Here is a very cool honor for Jody DeGroot, who guided Bellarmine Prep of Tacoma to an unbeaten season and second straight Class 4A state volleyball championship:
LEXINGTON, Ky. (November 26, 2013) – The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) is proud to announce that Kim Lauwers, head girls’ volleyball coach at A.J. Dimond High School in Anchorage, Alaska, and Jody DeGroot, head girls’ volleyball coach at Bellarmine Preparatory School in Tacoma, Washington, have been selected as the 2013 AVCA National High School Coaches of the Year.
Led by ninth-year head coach Kim Lauwers, Dimond High School is once again ranked among the top high schools in the state and a perfect 14-0 in conference play (37-3 overall). The Lynx went on another great run in the Alaska Class 4A State Tournament, advancing all of the way to the championship match. Dimond’s Chrisalyn Johnson, Leah Swiss, and Rohyn Huss were named to the All-Tournament Team.
Lauwers also produced three Gatorade Players of the Year during her nine years as head coach, as well as six state appearances, four of which were state championships.
When she took over the volleyball program at Dimond High School in 2005, she revived a team that had been absent from the state tournament for three years. She then steered her team to Alaska state history, winning the State Championship in 2008, 2009, and 2010. This three-year winning streak has only happened once before in Alaska volleyball. In 2010, Lauwers led her team to the upset of undefeated and top-ranked South High School in the championship match.
With an impressive undefeated season this year at 35-0, Jody DeGroot’s Bellarmine Prep volleyball team finished first in their district, first in the Class 4a standings, and a No. 3 ranking in the latest MaxPreps Xcellent 25. The Lions won their second-straight State 4A title and were forced to only one five-set match during the season, and that came in the final match. Bellarmine (22-0) joins Ingraham (1973-74), Kent-Meridian (1978-79), Renton (1980-82), Shadle Park (1984-85), Kentlake (2000-02) and Mead (2003-07) as the only 4A programs to post consecutive State Titles. Several of her players have been on the Preseason All-American and Underclass All-American teams.
After returning to her former high school to teach in 1996, DeGroot began her coaching career as C team and junior varsity coach, where her teams were undefeated for three years. She was named varsity head coach in 2002 and never looked back. During her time at the varsity level, her teams have earned five Narrows League titles and made eight state appearances, three of which resulted in top-ten finishes. In 2012, she coached Bellarmine Prep to their first State Championship, and DeGroot was named the Narrows League Coach of the Year in 2012 as well.
The AVCA will formally present the National High School Coach of the Year awards to Lauwers and DeGroot at the 2013 Jostens Coaches Honors Luncheon in Seattle, Wash., on Thursday, December 19. The luncheon is held in conjunction with the 2013 AVCA Annual Convention.
As a result of winning AVCA National Coach of the Year honors, Lauwers and DeGroot will lead Team East and Team West in the sixth annual Under Armour All-America Volleyball Match & Skills Challenge, Friday, December 20th at Key Arena. Tickets for the Under Armour All-America Volleyball Match & Skills Challenge are on sale now through Ticketmaster.