The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) has recognized Emory University’s Jenny McDowell for the Eagles’ national championship season by naming her as the National Division III Coach of the Year.
McDowell completed her 13th season at the helm of the Emory program by guiding the Eagles to their first-ever national championship. After defeating Colorado College and Southwestern in its first two NCAA contests, Emory topped the College of Saint Benedict in the NCAA Division III quarterfinals before edging Ohio Northern in five games in the semifinals. In the championship match, the Eagles prevailed over No. 4-ranked La Verne, 3-1, and closed out the team’s record at 36-5, establishing a school seasonal record for most victories.
McDowell was tabbed as the AVCA South Region Coach of the Year for the third time in her career, and, Emory’s final victory total marked the 10th time during her tenure that the Eagles finished a season with 30 or more victories. In addition, Emory qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the 13th consecutive year under her guidance where it advanced to the Round of 16 for the 11th time. McDowell subsequently directed the Eagles to the school’s second-ever berth to the Final Four (2003 was the other appearance).
Her career record now stands at 406-117 and she notched her 400th career win on Nov. 7 when Emory defeated Brandeis University during the University Athletic Association Championships. Emory was ranked No. 1 nationally in the final Bison/AVCA Division III Poll and the Eagles have been ranked among the nation’s top 20 teams in every weekly poll since the early stages of 1996.
McDowell saw three of her players earn All-America honors in 2008, senior Dani Huffman (San Diego, Calif.) and Alysse Meyer (Stockton, Calif.) both garnered first-team recognition while freshman Natalie Schonefeld (Louisville, Ky.) was a second-team selection. McDowell has coached a total of 16 players to 24 All-America berths during her career.
“I am honored to be selected by the AVCA for this award,” McDowell said. “I feel truly blessed to coach at one of the finest institutions in the country. This season was so special because of the seventeen young women who committed themselves completely to our journey of achieving a national championship.
“The success that we experienced could not have been accomplished without the incredible work of our amazing assistant coaches, Justin Hart, Amanda Metz and Eric Hawes, as well as the support of the Emory administration.”
The AVCA will formally present the Division III National Coach of the Year award to McDowell at the 2008 Jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon in Omaha, Neb., on Thursday, Dec. 18. The luncheon is held in conjunction with the 2008 AVCA Annual Convention.
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