Luenemann Tabbed as National Coach of the Year for Third Time
St. Louis, Mo., November 24, 2009 – Washington University in St. Louis volleyball head coach Rich Luenemann has been named the 2009 Division III American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) National Coach of the Year, as announced Tuesday by the organization.
Luenemann led the 2009 Washington U. volleyball team to the NCAA Division III National Championship, defeating Juniata College, 3-1, in the title match on Nov. 21, in University Heights, Ohio. The national title is the third of Luenemann’s career; he won his first championship in 2003, and also won a national title in 2007. He has been tabbed as the National Coach of the Year after each of his three national championship seasons.
“It was a fitting ending to a storybook season,” Luenemann said of the 2009 campaign, which yielded Washington University its NCAA-record 10th volleyball national championship. “In all the years I have coached, I’ve never had a team come so close to fully reaching its potential.”
Washington U. began the 2009 season ranked No. 5 in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll, and was ranked No. 8 after starting the year with a 6-2 overall record. However, before falling to Emory University in the University Athletic Association title match, WU won 22-consecutive matches against NCAA Division III competition, and ended the season by winning 23 of its last 24 contests, finishing with a mark of 34-4.
Washington U. played one of the toughest schedules in the country, posting an 11-3 mark against teams ranked in the AVCA Top-25 Poll. Luenemann helped mentor three student-athletes to 2009 AVCA All-America honors, freshman libero Kelly Pang (first-team), freshman setter Marilee Fisher (second-team) and senior middle hitter Erin Albers (second-team). Additionally, Pang was tabbed as the Division III National Freshman of the Year.
Luenemann came to Washington University in 1999, after spending 18 years as the head volleyball coach at the University of St. Francis, where he won 590 matches. Since starting at WU, he has posted a record of 380-52 (.880), and in 29 years as a collegiate head coach, Luenemann has posted an overall record of 970-314 (.756). He has guided the Bears to 11-straight NCAA appearances and WU has advanced to six national title matches under Luenemann’s tutelage.
The AVCA will present Luenemann with the National Coach of the Year award at the 2009 Jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Dec. 17.