coach Margie Knight include recruiting, analysis of game film, statistical breakdown and opponent scouting. What sets her apart from most assistant coaches is her ability to analyze their play in the middle of the match and help Knight make the necessary adjustments. She sacrificed her time to use the sport as a learning tool, volunteering at a local middle school to teach young players the basic fundamentals of volleyball.
The AVCA will formally present both coaches their awards at the 2012 Jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon in Louisville, Ky. on Thursday, December 13. The luncheon is held in conjunction with the 2012 AVCA Annual Convention.