Kathy DeBoer Chosen As AVCA's New Executive Director

Former Ferris State University women's volleyball head coach Kathy DeBoer (1980-83) was recently selected as the American Volleyball Coaches Association's (AVCA) new executive director. DeBoer, who officially begins her duties on Jan. 23, was introduced to AVCA constituent groups on Dec. 16 at the AVCA Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

"We are absolutely delighted that we can welcome Kathy DeBoer back to the AVCA as our next executive director," Joe Sagula, AVCA president and head women's volleyball coach at North Carolina, said. "As a former successful coach, Kathy DeBoer will bring a wealth of knowledge of our sport. In addition, as an experienced administrator at the highest levels she brings both leadership and management skills as she will become the new visionary for our organization."

DeBoer's attraction to the job included room for membership growth and the ability to use her past experiences. Current AVCA Executive Director Katherine McConnell has elected to step down effective Jan. 31, 2006.

"I feel like the organization is poised for growth," DeBoer said. "Volleyball is a national sport on both the men's and women's side, and this association can play a key role in promoting volleyball even further. This position is a chance to use my coaching knowledge, administrative skills and business background all at once. Plus, I will get to work in the sport I love with the people I love."

DeBoer is currently the Commissioner of General Services for the Lexington-Fayette (Ky.) Urban County Government. In that capacity she oversees Parks and Recreation, the Lexington Sports Authority, the Blue Grass State Games and a variety of other administrative areas including property, construction and fleet services.

"We hit a grand slam," Bonnie Kenny, AVCA incoming president and Delaware head women's volleyball coach, said. "Kathy DeBoer is a tremendous ambassador of volleyball and we look forward to her leadership."

DeBoer worked for 23 years in intercollegiate athletics serving as a volleyball coach, administrator and fundraiser prior to her government appointment. She served 18 years at the University of Kentucky, finishing her career as the senior associate athletics director. In that capacity, DeBoer directed a successful $30 million capital campaign and raised over $10 million in private gifts. She helped accumulate $3.5 million in endowment money to fund student-athlete scholarships. DeBoer also oversaw the Blue and White Fund, growing the annual giving from $2 million per year to $5 million per year.

DeBoer spent 13 years coaching women's volleyball before moving into collegiate administration. In her nine years as Kentucky's head coach, the Wildcats compiled a 212-96 record, won three Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championships and advanced to the NCAA Division I Tournament four times. DeBoer was named Tachikara/AVCA National Coach of the Year in 1987. While at Kentucky, DeBoer served a two-year term as AVCA president from 1991-92. She previously coached the Ferris State volleyball team to three conference championships and two NCAA Division II appearances between 1980 and 1983.

DeBoer, who served as the SEC representative to the NCAA Division I management council from 2000 to 2002, also was the chair of the finance committee of the NCAA Division I Business and finance cabinet from 1997 to 1999. She served as an advisor to the USA Women's National Team from 1988 to 1996 and was part of the coaching staff for three United States Olympic Sports Festival Teams along with the 1989 World University Games Team. DeBoer assisted with the 1993 Grand Prix in Seoul, South Korea, the 1994 World Championships in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.

DeBoer played two years of basketball in the Women's Professional Basketball League (WBL), one of the first professional leagues for women in the United States, between 1978 and 1980. While competing at Michigan State University she was a finalist for the Wade Trophy, the highest award given annually in women's basketball. Michigan State later honored DeBoer with the Nell Jackson Outstanding Alumna Award in 1989 and the Alumna Scholar Athlete Award in 1999. During her college career, DeBoer led MSU to a seventh place performance in the 1977 AIAW National Championships.

DeBoer has written numerous articles on competition, coaching, and intercollegiate athletics. Her work has appeared in The NCAA News, the National Federation News, Women in Higher Education, Coaching Volleyball, Coaching Women's Basketball, and Soccer Journal. She has authored book chapters for a sports medicine text entitled The Female Athlete and USA Volleyball's Annual Manual. She also has produced videotapes on skill development and gender differences in competitive settings. Her first book, Gender and Competition: How Men and Women Approach Work and Play Differently, was published by Coaches Choice in Dec. 2003. DeBoer is also a sought-after speaker for groups as diverse as athletics administrators, women in law enforcement and high school students in addition to being a frequent keynote speaker at academic conferences and business seminars.

DeBoer earned a bachelor of arts degree in humanities from Michigan State in 1978 and a masters of business administration from the University of Kentucky in 1988. She is married to Mark Pittman and will relocate to Colorado Springs, Colo., from Lexington, Ky.

"The AVCA is in a great position right now and with Kathy's leadership, I am confident we will continue to grow to new heights as an association of professionals and coaches and make our impact with the sport of volleyball," Sagula said.

A two-time (1981-82) Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC) "Coach of the Year," DeBoer led Ferris to its first two volleyball league titles (1982-83) and held an active 22-match conference winning streak when she left. She firmly established Ferris State as a top 10 team in the national polls as the Bulldogs claimed two-straight GLIAC Tournament titles (1982-83) and recorded two consecutive eighth-place national finishes (1982-83). One of the first to fight for Title IX rights, DeBoer later served at FSU as assistant athletics director.

Ferris' third head volleyball coach, DeBoer led FSU to its first two NCAA Tournament appearances and registered a 107-63 (.629) mark in four seasons at the helm. During the 1982 campaign, DeBoer led the Bulldogs to a 43-14 mark, which included a first-place 8-0 GLIAC finish. In her final campaign (1983), DeBoer helped FSU finish 33-12 overall and reach the regional finals. She was inducted into the Bulldog Athletics Hall of Fame in 2004.

Besides running her own summer camps at Ferris State, she also taught nationally, including two summers serving on the volleyball staff at the National Sports Festival - an Olympic training ground for America's top junior athletes. A Grand Rapids Christian High School graduate, DeBoer was the Most Valuable Player on MSU's 1978 basketball squad and a two-year starting forward for the Minnesota Fillies of the former WBL.

The AVCA executive director search committee consisted of Kenny (chair), Sagula, Macalester (Minn.) Head Women's Volleyball Coach Stephanie Schleuder, Utah Head Women's Volleyball Coach Beth Launiere, Greensboro (N.C.) Head Women's Volleyball Coach Jean Lojko and Florida Head Women's Volleyball Coach Mary Wise. The entire AVCA Board of Directors unanimously agreed to offer the position to DeBoer. Launiere is also a Grand Rapids native and was a Bulldog assistant coach from 1985-87.

The AVCA, with its national office based in Colorado Springs, provides a professional network for those individuals and companies dedicated to enhancing the world's fastest growing sport - volleyball. The AVCA, celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2005-06, has more than 3,300 members and is growing steadily. Membership is open to all coaching levels including collegiate (NCAA, NAIA, NCCAA, two-year colleges), high school, club, youth, national team and international. Other members include former players, officials, media members and friends of volleyball.

The mission of the AVCA is to advance the professionalism, development and growth of the sport of volleyball by providing coaches with educational programs, a forum for opinion exchange and recognition opportunities. Member participation is vital to the Association accomplishing this mission.

Ferris State concluded the 2005 campaign with a 22-10 overall record and recorded the program's seventh 20-win season in the last eight years to date. FSU, which reached the GLIAC Tournament for the eighth year in a row, also advanced to the NCAA-II National Tournament for the 13th time in school history.

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