2007 AVCA Division III Region Coaches of the Year
2007 AVCA Division III Region Coaches of the Year
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LEXINGTON, Ky. - The following coaches have been selected by their respective regions as the 2007 AVCA Division III Region Coaches of the Year. Each of the honorees will represent their region on the 2007 AVCA National Coach of the Year ballot. The awards will be officially presented at the 2007 Jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon in Sacramento, Calif., on Thursday, Dec. 13, at the 2007 American Volleyball Coaches Association Annual Convention.
AVCA Division III Central Region Coach of the Year
Thanh Pham, University of St. Thomas
2007 Record: 26-4, 11-0 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
As he prepares to complete his fifth season at the helm at the University of St. Thomas (Saint Paul, Minn.), Thanh Pham has led his team to a 26-4 overall record and an 11-0 Minnesota Intercollegiate Conference record. After losing the first two matches of the season, Pham led his team to 26 wins in its 28 remaining regular season matches. With its undefeated conference record, the Tommies captured their second conference title in the last three years and earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The school will host the NCAA Division III Central Regional this weekend where it will face Wisconsin-Eau Claire in a first-round match-up. Currently ranked No. 12 in the CSTV/AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll, St. Thomas has been ranked as high as No. 6 during the season. In his five years at St. Thomas, Pham has a 129-38 (.751) overall record and a 47-8 (.855) conference record. This is the first AVCA Division III Central Region Coach of the Year award that Pham has won.
AVCA Division III Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year
Paco Labrador, Wittenberg University
2007 Record: 34-0, 14-0 North Coast Athletic Conference
In his fifth season as the head coach of Wittenberg University (Springfield, Ohio), Paco Labrador has continued a storied volleyball tradition at the institution, leading the Tigers to their fourth consecutive 30-win season in 2007. Wittenberg began the season as the preseason No. 2 team in the CSTV/AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 poll, but has since claimed the No. 1 spot for four-consecutive polls, dethroning defending national champion Juniata along the way. In 2007, Labrador has guided the Tigers to a 34-0 record, along with a 14-0 mark in North Coast Athletic Conference action, marking the first time in history an NCAC team has finished the regular season unbeaten. Wittenberg has been the No. 1 team in each of the three NCAA Division III Great Lakes Region rankings in 2007 and will host the NCAA Division III Tournament Great Lakes Regional. The Tigers are making their 13th NCAA Appearance - 12th in a row - and have reached the NCAA Division III Tournament Round of 16 eight times, the national quarterfinals four of the last five years and the national semifinals each of the last two years under the guidance of Labrador. The Wittenberg mentor, whose teams have earned AVCA Team Academic Awards in each of his seasons as coach, has compiled a career mark of 166-23 at the helm of the Tigers. This honor marks the second AVCA Division III Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year award for Labrador, with the other coming during the 2004 season.
AVCA Division III Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year
Amy Bergin, Haverford College
2007 Record: 29-2, 11-1 Centennial Conference
Amy Bergin set a goal for her team at the start of the 2007 season to make the CSTV/AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll. She and her team accomplished that goal and more, as Haverford (Haverford, Pa.) is currently ranked No. 16 and was ranked as high as No. 11 for four consecutive weeks during the season. Bergin has led her team to a 29-2 overall record and an 11-1 Centennial Conference record, which also gave the Fords the conference title for the second consecutive year. Haverford received the conference's automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament and will host the Mid-Atlantic Regional this weekend where they will face DeSales in the first round of the tournament. In her six years at Haverford, Bergin has put together a 131-49 (.728) record, six consecutive conference tournament appearances and led Haverford to its first-ever Centennial Conference championship last season. This is the first time Bergin has won the AVCA Division III Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year award.
AVCA Division III Midwest Region Coach of the Year
Leanne Ulmer, Carthage College
2007 Record: 31-4, 8-0 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin
Carthage College (Kenosha, Wis.) head coach Leanne Ulmer led the Lady Reds to a 31-4 overall record and an undefeated 8-0 College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) championship this season. It was the third straight CCIW title Carthage has won and it earned the team a second straight NCAA appearance in the Midwest Regional, which the Lady Reds will host this weekend. The team will face Carroll (Wis.) in the first round. Heading into the regionals, Carthage is currently ranked No. 6 in the CSTV/AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll, with its highest ranking this year being No. 5. In her seven years leading the Lady Reds, Ulmer, who has also been the college's senior woman administrator for the last six years, is now first all-time at the school in career wins (193), and first in winning percentage (193-61, .760). This is the second consecutive year that Ulmer has been named AVCA Division III Midwest Region Coach of the Year.
