AVCA Celebrates Record Week in Tampa
LEXINGTON, Ky. - The American Volleyball Coaches Association turned in a record week during its 2009 Annual Convention as the organization welcomed over 2,000 coaches, exhibitors, administrators and guests through the doors of the Tampa Convention Center in Tampa, Fla., Dec. 16-20. This shatters the previous high-water mark for an AVCA Convention, which was set in 2007 as just over 1,700 attended the event in Sacramento, Calif.
In addition to the record number of convention attendees, it was announced Thursday that the association passed the 5,000-member mark for the first time in its history. AVCA membership has now grown by 56% since the organization moved to Lexington, Ky., and partnered with IMG Associations in July 2006.
"When you have been around our sport as long as I have, it takes truly unique experiences to inspire you," said Kathy DeBoer, AVCA Executive Director. "Yet this convention, from the innovative presentations, to the meetings that transformed our thinking, to the remarkable matches, was a whole week of inspiration. I leave it supremely proud to be associated with volleyball coaches!"
In addition to the record number of attendees and members, Volleyball Marketplace, the AVCA's annual exhibit show, featured more companies than ever before, proving that vendors from across the nation understand the importance of being part of this event.
Thanks to a co-branding effort between the NCAA and AVCA that began during the summer, all of the volleyball-related events in Tampa over the five-day period from Wednesday through Sunday had a similar look-and-feel, giving the championship the look of one big event. Adding to the importance of the week and showing that this is an annual can't-miss-event for the volleyball community, two special announcements were made during the convention:
On Thursday, representatives from a new volleyball pro league held a press conference at the convention to announce the beginning of the Women's National Volleyball Association in 2010. The following day, a representative from the Lowe's Senior CLASS award announced to attendees that they are adding volleyball to the list of sports which have athletes who annually receive their award.
One of the biggest new features of this year's convention was the AVCA Holiday Tournament, which brought 400 juniors players into Tampa for tournament play, adding to the size and excitement of the weekend.
Across the street from the convention center in the St. Pete Times Forum, crowds topped the 10,000-mark for both the semifinals and finals of the NCAA Division I Volleyball Championships, with the final match capping an unprecedented run by Penn State to its third consecutive title in an instant classic against a stellar Texas team. On Sunday, the spotlight turned to the next generation as the second-annual Under Armour All-America Volleyball Match & Skills Competition featured 24 of the best high school seniors in the country.
The week featuring the AVCA Convention and NCAA Championships proved once again why it is the annual high point for everyone in the volleyball community. The show moves to Kansas City in 2010, with expectations for expanding and enhancing on the success of 2009.