Aug. 8, 2013
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - For the third straight year, the University of Tennessee volleyball team has earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award. In all, 622 teams across the high school and collegiate volleyball landscape received the honor for the 2012-13 season, setting a new record for the number of teams recognized.
"I'm very proud of the team's effort on being able to focus great energy on academics as well as continue to play volleyball at a championship level," Tennessee Head Coach Rob Patrick said. "Most of the credit goes to the players, but also to the incredible support we get from the Thornton Academic Center, which I believe is the premiere academic support center in the country. It has allowed our players to excel at challenging programs ranging from pre-med to accounting."
The award, which was initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative GPA on a 5.0 scale.
Tennessee recorded its sixth consecutive semester with at least a 3.30 overall team GPA this past spring, finishing the 2012-13 academic year with a department-best 3.58 GPA. UT's volleyball team has recorded a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher for 11 consecutive semesters, which totals to the last five and a half years.
"The consistent effort that our young ladies bring to their academic endeavors produces a high GPA and standard that you see with our team," Patrick said.
For the 2010-11 and 2011-12 academic years, Tennessee was the only team in the Southeastern Conference to earn the AVCA Team Academic Award. This year, the Lady Vols are one of five league schools to be recognized for its academic excellence out of a total of 130 Division I women's volleyball programs.
"Excellence doesn't happen by accident, either on the court or in the classroom," said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. "It takes consistent preparation, relentless effort, and determined leadership. A full year of academic achievement, by an entire team of individual students, is a remarkable achievement. What better way to start a new season than with a celebration of an award so emblematic of all that is necessary for sustained success."
The AVCA Team Academic Award has become one of the AVCA's fastest growing awards programs, seeing an impressive surge in teams honored over the past several years. Since the 2000-2001 season, the number of recipients has increased every single year but one, while amassing an overall 300% increase over the span of the last decade. Since the award's inception in 1993, the amount of award winners has increased from 62 to its current number of 622.
The Orange and White kicks off the 2013 season at the Cincinnati Invitational August 30 when UT takes on Morehead State at 10:30 a.m. ET