2002 Tachikara/AVCA Region Coaches of the Year
2002 AVCA Tachikara/AVCA Division I Region Coach of the Year
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The following coaches have been selected by their region as AVCA/Tachikara Division I 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 AVCA/Tachikara Coach of the Year banquet in New Orleans on Thursday, Dec. 19, at the 2002 American Volleyball Coaches Association Annual Convention. Among the eight selections are six coaches who have led their teams to the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals.
Central Region Coach of the Year
Bobbi Petersen, University of Northern Iowa
2002 Record: 34-2 (17-1 Missouri Valley Conference)
Northern Iowa, on a current 21-match winning streak, earned a berth in the NCAA Tournament regional semifinal round for the second straight year under the guidance of Petersen. The Panthers are 3-1 against teams ranked among the top 10 this season with wins against Florida, Pepperdine and Minnesota. UNI, ranked sixth nationally for a school all-time high, earned the top seed in the NCAA Tournament East Region and number-four seed overall. Petersen is a two-time recipient of the AVCA/Tachikara Central Region Coach of the Year as she garnered the honor last season as well. She holds an 83-13 record in three seasons as head coach, counting an 18-9 mark in 1997 when she served as interim head coach.
East Region Coach of the Year
Joe Sagula, University of North Carolina
2002 Record: 32-3 (15-1 Atlantic Coast Conference)
Sagula has led North Carolina to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 for the first time in school history, becoming the first ACC school to advance to the regional tournament semifinals since 1994. The Tar Heels, 32-3 this season, are currently ranked 11th in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll, the highest in school and ACC history. Sagula was named ACC Coach of the Year as he led the Tar Heels to their first 30-win season since 1985. North Carolina captured the ACC regular season crown with a 15-1 overall record and has won the league tournament for the three of the last four years. Sagula holds a 474-284 career record, including a 271-161 mark at UNC. He has earned AVCA/Tachikara Region Coach of the Year on two previous occasions, 1998 and 2001.
Mideast Region Coach of the Year
Mike Hebert, University of Minnesota
2002 Record: 32-5 (17-3 Big Ten)
Hebert has guided Minnesota to the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals as the Gophers are 32-5 overall. Minnesota was picked to finish sixth in the Big Ten Preseason Poll and was unranked in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll. The Gophers quickly moved into the national limelight by finishing second in the State Farm Classic and claiming a number-20 ranking in the national poll. The Gophers have resided in the national top 10 the past 13 weeks. Minnesota won nine of 13 matches against teams currently ranked among the top 25 poll. Hebert earned the AVCA National Coach of the Year in 1985 while at Illinois and has three AVCA/Tachikara Region Coach of the Year awards (1991, 1999, 2002). He holds an overall record of 742-323 in 26 seasons as a head collegiate coach.
Midwest Region Coach of the Year
Nancy Mueller, University of South Florida
2002 Record: 30-7 (12-1 Conference USA)
Mueller led South Florida to the Conference USA championship and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round. The Bulls finished the season with a 30-7 record, including a 12-1 mark in Conference USA action. South Florida, which finished with 30 wins for just the second time in school history, was picked third in the C-USA Preseason Poll and finished the regular season tied for first place. The Bulls gained wins over nationally ranked Georgia Tech and Kansas State this season. Mueller, who was also selected C-USA Coach of the Year for 2002, is a two-time recipient of the AVCA/Tachikara Region Coach of the Year as she earned the award in 2000. She has coached the Bulls to a 70.1 winning percentage (94-40) in her four years at South Florida.
Northeast Region Coach of the Year
Nicole Lantagne Welch, University of Miami (Fla.)
2002 Record: 27-5 (10-3 BIG EAST)
Lantagne Welch has taken the University of Miami (Fla.) Hurricanes into the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals just two seasons after the program was restored to varsity status. Miami defeated Wisconsin in the NCAA second round, which prompted a debut in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll at number 24. The Hurricanes started the season with a 15-0 record and are currently 27-5. Miami ended Notre Dame's 43-match regular season BIG EAST winning streak and finished runner-up in the conference tournament. The Hurricanes entered the 2002 season ranked sixth in the BIG EAST Preseason poll after compiling a 17-7 overall record as a first-year varsity program.
Pacific Region Coach of the Year
Nina Matthies, Pepperdine University
2002 Record: 25-6 (14-0 West Coast Conference)
Matthies has coached Pepperdine into the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals for the fourth time in five years after leading the Waves to their ninth West Coast Conference title. Pepperdine is riding a school-best 16-match winning streak heading into the Sweet 16 round. The Waves, 25-6 overall and 14-0 in the WCC, are ranked eighth in the USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll. Pepperdine has won seven matches against teams currently ranked nationally, including a four-game win over UC Santa Barbara. Matthies, who also earned the AVCA/Tachikara Region Coach of the Year in 1999, has been tabbed WCC Coach of the Year four straight years and a league record eight times overall.
South Central Region Coach of the Year
Travis Hudson, Western Kentucky University
2002 Record: 33-5 (14-0 Sun Belt Conference)
Hudson led Western Kentucky to its first-ever NCAA Tournament berth following a perfect 14-0 Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament championship win over New Mexico State. He guided the Lady Toppers to a 19-match winning streak heading into the NCAA Tournament before losing to Hawai'i. Hudson earned the Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year honors in 2002, the second time in three seasons he has garnered the award. He earned his 160th victory at Western Kentucky in the Sun Belt Conference championship match to become the school's all-time winningest coach.
West Region Coach of the Year
Kathy Gregory, UC Santa Barbara
2002 Record: 30-2 (18-0 Big West)
Gregory, who earned her 700th career victory on Dec. 6 in the NCAA Tournament first round, led UC Santa Barbara to its first-ever outright Big West title with an undefeated 18-0 league record. The Gauchos produced a school-record 23-match winning streak to open the season en route to a 30-2 overall record. UC Santa Barbara, ranked seventh in the current USA Today/AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll, advanced to the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals. The Gauchos are 3-2 against current top 25 teams, including two victories over Long Beach State and a win over Wisconsin. Gregory, the only coach in UCSB volleyball history, was named the 1993 AVCA/Tachikara National Coach of the Year, as well as AVCA Region Coach of the Year in 1986 and 1990.