John Cook among 2017 AVCA Hall of Fame class
LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 31, 2017) - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is proud to announce the 15th annual AVCA Hall of Fame class. Debbie Brown, John Cook, Cecile Reynaud, and Roseanne Wegrich will all be honored in ceremonies at the 2017 Jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon, held in conjunction with the 2017 AVCA Convention in Kansas City, Missouri.
The AVCA annually recognizes those individuals who have reached the pinnacle of their profession and the sport with the AVCA Hall of Fame. The first AVCA Hall of Fame class, a total of 23 individuals who had earned either the AVCA Founders Award or AVCA Excellence in Education Award, was honored at the 2003 AVCA Convention. These four will make a total of 77 members in the AVCA Hall of Fame.
On his Nebraska Huskers bio page, the very first sentence describes his coaching philosophy as “Dream Big.” However, he’s done a lot more than dream about success, he’s achieved it. Three NCAA Championships, 11 conference titles, 49 AVCA All-Americans, two AVCA Coach of the Years, a USA Volleyball All-Time Great Coach Award, and five AVCA All-Region awards are just the tip of the iceberg when reviewing his hall of fame career.
His coaching career began in San Diego, CA as the head assistant at then-NCAA Division III UC San Diego, where he helped lead them to a national title in 1984 and a national runner-up the previous year. While in Southern California, he served as the head coach of Francis Parker High School while also co-founding the San Diego Volleyball Club.
As he moved up the coaching ranks, Cook continued to win everywhere he went. In his first stint with Nebraska (1989-1991) as an assistant under now fellow hall of famer Terry Pettit, the Huskers advanced to the NCAA Semifinals twice and won the Big Eight Conference Championship in all three seasons. He continued his strong assistant skills under head coach Fred Sturm at USA Volleyball, together leading the Americans to a bronze medal at the Barcelona Olympics in 1992.
With his strong reputation as a collegiate and national team assistant intact, it was time for Cook to have his shot leading an NCAA Division I program. The University of Wisconsin gave him that opportunity in 1992, and for seven years accumulated a 161-73 record racking up five NCAA Tournament appearances. In 1995, Cook’s Badgers won the National Invitational Volleyball Championship (returns this season) running the table with a 6-0 record.
However, his destiny was back in Lincoln. He took over the squad in 2000, and guided the program to its second NCAA Championship and winning the AVCA National Coach of the Year in his very first year. Fast-forward 17 years and two championships later, Nebraska has remained one of the nation’s powerhouse programs, even after transitioning to the volleyball stacked Big Ten Conference. Through sky-rocketing success, he has guided the team to rank among the nation’s top attendance leaders. They moved their home matches to the Devaney Center in 2013, which seats 7,907, to accommodate the rabid fanbase.
“What sets John apart from other exceptional coaches is the effort he made in trying to make women’s volleyball a premier collegiate sport,” said his Nebraska predecessor Terry Pettite. “He has done this by promoting the sport on television, leading the country in attendance, by hosting regional and national NCAA events, by encouraging his peers to do everything possible to create an atmosphere that showcases women’s volleyball, and by leading one of the very few women’s programs in any sport to produce a net profit.”
Many are in the hall of fame because of their outstanding achievements as either a player, coach, or administrator, but Debbie Brown has the resume in all categories to leave a lasting mark.
Her playing career is quite a distinguished one. She’s a two-time winner of the Mikasa Award while at the University of Southern California for being the nation’s best all-around player, and captained the Trojans to a 72-1 record and a pair of championships in those two years. The 5-8 outside hitter’s No. 5 jersey currently hangs from the Galen Center’s rafters. She left the program after her junior year to join the USA National Team, where she served as co-captain of the 1980 Olympic team. In 1995, USA Volleyball honored Brown the “All-Time Great Volleyball Player” award, which is the highest honor handed out by the organization.
Brown was able to take the incredible knowledge and leadership from inside the court to the sidelines. She led the program at Arizona State University to be one of the best in the country, earning five NCAA Tournament berths. However, USA Volleyball came calling. She became an assistant coach on the women’s national team, and trained the team’s defense. Thanks to her efforts, the red, white and blue took home a bronze medal at the 1990 World Championships in China.
She continued her legendary career at the University of Notre Dame in 1991, where in more than two decades she amassed over 500 wins. The turnaround of the program when she took over helped shape the Irish tradition for decades to come. They had just five winning seasons prior to her arrival, and she went on to make Notre Dame a perennial power in their once new conference, the Big East.
