The Collegiate Volleyball Update (CVU.com) is pleased to announce its selection of Creighton coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth as the 2010 CVU.com National Coach of the Year.
After coming close and just missing out on the NCAA Tournament in the past, Booth's eighth season was the breakthrough year for the Bluejays.
Finishing second in the Missouri Valley Conference for the third time during Booth's tenure, Creighton finally earned an NCAA Tournament bid, picking up an at-large berth after advancing to MVC Tournament title match.
Finally getting the chance to play in the post season, the Bluejays didn't squander it, downing Iowa State for their first-ever NCAA tournament victory in their first-ever tournament match.
Creighton finished the year 21-12 — tying the school-record for wins — and 13-5 in the Missouri Valley Conference. It was an improvement of seven wins overall versus the 2009 campaign.
For her career with the Bluejays, Booth is 141-101 and is the school's all-time wins leader.
Receiving honorable mention honors are Carolyn Zimmerman of Cal State Fullerton, Mississippi's Joe Getzin, Utah State head coach Grayson DuBose and Ed Allen from Tulsa.
After four years of guiding Tulsa to the top of Conference USA, fifth-year coach Ed Allen put one more record-setting season into the books. The previous four campaigns all resulted in at least 20 wins, but 2010 saw a program-best 31, as Tulsa ran off 30-straight victories during the season. The Golden Hurricane was a perfect 20-0 in Conference USA play, earning its second-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament and upsetting LSU to claim its first-ever tournament win. Tulsa finished with a 31-3 record after falling to Oklahoma in the second round. Following the regular season, Allen was honored as the Conference USA Coach of the Year. For his career at Tulsa, Allen compiled a 133-37 record. He has accepted a position to coach at Alabama in 2011.
It was the first place he coached in college, and now back, Grayson Dubose has led Utah State to its own first. Downing perennial power Hawai'i in the conference tournament, the Aggies earned their first-ever WAC Tournament Championship in 2010. That was the culmination of Dubose's fifth season that saw a solid turnaround for Utah State. After going 11-17 in 2008 and 15-14 in 2009, the Aggies won their first 13 matches of 2010 and were 15-1 starting conference play. They then would close out the season winning nine of 10 matches to earn the WAC's automatic trip to the NCAA Tournament — their first since 2005. After a tournament loss to California, Utah State finished 24-8 — it's most wins since 1982.
In his ninth season, Joe Getzin continued the success Mississippi has had in recent years, leading the Rebels to their third NCAA tournament appearance after back-to-back trips in 2006 and 2007. That success included a big turnaround, especially in SEC play. In 2009, Ole Miss was last in the conference, finishing 4-16 and 10-20 overall. Jump forward to 2010 that record nearly flipped. The Rebels improved to fourth place in the tough SEC, second in their division and compiled a 19-11 record, including the aforementioned trip to the NCAA Tournament. The year also resulted in individual recognition, as middle Regina Thomas was the team's first All-SEC first team selection since 1990.
The climb to the top of the Big West wasn't gradual by any means for Cal State Fullerton. Having finished no better than fifth in the past, the Titans changed that in 2010, improving by six wins in the conference to claim first place and their first-ever NCAA Tournament bid. In her ninth season, Carolyn Zimmerman guided Fullerton to its best season ever with a program-best 14-2 Big West mark and 25 total wins. That win total surpasses the 18 wins in 2009, which, at the time, tied the school record. The Titans also put together a record nine-straight wins to close out the regular season. Zimmerman was recognized as the Big West Coach of the Year for her success — her first such honor.
Coach of the Year
Kirsten Bernthal Booth, Creighton
The Honorable Mentions are not listed in a specific order and should be referred to as an "Honorable Mention" or one of the "Top Five."