COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 14, 2007) -
USA Volleyball announced today the hiring of former Olympian Sue Woodstra as an assistant coach for the U.S. Women's National Volleyball Team. She will begin her duties with Team USA on June 1 and will continue in that role through the 2008 Olympics.
"Sue has a lot of knowledge and all-around skills, both as a player and coach, to impart to our national team players as we work toward Olympic qualification in 2007," U.S. Women's National Team Head Coach 'Jenny' Lang Ping said. "The next two years are very important for us, and she will be great in training our players."
Woodstra has spent the past five seasons as the head women's volleyball coach at Humboldt State University in Arcata, Calif. She will return as head coach of the Humboldt State volleyball program in 2008 after the Olympics. In the meantime, Humboldt Assistant Coach James Kealalio will continue working with the program in Woodstra's absence.
"I am extremely honored to be in this position with the support of Humboldt State University and USA Volleyball," Woodstra stated. "Working with Jenny has a lot to do with my acceptance of this position. I have always loved the international level, having played in the Olympics and coaching national youth teams in international competitions. It is very exciting to get back to this level through the national team program."
"It's an incredible honor for Coach Woodstra to be chosen for this position," Humboldt State Director of Athletics Dan Collen said. "It's a great opportunity for her personally and professionally, and also reflects well on our department and Humboldt State University."
Woodstra's 12-year college coaching career includes head coaching stints at University of Pittsburgh (1989-92) and University of California-Berkeley (1995-98). She mentored Pittsburgh to four consecutive conference championships and NCAA appearances for the Panthers. During that time, she earned Big East Coach of the Year honors in 1990. After Pittsburgh, Woodstra spent a year coaching internationally at the professional level in Germany, guiding the USC Munster team to a 28-4 record and the C.E.V. European Cup Championship in 1993.
"Sue has a college coaching background, and that is something our national team players can relate to from their own past college playing experiences," said USA Volleyball Women's Technical Coordinator Diane French, who was on the U.S. Women's Olympic Team in 1980 with Woodstra. "Sue is a student of the game, a teacher of the game. Personally, I am thrilled that she has accepted this opportunity. To have another coach of her stature and background can only help the team."
Last summer, Woodstra served as an assistant coach on the U.S. Girls' Youth National Team that won the 2006 NORCECA Girls' Youth Continental Championship in Gainesville, Fla. The victory qualified the U.S. for the FIVB Girls' Youth World Championship that will take place Aug. 2-12, 2007, in Mexico.
"I couldn't be more pleased to be able to add Sue Woodstra to our women's national team staff as we prepare for Olympic qualification and participation," USA Volleyball Chief Executive Officer Doug Beal said. "Sue is absolutely one of the greats in USA Volleyball history and has shown a remarkable ability to pass on her skills, dedication and passion to the athletes she works with. I am excited by what she can add to our staff, team and program. I am also grateful to Humboldt State for granting Sue a leave of absence to work with the national team through the Olympics."
Woodstra brings additional Olympic playing experience to the U.S. Women's National Team coaching staff that already boasts gold medalist Lang Ping. Woodstra is a two-time member of U.S. Olympic Teams in the early 1980s. She was captain of the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team that captured a silver medal in Los Angeles. Woodstra also was a member of the 1980 Olympic Team that did not compete due to the boycott. Overall, she spent eight years on the U.S. Women's National Team.
As a standout outside hitter at the University of Southern California, Woodstra helped the Lady Trojans to the 1977 AIAW National Championship while earning All-America honors.
Outside of competing for Team USA, Woodstra played four seasons (1984-88) on the professional level for the NEC Volleyball Team of the Japanese League. She is a four-time USVBA Women's Open First-Team All-American (1975, 1985-87) and the 1986 USVBA Women's Open Player of the Year. Woodstra competed on three USVBA Women's Open National Championship teams.
According to French, Woodstra was an all-around outside hitter with great ball control skills. "Sue may have been best known for her passing and defense in an era before the libero," French said. "However, she had all the tools needed as an outside hitter having to play all rotations."
Woodstra has been honored by USA Volleyball on several occasions. In 1993, she was selected as a USVBA Flo Hyman All-Time Great Volleyball Player for her career achievements. Woodstra earned a spot on the USVBA All-Era Team as part of the 2002-03 USA Volleyball Diamond Jubilee Celebration commemorating the organization's 75th Anniversary.
The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) inducted Woodstra into its Hall of Fame on Dec. 13, 2006.
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