2001 Tachikara/AVCA Division II Region Coaches of the Year
2001 AVCA Division II Tachikara/AVCA Region Coach of the Year
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO - The following coaches have been selected by their region as Tachikara/AVCA Division II 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 San Diego on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2001, at the American Volleyball Coaches Association National Convention. Among the honorees are four coaches who are leading their squads to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight Tournament for the first time, and six of the eight coaches will be leading their teams in the Elite Eight.
Atlantic Region Coach of the Year
Carmine Cortazzo, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
2001 Record: 25-12, 7-3 PSAC West, NCAA Tournament Regional Finalist
Coach/Team Bio: Coach Carmine Cortazzo, the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Western Division Coach of the Year for 2001, led his team to a second straight NCAA Tournament berth in 2001. The team finished with a 25-12 record and earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament Atlantic Region finals. Among significant wins, IUP defeated Atlantic Region Tournament winner Lock Haven in the regular season, along with California (Pa.), an Elite Eight semifinalist from a year ago and Juniata, a 2001 NCAA Tournament pick which has advanced to the NCAA Division III Semifinals, and defeated NCAA Division I Princeton. Cortazzo has turned the IUP team around from a 7-16 season in 1998 into a team that has averaged 23 wins the last three seasons. Prior to the Indians' current three-year run, IUP had not enjoyed a winning season since 1990.
Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year
Deanne Scanlon, Grand Valley State University
2001 Record: 28-4, 17-1 GLIAC, NCAA Tournament Elite Eight berth
Coach/Team Bio: Coach Deanne Scanlon has led her team back to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight for the second year in a row, despite a .500 start to the 2001 season through four games. Following a 2-2 beginning, Grand Valley State reeled off a school-record 22-match winning streak en route to a 28-4 overall record. GVSU won the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Regular season with a 17-1 record. Scanlon, the 2001 GLIAC Coach of the Year, has guided GVSU to wins over No. 15 Northern Kentucky and No. 25-tie Findlay twice each this season, in addition to previously ranked Michigan Tech (2-1 this year), Northern Michigan (2-0) and Northwood (2-0). Scanlon, who also won the Tachikara Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year in 2000, retooled this year's team, which lost two AVCA All-Americans to graduation into one of the best teams in school history based on winning percentage.
North Central Region Coach of the Year
Andrew Palileo, South Dakota State University
2001 Record: 26-5, 15-3 North Central Conference, NCAA Tournament Elite Eight berth
Coach/Team Bio: In his first season at South Dakota State, Andrew Palileo has continued the same momentum the team enjoyed last season as a regional finalist. SDSU, ranked No. 10 nationally, holds a 26-5 overall record and 15-3 mark in the North Central Conference. SDSU, which earned its first-ever NCAA Division II Elite Eight Tournament berth this year, is 6-4 against teams ranked among the current top 25 with wins over No. 4 North Dakota State (in regional final), No. 14 Augustana (three times), No. 20 Alabama-Huntsville and No. 25-tie Findlay. Among its five losses are four to teams in the top four in the national poll, including No. 2 Truman, No. 3 North Alabama and No. 4 North Dakota State (twice).
Northeast Region Coach of the Year
Garvey Pierre, Mercy College
2001 Record: 34-1, 11-0 New York Collegiate, NCAA Tournament Elite Eight berth
Coach/Team Bio: Coach Garvey Pierre has led Mercy to its first-ever NCAA Division II Elite Eight Tournament berth after winning the Northeast Region Tournament as the number-one seed. Mercy, currently 34-1 in the regular season and 11-0 in the New York Collegiate Athletic Conference, returned to the NCAA Tournament this year after finishing as the regional runner-up in 2000. Over the last two seasons, Pierre's squad has dropped just three matches while producing a .925 team winning percentage. Mercy now has won 58 straight matches against NYCAC opponents. Mercy, which has won the NYCAC title three straight years, has posted 20 or more wins in those seasons. Mercy, which received 21 points in the current AVCA Division II Coaches Top 25 Poll, has received votes in the national poll for much of the season, the first time any NYCAC school has accomplished the feat.
