Elaine Michaelis announced her retirement from coaching at a press conference Tuesday (May 28, 2002). She will continue as the director of women's athletics at BYU. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- Elaine Michaelis, BYU's director of Women's Intercollegiate Athletics and longtime head women's volleyball coach, today announced she is retiring from coaching to dedicate more time to her responsibilities overseeing the university's women's athletic program.
Having just completed her 40th season as the school's volleyball coach, she retires with the longest tenure of any BYU head coach in any sport, sharing the honor with longtime men's track coach Clarence Robison. Michaelis has served as the director of women's athletics the past seven years.
In this position, Michaelis oversees 11 women's intercollegiate sports in one of the nation's top overall athletic programs. A perennial top-20 finisher in the annual Sear's Director's Cup honoring the nation's top overall athletic programs, BYU receives a significant portion of its high marks from its women's teams. Last year, the women's program placed eighth among all women's programs in total Sear's Cup points. This season six women's teams won Mountain West Conference titles and nine advanced to NCAA play, with cross country achieving its third national championship in the last five years.
"I still enjoy coaching but there is a need for me to be more involved as an administrator," Michaelis said. "We need to secure more resources for women's athletics and more financial support for facilities. I am especially grateful for the support of my assistant coaches and other women administrators these past seven years while I have simultaneously served as both a coach and an administrator. Looking back at my coaching career, I have so many great memories. I have particularly enjoyed my association with the student-athletes. We have shared some special experiences together."
A legend in the coaching profession, Michaelis retires as the all-time leader in victories among female coaches in collegiate volleyball at any level with 887 wins (in 33 seasons since volleyball records were maintained at BYU in 1969). She ranks second overall in Division I women's volleyball victories, trailing only UCLA's Andy Banachowski (919 wins in 35 seasons). Only six other female coaches (all softball coaches) have ever achieved more wins than Michaelis in an NCAA Division I sport.
"Elaine is both an excellent coach and an excellent administrator," said BYU Advancement Vice President K. Fred Skousen. "With her retirement from coaching, she leaves an immense legacy that will, quite possibly, never be matched. This experience, dedication and devotion to women's athletics is also what makes Elaine such a fine administrator. We look forward to working with her, as her responsibilities are enhanced and enlarged in our athletic program."
Skousen and Michaelis will head up a committee to select Michaelis' replacement. The search will begin immediately. Interested applicants are welcome to contact the Women's Athletics Office at 801-422-4225.
While compiling an overall record of 887-225-5 (.796), Michaelis never suffered a losing season. With last year's 20-9 mark, Michaelis completed her 28th consecutive 20-win season while advancing to her 12th straight NCAA tournament. Overall, her teams qualified for 30 of the 33 national tournaments, including 20 of 21 NCAA tournaments. Her 1972-73 team finished as the national runner-up, and her 1993 squad became the first BYU team to qualify for an NCAA Final Four. Michaelis achieved a national tournament record of 73-44 (.624), including the ninth-best NCAA record of any school at 26-20 (.565). Only four teams have played in more NCAA tournaments.
Against conference competition, Michaelis' teams were dominating, earning an incredible 356-37 (.906) record. She holds the distinction of winning the inaugural championship in each of the five leagues in which the Cougars have been volleyball members, including the inaugural Mountain West Conference title in 1999 (with a 13-1 league record). Overall, her teams claimed 23 conference titles.
Bringing in top-flight talent and teaching sound fundamental volleyball resulted in BYU players earning many honors during Michaelis' tenure. Under her guidance, 18 players earned 51 All-America awards, including nine AVCA/CVCA and six Volleyball magazine first-team honors. Six players earned national player honors, including Mariliisa Salmi, the 1986 CVCA National Player of the Year. Four athletes earned seven Verizon Academic All-America awards.
Also recognized on numerous occasions, Michaelis was honored by her peers as conference coach of the year eight times -- once in the Intermountain Athletic Conference, three times in the High Country Athletic Conference and four times in the Western Athletic Conference. She was named the 1987 Tachikara Northwest Region Division I Coach of the Year and the 1996 NCAA District 7 Coach of the Year. She was inducted into the Utah Summer Games Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Hall of Fame of the Utah Network for Women and Girls in Sport in 1990. In 1993, she was one of three honorees of the Salt Lake City Old Time Coaches Association. She was also the 1994 recipient of the Dale Rex Memorial Award, an honor given annually by the BYU Cougar Club to the person who has contributed the most to amateur athletics in Utah.
For her years of dedication, Michaelis received the Volleyball Festival Distinguished Service to U.S. Volleyball Award in 1993. She also accepted the American Volleyball Coaches Association Founders Award, which honors individuals who have been involved in the advancements of volleyball for at least 15 years, at the 1996 AVCA Coach of the Year luncheon. In 2001, USA Volleyball honored Michaelis with its All-Time Great Coach Award.
Michaelis has been part of BYU's women's athletics program since she was a student participating in volleyball, basketball and softball from 1956-60. An excellent athlete, she once pitched a no-hitter and two one-hitters on the same day during a regional softball tournament at the University of Colorado in 1959. After graduating with a B.S. degree in physical education in 1960, she was hired to coach several of BYU's women's teams in 1961. She went on to obtain an M.S. degree in physical education from BYU in 1962 and holds the rank of associate professor of physical education and full athletic professional.
Through the 1960s and into the early 1970s -- the era of BYU's "sports days," she coached volleyball, basketball, softball and field hockey. She continued on as basketball coach until 1977, logging an intercollegiate record of 48-34 from 1972-1977. She also served as director of the women's intramural and extramural programs at BYU for 10 years.
BYU's new women's volleyball coach will be the third in the school's history. Prior to Michaelis, JoAnne Calderwood coached from 1956-61.