Elaine Michaelis is only the third former BYU coach to receive the prestigious naming honor, along with former football coach LaVell Edwards and former track coach Clarence Robison. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
Legendary Coach to be Honored Friday Prior to BYU-Kansas Volleyball Match
PROVO -- For 40 years it was home to the teams of longtime BYU women's volleyball coach Elaine Michaelis. Friday the Smith Fieldhouse court will take on the legendary coach's name and be known as "Elaine Michaelis Court."
"This is a fitting tribute for a true legend in women's volleyball," said BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson. "We are pleased to honor Elaine Michaelis in this way."
BYU will honor the former Cougar coach and administrator in a ceremony prior to Friday's BYU-vs.-Kansas volleyball match. The naming ceremony is scheduled to begin at 6:45 p.m. Tickets to the match ($6 for reserved seat, $5 for general admission and $4 for seniors, BYU faculty/staff and students who do not have a BYU All-Sport Pass) can be purchased in advance at the BYU Marriott Center Ticket Office (801-422-BYU1) or Friday at the Smith Fieldhouse gate.
"Elaine is only the third former Cougar coach to receive the prestigious naming honor," said BYU Advancement Vice President K. Fred Skousen, "joining LaVell Edwards (LaVell Edwards Stadium named in 2000) and Clarence Robison (Clarence F. Robison Track and Field Complex named in 2004). We join with fans everywhere in paying tribute to a wonderful coach."
A legend in women's volleyball, Michaelis retired from coaching in May 2002 ranked second all-time in Division I victories and as the overall leader among female coaches in collegiate volleyball at any level with 886 wins. Michaelis guided the BYU women's volleyball program from 1961-2002 and also served as BYU's director of women's intercollegiate athletics from 1995-2004.
"What Elaine accomplished during her career is almost unparalleled," said BYU Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe. "She built BYU into one of the elite volleyball programs in the nation while tutoring and mentoring many student-athletes and coaches during her 40 years as a coach. She is such a great person and is truly a coaching legend. With the naming of Elaine Michaelis Court, we can be inspired with a continual reminder of Elaine's great legacy."
While compiling an overall record of 886-225-5 (.792), Michaelis never suffered a losing season and finished her career with an amazing string of 28 consecutive 20-win seasons. Her teams qualified for 30 of the 33 national tournaments, including 20 of 21 NCAA tournaments. Michaelis achieved a national tournament record of 73-44 (.624), with her 1972-73 team finishing as the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women national runner-up while her 1993 squad became the first BYU team to qualify for an NCAA Final Four. Only four Division I programs played in more NCAA tournaments than BYU during Michaelis' career.
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 were volleyball members, including the inaugural Mountain West Conference title in 1999 with a 13-1 league record. Overall, her teams claimed 23 conference crowns.
Under Michaelis' tutelage, 18 players earned 51 All-America awards and six players were singled out for major individual national honors, with the top award going to Mariliisa Salmi in 1986 as the Collegiate Volleyball Coaches Association National Player of the Year. Four athletes also earned seven Academic All-America awards.
On December 18, 2003, Michaelis became a member of the inaugural class inducted into the American Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame. She was named the United States Olympic Committee National Coach of the Year in 2002 and received the USA Volleyball All-Time Great Coach Award in 2001. Michaelis was honored by her peers as conference coach of the year eight times and was named the 1987 Tachikara Northwest Region Division I Coach of the Year and the 1996 NCAA District 7 Coach of the Year.
Michaelis' first involvement in BYU women's athletics was as a student participating in volleyball, basketball and softball from 1956-60. An excellent athlete, she once pitched a no-hitter and a one-hitter 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 BYU women's teams in 1961. She went on to earn a M.S. degree in physical education from BYU in 1962 and obtain the rank of associate professor of physical education and full athletic professional.
Through the 1960s and into the early 1970s, she coached volleyball, basketball, softball, and field hockey at BYU. She continued on as basketball coach until 1977, logging an intercollegiate record of 48-34 from 1972-1977. She was also the director of the women's intramural and extramural programs for 10 years.
For seven seasons beginning in 1995, Michaelis served simultaneously as both women's volleyball head coach and women's athletics director. During that span, she assisted in planning many facility improvements at BYU, including Miller Park, the Indoor Practice Facility, Student Athlete Building, and renovations to the Smith Fieldhouse.