TAMPA - The University of South Florida has named Courtney Draper its new head volleyball coach, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Doug Woolard announced on Tuesday. Draper brings nine years of head coaching experience at the Division I and II levels and 12 years of overall coaching experience to the Bulls' program. Most recently, Draper served as head coach at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg for the last eight years.
"I'm so pleased that Coach Draper has accepted this opportunity at USF," said Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Doug Woolard. "I am very confident that she will provide terrific leadership and build on the great foundation in our women's volleyball program."
"Courtney is a dynamic coach, who has demonstrated proven success throughout her career," said Associate Director of Athletics and Senior Woman Administrator Amy Perkins. "She has a great balance of experience having overseen programs on both the Division I and II levels, while also serving as an assistant with two of the ACC's finest programs. Her track record over the last nine years as a head coach is outstanding, and her experience as a Senior Woman Administrator demonstrates her attention to the needs of student-athletes. We believe Courtney is the perfect fit for our program and think her personality and coaching credentials will help our program take the next step in its development."
While at Eckerd, Draper guided the Tritons to five NCAA DII Tournament appearances in just eight seasons, including a second-round appearance in 2009 and a third-round showing in '11. The third-round appearance marked the school's deepest run in program history. In addition, Draper mentored the school's first All-America honorees, produced 18 All-Conference players and coached 44 Commissioner's Honor Roll student-athletes.
"I'm overjoyed at the opportunity to lead the Bulls volleyball program," Draper stated. "I've always had such respect for the program and people at USF and it's been a dream of mine to work at one of the best Universities in the state. The administration at USF has shown great support for their volleyball program, and I believe that gives us the opportunity to achieve new levels of success. I've had an unbelievable time working at tremendous places like Eckerd and Florida State, but I can't wait to start this new journey with USF."
The 2011 campaign was a special one for Draper as she eclipsed the 150-career win milestone in her coaching career (160-118 overall). The Tritons, which ranked as high as No. 21 in the AVCA Top 25 Coaches Poll, crashed the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Championships South Regional for the first time in school history and rolled to a school-best 27-5 overall record (13-3 SSC), including an upset of the nation's top-ranked team. Draper earned Sunshine State Conference Coach of the Year honors, while being named the American Volleyball Coaches Association South Region Coach of the Year. She also mentored sophomore Lindsay Biggs to AVCA All-America honors.
In 2009, Eckerd reached the second round of the NCAA DII Tournament, finishing the year with a 20-12 record. In addition, standout senior Lydee Benoit became the first Triton ever to be named to the AVCA All-America team.
Draper led the Tritons to their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance in 2006 after producing a 21-14 record. She followed that accomplishment up by guiding Eckerd to NCAA Tournament berths in '07 and '08.
In 2003, Draper received her first head coaching position at Jacksonville University, where the Dolphins went 15-15 and reached the Atlantic Sun Tournament. The then-25-year-old was the youngest Division I head coach in NCAA volleyball.
Prior to her first head coaching position, Draper spent three years as an assistant coach at Duke and Florida State. She spent the 2002 season with the Blue Devils, serving as the program's recruiting coordinator and Director of Duke Volleyball camps, and the 2000 and '01 seasons with the Seminoles, where she specialized in recruiting and scouting.
Draper played four seasons at Florida State under legendary head coach Dr. Cecile Reynaud, where she earned a starting position as a walk-on during her sophomore year. During her playing career, Draper (formerly Dipert) helped lead the Seminoles to a pair of NCAA Tournament appearances and an Atlantic Coast Conference championship in 1998. During her senior year, Draper was a team captain and the recipient of the Golden Nole, awarded to the team's most valuable player.
A native of Lisle, Ill., Draper has been active in youth volleyball, working with Team Florida High Performance Pipeline. In the summer of 2009, Draper saw her squad earn a silver medal in the Youth National Division at the High Performance Championships in Fort Lauderdale. The runner-up finish was the highest of any squad in the Florida Region that year.
Draper earned a bachelor's degree in sports management in 2000 and completed her master's degree in sports administration at Florida State in '01. She and her husband Mark reside in St. Petersburg with their daughter, Logan, and son, Jack.