1999 Tachikara/AVCA Division II Region Coaches of the Year


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1999 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 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 Honolulu, Hawai'i on Thursday, Dec. 16, 1999 at the American Volleyball Coaches Association National Convention.

Atlantic Region Coach of the Year
Tom Justice, Lock Haven University
Lock Haven (32-5) was undefeated in both Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) and NCAA Atlantic Region play.  The team has been ranked No. 1 in both the conference and in the Atlantic Region since beating the previous No.1 team in early September.  They defeated Minnesota-Duluth to mark the program's first win over a nationally ranked team.  LHU met the Atlantic Region's second ranked Edinboro three times this season, defeating them in each contest to go 10-0 in the PSAC conference, the first time a team has gone through the PSAC regular season undefeated, and winning the a PSAC Championship Tournament.  LHU will participate as one of the eight teams in the NCAA national semi-finals in Battle Creek, Michigan, facing West Texas A&M.

Great Lakes Region Coach of the Year
Mary Biermann, Northern Kentucky University
Biermann has led Northern Kentucky (32-1) to its third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, where they will play North Alabama in the semi-finals in Battle Creek, Michigan.  The Norse are ranked No. 3 in the AVCA Division II Coaches Top 25 poll and have wins over Top 25 teams North Dakota State, Tampa, North Florida, Central Missouri State and Northern Michigan. NKU has also beaten regional powers Northwood, IPFW and Southern Illinois Edwardsville.  Biermann has guided NKU to a 61-5 record during the past two seasons.  The Norse own a 34-match win streak at home, including two wins in the NCAA tournament.  Despite two significant injuries this season, Biermann has kept NKU among the nation's elite teams as the Norse are looking for their first-ever national championship.

North Central Region Coach of the Year
Linda Delk, University of Northern Colorado
Northern Colorado (25-7) was not ranked nationally at the start of the 1999 season and had not attended a regional or national tournament in three years.  They currently rest at No. 7 in the AVCA Division II Coaches Top 25 having defeated Regis, Colorado Christian, Central Missouri State, Barry University, North Dakota State, Augustana, and Nebraska-Omaha all ranked in the top 10 at the time, except for CC.  The team was ranked all season in the North Central Region, with a highest ranking of No.1-tie and lowest of No.3.  UNC was selected to participate in the 1999 Division II national championship and advanced to the second round with a win over Nebraska-Omaha.  Delk is in her 24th year at UNC amassing an overall record of 658-267 (.711).

Northeast Region Coach of the Year
Garvey Pierre, Mercy College (NY)
Pierre, the 1999 New York Collegiate Athletic Conference (NYCAC) Coach of the Year, led Mercy (37-4) to a berth in the 1999 NCAA Division II Women's Volleyball Championship and a first round victory over Pace University.  Mercy was ranked No. 2 in the Northeast Region all season, won the NYCAC championship and set a new school record for wins in 1999 with 37.  The team has consistently improved under Pierre, going 18-19 in 1996; 32-12 in 1997 and 31-13 in 1998.  Mercy defeated nationally ranked Florida Southern and Northeast Region No.1 ranked New Haven this season.

Pacific Region Coach of the Year
Wilfred Navalta, BYU-Hawai'i
BYU-Hawai'i (27-2) enters its second NCAA national championship tournament since moving to Division II in 1998.  The Seasiders have won the Pacific region and are headed for the quarterfinals against North Dakota State.  BYU-Hawai'i was ranked No. 1 or No. 2 all season in the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll and in the NCAA Pacific Region.  In 15 seasons at the Seasider helm, Navalta has compiled a 349-61(.856) record. He has guided BYU-Hawai'i to eleven conference titles, one NCAA Division II and eleven NAIA tournament appearances and NAIA titles in 1986, '87, '91, '92, '94, '95, '96 and '97.

South Region Coach of the Year
Chris Catanach, University of Tampa
Tampa (30-4) is making its fourth consecutive NCAA national championship appearance and fourteenth overall.  Tampa has progressed to the semi-finals to be held in Battle Creek, Mich.  Tampa has spent the past four years as the No. 1 ranked team in the south region. The entire 1999 season, Tampa ranked in the top ten of the AVCA Division II Coaches Top 25 and recorded significant wins over nationally ranked teams Colorado Christian, North Alabama, North Florida, Barry University and Florida Southern to highlight the year.  This season, Tampa won its fourth Sunshine State conference title in a row.  Earlier this year, Catanach earned his 500th victory and supports a career record of 512-112 (.821).

South Central Region Coach of the Year
Tracy Rietzke, Rockhurst University
Rockhurst (41-2) defeated nationally ranked North Alabama and Central Missouri State on the way to a 40-1 regular?season record. Ranked No. 1 or tied at No.1in the NCAA South Central Region all season, Rockhurst reeled off 33 consecutive victories leading into the NCAA national championship.  The team began the season ranked 23rd in the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll and currently sits at No. 11.  Rietzke, in his 18th season of collegiate coaching, broke the 700-victory barrier in the 29th match of the season.  He ended the season with an overall record of 713-123 (.853).

Southwest Region Coach of the Year
Darin Weber, Western State College
Western State (25-7) is currently ranked No. 21 in the AVCA Division II Coaches Top 25 and finished No. 3 in the Southwest Region.  After winning 24 matches in the last two seasons combined, WSC won a school-record 24 in 1999, breaking the previous mark of 22 in 1996.  Weber's team went 17-2 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (RMAC) including a perfect 12-0 in the RMAC's West Division, the first time a team has swept the West.  The biggest win of the season and one of the biggest upsets of the year, came when the unranked Mountaineers beat then-No. 3 West Texas A&M in four games ending the Lady Buffs' school-record of 57 straight wins at home.  That victory propelled the Mountaineers into the AVCA Division II Coaches Top 25 (No. 24) for the first time ever in program history.  Weber was named the RMAC Coach of the Year, leading his team to the championship match of the RMAC Tournament and qualifying for the NCAA national championship for the first time.

L-R. Darin Weber, Linda Delk, Tracy Rietzke, Tom Justice, Wilfred Navalta

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