The Jayhawks will now take registration for June Skills Camps until May 29
The Jayhawks officially conclude spring practice sessions on April 27
Erin McNorton, Amy Wehrs, Kara Wehrs, Catherine Carmichael, Chelsea Albers and Tiana Dockery spent some free time helping out
The Jayhawks will face Missouri State and UMKC beginning at 1:30 p.m.
KU hosted Central Missouri State and the KC Havoc on April 6 and will host UMKC and Missouri State on April 13
Head Coach Ray Bechard
2012: Big 12 Coach of the Year; AVCA Central Region Coach of the Year
Ray Bechard will enter his 16th year as the head coach of the Kansas volleyball team in 2013 following a historical 2012 campaign. His most recent year at the helm ended in a No. 11 national seed in the NCAA Tournament as well as Big 12 Coach of the Year and AVCA Central Region Coach of the Year honors.
The winningest coach in Kansas volleyball history, Bechard has compiled a remarkable all-time coaching record of 964-269 (.782 winning percentage) since arriving on the coaching scene 28 years ago as the head coach at Barton Community College in Great Bend, Kan.
In 15 seasons at Kansas, Bechard has led the Jayhawks to a 248-209 mark and 11 seasons at .500 or better. The most recent season, however, will stand as a special one as the Jayhawks rewrote the record books as the winningest team in program history with a .788 winning percentage (26-7). That mark topped the previous best of .743 set by the 1986 squad.
Bechard's squad didn't stop there as the Jayhawks went on to collect the most home victories in a season (17), along with the program's longest home win streak (13), while compiling the best conference finish in the Big 12 era (12-4, 3rd). KU also earned the team's highest-ever national ranking, checking in at No. 17 on the AVCA Division I Coaches poll (10/22/12). The Jayhawks remained on the top-25 poll for the remaining eight weeks of the season and checked in at No. 25 on the final poll.
When the NCAA released its first RPI projections of the 2012 season, KU debuted at No. 9 and would later climb to a program-best No. 6 RPI ranking on Nov. 19, 2012. The Jayhawks were in the top-10 RPI for seven of nine weeks and ended the season at No. 9 in the final projections of the season.
Additionally, Bechard has built a solid fan base for Kansas volleyball as the Jayhawks have consistently finished among the nation's top 50 attendance leaders the last several years. In 2012, more than 1,300 fans attended each home match on average. When KU hosted the NCAA First and Second Rounds in 2012 in Allen Fieldhouse, the Lawrence, Kan., host site drew more fans in the two-day event than any other national host (8,029).
Also in 2012, Bechard guided redshirt junior middle blocker Caroline Jarmoc to Second-Team All-America honors, the first All-American in Kansas volleyball history. Among many accolades from that season was senior middle blocker Tayler Tolefree's winning the inaugural Big 12 Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.
Bechard has guided the Jayhawks to all four of their NCAA Tournament appearances (2003, 2004, 2005, 2012) and seven-straight AVCA Team Academic awards. Individually, the veteran head coach has coached 18 All-Big 12 honorees, 92 Academic All-Big 12 selections, 11 Academic All-Region recipients and there AVCA All-Region players - highlighted by 2012's Caroline Jarmoc's Second-Team All-America recognition.
Prior to the 2012 season, Bechard completed his second stint with Team USA Volleyball. Bechard was one of eight collegiate coaches selected by USA Volleyball to lead the U.S. Women's National A2 Team Program at Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio, June 26-July 5, 2012.
In 2011, the Jayhawks posted their best start at 11-1 since the 2002 season, including three pre-conference tournament titles and knocking off No. 6 Minnesota, the highest-ranked opponent defeated in program history. Under Bechard's direction, KU has pulled top-25 upsets in four of the past five seasons. Of the Jayhawks' 14 all-time wins against top-25 foes, all but one came under Bechard's direction.
Additionally, Kansas upped its game at the net, finishing the 2011 season ranked third in the Big 12 in blocks per set. Jarmoc and fellow middle blocker Tayler Tolefree each checked in at top-five in the Big 12 in individual blocks per set. Bechard also witnessed Allison Mayfield lead the conference in kills per set on her way to becoming KU's all-time leader for kills in a season (462, 2011). The Jayhawks spent three-straight weeks receiving votes on the AVCA Top-25 Poll last season.
In 2010, Bechard and company brought in the 26th-ranked recruiting class according to PrepVolleyball.com. Kansas posted a 17-14 record, the most victories recorded since the team's 19-win season in 2004. Those 17 wins resulted from an intense schedule that included six nationally ranked opponents. In the Jayhawks' 31 matches, 14 of them paired Kansas against teams that went on play in the NCAA Tournament.
