2000 Tachikara/AVCA Division III Region Coaches of the Year


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2000 AVCA Division III Tachikara/AVCA Region Coach of the Year


Colorado Springs, Colo. ? 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 National Coach of the Year ballot. The awards will be officially presented at the Tachikara/AVCA Coach of the Year banquet in Richmond, Va., on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2000, at the American Volleyball Coaches Association National Convention.

Central Region Coach of the Year
Megan Clayberg, Central College
Despite graduating two-time AVCA NCAA Division III Player of the Year Abbie Brown, Coach Clayberg has kept Central near the top of the national rankings in 2000 and earned a sixth consecutive NCAA tournament berth. The NCAA Division III defending national champions hosted and won the Central Region Tournament on Nov. 9-11 to reach the quarterfinal round. Central took first place in five tournaments, including the Washington National Invitational and the Trinity (Tex.) Invitational. Central recorded a 28-match winning streak, the second longest in school history, despite a schedule which included 14 matches against nationally ranked competition.  In Iowa Conference play, Central was 10-0 for the fourth consecutive year and has won 60 consecutive league matches. Central won the league tournament to claim its fifth consecutive championship.  Central has defeated No. 1 Wis.-Whitewater, No. 3 Washington, No. 8 Elmhurst (twice), No. 10-tie Wis.-River Falls (twice), No. 10-tie Trinity, No. 14 Ohio Northern, No. 18 St. Olaf (twice) and Wartburg.

Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year
Michele Benoit, College of Mount St. Joseph
Coach Benoit led College of Mount St. Joseph to the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference championship in 2000. The team was ranked No. 1 or No. 2 in the Great Lakes Region for most of the season and won the Great Lakes Regional Tournament it hosted on Nov. 9-11. Mount St. Joseph, ranked as high as No. 7 in the AVCA poll this year, finished 13-4 against regionally ranked schools and 8-4 versus nationally ranked teams. Benoit led her team to wins over No. 12 Wittenberg (four times), No. 14-tie Ohio Northern (twice), No. 17 SUNY Cortland and No. 19 DePauw (twice). Benoit has successfully led her squad to back-to-back NCAA quarterfinal berths.

Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year
Nagy Abdelrazek, Catholic University of America
Coach Abdelrazek was named the Capitol Athletic Conference Coach of the Year for the third time (1994, 1999 and 2000) after leading the Cardinals to a 35-6 record and school-best .854 winning percentage. Catholic garnered its first-ever AVCA Top 20 national ranking during the season and was ranked No. 2 in the Mid-Atlantic Region during the latter part of the season. The Cardinals placed two members on the all-CAC first team. Catholic won a school-record 19 matches in a row from Sept. 29 to Nov. 2 before losing to Salisbury State in the CAC championship. The Cardinals won three tournaments in 2000: Washington & Lee Invitational, Gallaudet Invitational and the Catholic University Invitational.

Midwest Region Coach of the Year
Julie Hall, Elmhurst College
Coach Hall led Elmhurst to a 7-0 record in regular season Illinois-Wisconsin Conference play en route to the league championship. Elmhurst qualified for the NCAA Division III Tournament and reached the Midwest Regional final as the No. 3 seed, only to fall to No. 1 Wisconsin-Whitewater in five games. The team has been nationally ranked throughout the season and is currently No. 8 in the national poll. Coach Hall has had three conference players of the week, five all-tournament players (including a MVP) and the team has captured two tournament championships.

New England Region Coach of the Year
Dorothy Webb, Wellesley College
Coach Webb, the second winningest active coach in NCAA Division III based on winning percentage, led  Wellesley to a third consecutive undefeated regional record and advanced the team to a second consecutive NCAA Division III quarterfinal appearance. Webb guided Wellesley to its sixth consecutive NEWMAC title this year. Wellesley won the New England Regional Tournament with victories over Gordon College and Bates College. Webb has earned AVCA New England Region Coach of the Year the past four seasons.

New York Region Co-Coach of the Year
Rhonda Faunce, Elmira College
Coach Faunce led Elmira to its third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and a spot in the New York Region semifinals. Elmira, the top seed in the New York Regional Tournament in 2000, was 9-1 in the Empire 8 and won four tournaments this season; Richard Stockton, Elmira Tournament, Elmira Parents Weekend and Empire 8 Tournament. Elmira's victories include Ithaca College (twice), Nazareth College (twice), Catholic, Alfred (twice) and Plymouth State. Over the past three seasons, Elmira has posted a 86-24 record.

New York Region Co-Coach of the Year
Linda Downey, Nazareth College
In just her second season, Coach Downey has elevated the Golden Flyers into one of the region's top teams and led Nazareth to its first NCAA tournament berth since 1985. Nazareth was awarded the No. 2 seed in the New York Region Tournament and was a regional semifinalist. Nazareth defeated perennially strong New York Region teams such as SUNY Cortland (first time since 1986) and RIT (first time since 1987). Nazareth, at 36-6, produced its best record since 1982. Nazareth has gone from being an unranked regional team to No. 2 (behind Elmira). Nazareth set a school record at one point by winning 20 straight matches. Nazareth won three tournaments in 2000: North Country, Nazareth, and Plattsburgh. Nazareth was 18-20 in 1999 and 5-30 as recently as 1997.

South Region Coach of the Year
Rich Luenemann, Washington University
Coach Luenemann led Washington to its second straight UAA championship and 32-4 record overall. Washington claimed the South Region's No. 1 seed, and won the regional tournament on its home court. Washington has posted wins over No. 2 Central, No. 7 Emory (three times), No. 10-tie Wisconsin-River Falls (twice) and No. 14-tie Ohio Northern. Washington produced 21-match and eight-match winning streaks in 2000. Luenemann guided the Bears to its second straight 30-win season and coached two AVCA/Sports Imports National Players of the Week. The Bears featured two freshmen in the starting lineup for the majority of the season.

West Region Coach of the Year
Mark Massey, University of Puget Sound
Behind the tutelage of Coach Massey, Puget Sound captured the West Region Tournament as the No. 1 seed to advance to the national quarterfinals. Massey has led his team to a Top 20 ranking three of the last four years (twice as NAIA). Puget Sound staged a dramatic turnaround from an injury-filled losing 1999 season which netted a 10-14 record The team began 2000 unranked, but moved into the first poll at No. 13 after early victories over 1999 NCAA qualifiers Colorado College and Cal State-Hayward.  Other key wins were against defending Northwest Conference champion Pacific Lutheran (twice) and regional opponents Whitworth and Linfield. Puget Sound held the No. 1 West region ranking for the entire season. Puget Sound dropped only 10 games en route to a 25-0 record and No. 4 national ranking.

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