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Beverly Oden

Two Female Coaches Fill Highly Publicized Vacancies

By February 13, 2013

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The numbers of female head coaches in women's volleyball have been on the decline since the inception of Title IX. Back then, women coaches outnumbered men in the sport, but the tables have turned. In 2011-12, women made up less than half (just 45.7%) of Division I head coaches. Women made up 61.6% of Division I head coaches in 1995. But two recent job openings that attracted media attention for very different reasons have both been filled by women.

After the departure of one of the most famous female head coaches in volleyball who was the university's only coach in the history of the program, UC Santa Barbara announced the name of the new coach last week who will replace legendary player and coach Kathy Gregory. Gregory announced her retirement last month and assisted the Athletic Director in the search for her successor.

At a press conference tomorrow, Santa Barbara will introduce fans and boosters to new coach Nicole Lantagne Welch. Welch spent 12 years as the head coach at University of Miami and during her tenure she led the team to five NCAA tournament appearances - including the last four in a row -  and one appearance in the Sweet Sixteen. Last season she was named AVCA/East Region Coach of the Year. Lantagne Welch is from Encinitas, CA, a coastal community in San Diego County so she shouldn't have any trouble adapting to the lifestyle in Santa Barbara.

Over on the east coast, there was another high profile hire announced this week. After the controversy surrounding the women's volleyball coach at Virginia Commonwealth University in which the former coach alleged that he was fired because he is gay, the school announced its new coach going forward will also be a female.

New head coach Jody Rogers led the University of Indianapolis to the Division II Final Four last season on the way to the team's third 30+ win season in the last six years. In 16 total seasons there, she logged over 400 wins.

Congratulations, ladies. Best of luck.

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