Pacific Region Coach of the Year
Kim Cherniss, Cal State University, San Bernardino
2001 Record: 29-3, 20-2 California Collegiate, NCAA Tournament Regional Finalist
Coach/Team Bio: Coach Kim Cherniss has blended a young, experienced team and avoided the sophomore jinx as five of six starters are in their second year of college eligibility. Cal State San Bernardino entered the NCAA Pacific Region Tournament as the number-one seed, but suffered a heart-breaking 3-2 loss to UC San Diego in the regional championship match. Last year, Cal State San Bernardino also lost in the regional final in a five-game match to eventual national champion Hawai'i Pacific. In 2001, the Coyotes finished the season with a 29-3 overall record and a 20-2 mark in the California Collegiate Athletic Association following last year's 26-8 campaign. The Coyotes own a 4-3 record against teams currently ranked in the top 25, including wins over No. 8 Metro State, No. 17 UC San Diego, No. 21 Western Washington and No. 22 Cal State Bakersfield. CSUSB's only losses have been to conference rivals UC San Diego (twice) and Cal State Bakersfield.
South Region Coach of the Year
Dave Nichols, Barry University
2001 Record: 29-2, 13-1 Sunshine State, NCAA Tournament Elite Eight berth
Coach/Team Bio: Barry, a consistent team ranked among the top 10 this season, has produced a 29-2 overall mark and 13-1 record in the Sunshine State Conference under Coach Dave Nichols' leadership. Barry qualified for the NCAA Division II Elite Eight Tournament by virtue of its South Region Tournament championship, which included a five-game win over Tampa in the finals. The Buccaneers tied Tampa for the best record in the Sunshine State. Barry, without a loss to an unranked team this year, is 6-2 against the current top 25 with wins over No. 7 Tampa (twice), No. 15 Northern Kentucky and No. 19 North Florida (three times). The Buccaneers' only losses in 2001 have come at the hands of West Texas A&M (ranked number-one much of the season) and conference rival Tampa. Coach Nichols, who also won the Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year award in 2001, has integrated many new faces into the Buccaneer lineup which has already yielded five more wins and eight fewer losses than last year. Nichols is completing his sixth year with the Barry program and has a 151-42 overall record.
South Central Region Coach of the Year
Qi Wang, Truman State University
2001 Record: 37-1, 16-0 Mid-America, NCAA Tournament Elite Eight berth
Coach/Team Bio: In his first year as head coach, Qi Wang (pronounced CHEE WONG) has guided the Bulldogs to a 37-1 overall record and No. 2 ranking in the AVCA Division II Coaches Top 25 Poll. Truman earned its first-ever NCAA Division II Elite Eight Tournament berth by winning the South Central Region championship with a 3-0 win over North Alabama. The Bulldogs, which has set school records this season for wins and longest winning streak, captured their first-ever outright MIAA title this year after sharing the honors last year for the first time. Truman, undefeated against NCAA opponents, has lost only to NAIA top-ranked Columbia College this season. Among the Bulldog wins this year are victories over No. 3 North Alabama (three times), No. 10 South Dakota State, No. 12 Central Missouri State (twice), No. 20 Alabama-Huntsville, No. 23 Rockhurst and previously-ranked Montevallo (twice). Truman is 8-0 against teams currently ranked among the top 25. Wang spent the previous four seasons as the assistant coach with the Bulldog program.
Southwest Region Coach of the Year
Shawn Back, Western State College
2001 Record: 29-4, 17-2 Rocky Mountain, NCAA Tournament Elite Eight berth
Coach/Team Bio: Coach Shawn Back led Western State to the RMAC Tournament championship match before losing to Metro State. However, the Mountaineers regrouped in the NCAA Southwest Regional Tournament by winning three consecutive matches as the number-three seed, including a four-game win over top-ranked West Texas A&M and a five-game win over No. 13 Nebraska-Kearney in the regional championship. Western State, now 29-4 overall this season, will make its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight Tournament this year. The Mountaineers have significant wins this season over top-ranked West Texas A&M (twice), No. 11 Regis, No. 13 Nebraska-Kearney (twice) and No. 14 Augustana (twice). Western State is one of nine teams this season to have gone undefeated against unranked teams. All four of WSC's losses have been to currently ranked national teams: No. 4 North Dakota State, No. 8 Metro State (twice) and No. 11 Regis. Western State has averaged 23 wins the last two seasons under Back's tutelage.