In addition to playing and coaching, administratively she continued to make an impact. Brown has spent time on the USA Volleyball Board of Directors and the U.S. Olympic Committee Athlete Advisory Counsel. Not to mention her stint as the AVCA President from 1995-1996, while also once serving as a member of the AVCA All-America Committee.
Throughout her career, she has coached and mentored numerous athletes and assistants who have gone on to have great careers in volleyball themselves.
“Debbie’s tenure in the volleyball community is a ‘gold standard’ for everything that is both good and right about American sport, with the underpinning characteristics of unqualified integrity and the pursuit of excellence always in full view,” said current Duke Athletics Director and former Notre Dame Athletics Director Kevin White.
With a resume of accomplishments spanning more than 45 years, it should come as no surprise Reynaud will enter the AVCA Hall of Fame. After a hall of fame playing career at Southwest Missouri State University, she has gone on to become one of the all-time great volleyball coaches, administrators, authors, and speakers.
From 1976-2001, Reynaud guided the Florida State University Seminoles to over 635 victories. At the time of her retirement, she was just one of eight active coaches to register more than 600 wins. During her Seminoles career, she picked up four conference coach of the year awards and seven conference championships (six Metro Conference and one ACC). Overall, her teams competed in 10 NCAA Tournaments. In 1989, Reynaud received the USA Volleyball George J. Fischer Award for her contributions to the sport of volleyball and took home the AVCA South Region Coach of the Year honor the same year. However, she deserves recognition not only because of her team’s accomplishments on the court, but off it. In 2000-2001, Reynaud’s Seminoles earned the Director’s Cup for Service, given annually to the team that performs the most community service hours.
Her career spanned international competition as well. In 1983, she served as an assistant coach for the World University Games in Canada, and went on to coach the United States Junior National Team. Highly respected by her peers, she held the honorable position of Deputy Competition Manager for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. Additionally, she served on both the USA Volleyball and AVCA Board of Directors and once served as the AVCA President.
Also an accomplished author and speaker, Reynaud has written numerous books including The Volleyball Coaching Bible, Vol. I + II, She Coach Coach!, and Coaching Volleyball: Techniques and Tactics. You can also find countless coaching instructional DVDs or find her in a gym demonstrating in person at a local clinic. Perhaps you may have heard her on television serving as a color analyst, or on the stage of an AVCA Awards banquet as an emcee.
“Many volleyball coaches and fans would rightly consider Cecile Reynaud to be one of the faces of volleyball in the USA,” said 2015 AVCA Hall of Fame Inductee Stephanie Schleuder.
There are individuals who have made a nice career out of volleyball, and there are some who are just volleyball lifers. Wegrich definitely falls into the latter category. A coach spanning four decades, she has accumulated an astounding 743 NCAA victories at the University of Minnesota (1975-1977), University of Arizona (1977-1991), and Cal Poly Pomona (1992-Present).
Before she hit the sidelines as an all-time great coach, she put up quite a playing career. She was a captain at San Diego State University while also representing the country in international competition against Mexico and Canada. In six years playing in the International Volleyball Association, she took home the IVA’s Most Valuable Female Player Award three times and was named to the All-Pro team on four occasions (1976-1979).
While she was establishing her own playing career, she also began what would later be a hall of fame coaching career. Getting her start up north in Minnesota as just the program’s third ever coach, she recorded 71 victories in just two seasons before making her way to the warmer and dryer air of Tucson, Arizona.
Wegrich helped the Wildcats to over 250 victories in 15 seasons, which were the most in program history until current head coach Dave Rubio surpassed that mark in 2005. In that span, they made nine appearances in the NCAA Tournament and were a mainstay in the AVCA Coaches Poll since its inception in 1982. In 1988, she was named the AVCA Northwest Region Coach of the Year.
Wegrich cemented her hall of fame career after moving to the NCAA Division II’s Cal Poly Pomona. Still at the helm after a quarter of a century, she has over four hundred wins to her name as a Bronco. She’s one of the all-time wins leaders at the Division II level, while leading nine teams to the NCAA Tournament. Six different players under her tutelage have garnered AVCA All-American honors.
“Another way to measure her impact on the sport is by the many players who have been inspired by Rosie to coach after their college careers,” said Olympian and former Humboldt State Head Coach Sue Woodstra. “Rosie has mentored many young women as they made the transition from student-athlete to coach. She has motivated them to share their passion and skills learned while playing for her. Through them she will continue to have an influence on volleyball for many years.”