AVCA Division III New England Region Coach of the Year
Paul Dill, MIT
2007 Record: 34-2, 9-0 New England Men's and Women's Athletic Conference
Paul Dill has led his Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (Cambridge, Mass.) team to a 34-2 record and a perfect 9-0 conference mark in 2007 heading into their second consecutive NCAA Division III Tournament. Returning five starters and nine letterwinners to this year's campaign, Dill built on a 33-6, 2006 season in which he led the Engineers to their second-consecutive second place finish in the New England Men's and Women's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) and an appearance in the Round of 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Ranked No. 1 in all three NCAA New England Regional Rankings, MIT also cracked the top 25 on the CSTV/AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll the week of October 23, earning the nation's No. 25 mark, while winning five tournaments during the regular season. Entering his 12th year in 2007, Dill was ranked among the top 10 active Division III coaches in career win percentage, and currently has an MIT-best career record of 299-102. The Engineers have reached the 20-plus win mark in all twelve seasons with Dill as head coach, and recorded their third 30-plus win season in 2007. This is the second consecutive AVCA Division III New England Region Coach of the Year award for Dill.
AVCA Division III New York Region Coach of the Year
Sandy Collins, Union College
2007 Record: 28-11, 4-0 Liberty League
In just one season, the Union College (Schenectady, N.Y.) volleyball program has seen a significant turnaround, more than doubling its win total from a season ago, as seventh-year head coach Sandy Collins led her squad from a 12-23 record in 2006 to a 28-11 mark in 2007. With the services of five returning starters and its libero, and under the guidance of Collins, the Dutchwomen recorded their best start to the season since 1979 and became the fastest team in program history to reach the 20-win plateau, while also tallying the most wins in the program's 32 year history. After ending the 2006 season as the fifth-place team in the Liberty League, Union took command of its destiny, capturing its first-ever Liberty League Championship. Also reaping the results of its turnaround, Union was tabbed the No. 2 seed and granted hosting rights for the 2007 ECAC Women's Upstate Region Championship. In addition, Collins saw two significant personal milestones during the 2007 season, becoming the winningest coach in program history with a victory over Clarkson on August 31, and recording her 150th career victory against Utica on September 14. This honor marks the first AVCA Division III New York Region Coach of the Year award for Collins.
AVCA Division III South Region Coach of the Year
Julie Jenkins, Trinity University (Texas)
2007 Record: 34-2, 15-0 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference
In her 23rd year at the helm of the Tigers, Julie Jenkins has continued a successful tenure at Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas), leading her squad to a No. 3 ranking in the past four CSTV/AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Polls of 2007 heading into the NCAA Tournament. In fact, the Tigers have not been ranked lower than No. 7 throughout the 2007 campaign, racking up a 34-2 record to date. Along the way, Trinity rattled off a 25-match win streak, as well as a 25-0 record against Division III competition, while earning a perfect 15-0 conference mark for the first time since 2004, despite facing three other teams in the Southern Collegiate Athlete Conference (SCAC) that were also nationally ranked. Jenkins has led Trinity to its 10th, 30-win season in the last 11 years, and also guided the Tigers to their 200th SCAC match victory this season. The Tigers have also been ranked No. 1 in the South Region in two of the three rankings during 2007. Just one year ago, she took her team from unranked in the preseason CSTV/AVCA Division III Coaches Top 25 Poll all the way to a top five rating heading into the NCAA Division III Tournament, en route to securing South Region Coach of the Year accolades. This honor marks the second-consecutive AVCA Division III South Region Coach of the Year award for Jenkins.
AVCA Division III West Region Coach of the Year
Kevin Aoki, Pacific Lutheran University
2007 Record: 23-3, 16-0 Northwest Conference
Kevin Aoki coached Pacific Lutheran University (Tacoma, Wash.) to a 23-3 overall record and an undefeated 16-0 Northwest Conference championship this season. It was the Lutes' third conference title in four years and the fourth since 1999. Currently, Pacific Lutheran is ranked No. 13 in the CSTV/AVCA Division III Top 25 Coaches Poll, its highest ranking of the season. Aoki, who won his 200th match on October 27 against Whitworth, will lead Pacific Lutheran into the NCAA Division III West Regionals this weekend. With a bye, the Lutes will play the winner of Puget Sound and Nebraska Wesleyan in the second round. Heading into the tournament, the Lutes have won 19 consecutive matches and 23 overall, both school records. In his 12 seasons at Pacific Lutheran, Aoki has put together a 202-109 (.650) overall record, while going 135-57 (.703) in Northwest Conference play. This is the second AVCA Division III West Region Coach of the Year award for Aoki. He last won it in 2004.