UF’s Wise named AVCA National Coach of the Year

Florida coach Mary Wise is seeking to become the first woman coach to lead her volleyball team to an NCAA championship. [Brad McClenny/Staff photographer]

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – For the third time in her 31-year career as a head coach, Mary Wise has been named the USMC / American Volleyball Coaches Association Division I National Coach of the Year, the AVCA announced at their annual awards banquet Thursday afternoon.

Wise, who also won the award in 1992 and 1996, is the second three-time winner in history, joining longtime Penn State head coach Russ Rose (five times) as the only other person to accomplish the feat.

Wise and the Gators (29-1) are making their eighth all-time NCAA Semifinals appearance. It is the program’s first since 2003, when the Gators reached the NCAA Championship, making Wise the first female head coach in Division I history to coach the national title match. Wise remains the only woman to do so, and she is the only female head coach to reach multiple Division I national semifinals.

Florida’s 29 victories this season mark its highest win total since 2007, when it went 29-3 and reached the NCAA Regional Semifinals.

Earlier this season, Wise collected her 800th win as the Gators’ head coach, a position she has held for 27 seasons. Wise also picked up her 900th career victory and became the third female head coach in NCAA history to reach the 900-win plateau when Florida won its 23rd SEC title at Missouri (Nov. 25).

 The Gators also set a record with four individuals named first-, second-, or third-team AVCA All-Americans.

Florida faces Stanford in the NCAA semifinals at 9:30 p.m. tonight on ESPN.