A year after his 900th career victory milestone in 2009, Bechard notched his 200th career win at Kansas during the 2010 season. He starts 2012 just 12 wins away from his 950th career victory.
His players routinely exhibit Bechard's belief in being dedicated on the court and in the classroom. Aside from winning the AVCA Team Academic Award seven-consecutive years, Bechard's squad has led the Kansas Athletics department in team GPA in the last three semesters. In 2011, KU tied the conference record with 10 student-athletes named to the Academic All-Big 12 team.
In addition, Mayfield and Tolefree were CoSIDA Academic All-District honorees in 2011, while Karina Garlington was a two-time ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District honoree in 2008 and 2010.
In 2008, Bechard's team enjoyed national recognition when Garlington was named the school's second AVCA National Player of the Week on Nov. 10. In addition, Nicole Tate earned 2008 Big 12 All-Freshman team honors.
During the 2007 season, Bechard and his team put together a 3-2 upset over No. 18 Oklahoma, the sixth-straight season KU upset a ranked team, and a four-game victory against tournament-bound Missouri State, which made Bechard the winningest coach in KU volleyball history. The Jayhawks also picked up a win at Missouri, marking their first road win in Columbia since 2001.
The 2007 season saw the graduation of standout Emily Brown. Brown left her name littered all over the KU record books as she became the first Jayhawk to reach the 1,000 milestone in kills, digs and assists, while also landing on five top-10 career lists.
In 2006, KU picked up a Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year selection in Natalie Uhart. Uhart later suffered a season-ending injury prior to the team's first contest and that seemed to set the tone for the year as the Jayhawks were hampered with injuries over the course of the season.
However, the team still collected several accomplishments during the 2006 season including a tournament title at Temple to start off the year. In addition, the team dug up 15.81 balls per game, its highest dig average since the 2001 season.
Just one year earlier in 2005, Bechard led the Jayhawks to a 15-15 overall record and their third-straight postseason appearance. Despite a depleted roster due to injuries, KU battled No. 16 UCLA to four games in Los Angeles in the NCAA Tournament First Round.
The 2005 season also saw the careers of three talented seniors, Josi Lima, Paula Caten and Andi Rozum, come to a close. Caten became KU's first Academic All-American in volleyball, while Lima, KU's only four-time All-Big 12 First Team selection, finished her career as the Jayhawks' all-time kills leader and one of the most prolific volleyball players in school history. Rozum's name still sits at the top of the career assists list.
In addition to his team's achievements and the individual successes of his seniors, Bechard reached a significant milestone on Sept. 10, 2005, when he coached his 1,000th career match. The Jayhawks commemorated the milestone by defeating visiting Michigan State, 3-0.
In 2004, KU returned to the NCAA Tournament for the second-straight season and fell just short of a Sweet 16 appearance. The Jayhawks defeated Santa Clara, 3-1, before falling to host Washington, 3-2, in second-round action. KU came back from a two-game deficit to battle the Huskies, who advanced to the Final Four and then won the National Championship in 2005.
In addition to the Jayhawks' return to the postseason, KU enjoyed its first national ranking on Sept. 13 when Kansas came in at No. 24 in the USA Today/CSTV Top 25 Coaches Poll. A week later, Kansas reached its highest national ranking (No. 21) in the poll.
The 2003 season became another celebrated year as KU achieved the most victories since 1991 (22) and the fourth most in program history, the most conference wins in school history (13) and the highest finish in the conference race (tied for third) since joining the Big 12 in 1996.
The greatest highlight of the 2003 season came when Bechard and the Jayhawks were invited to participate in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history. KU shocked powerhouse Long Beach State by sweeping the 49ers 3-0 in First Round action before falling to host No. 4 Pepperdine 3-1 in the NCAA Second Round in Malibu, Calif.
Bechard also reached two significant coaching milestones in 2003 as he recorded his 800th career victory and 100th win at Kansas.
Since his arrival at KU, Bechard's teams have been making their mark in the KU record books, sitting atop numerous career lists. Bechard has helped develop the play of several standout players, including Lima, who took home All-Big 12 First Team honors all four years, as well as the 2002 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year award as a freshman. Lima, KU's all-time kills leader (1,483), joined middle blocker Amanda Reves (1996-99) as the two players to earn first-team league honors under Bechard. Lima also became the first player in KU history to be named to the AVCA All-Region Team in 2003.
Katie Martinich was named the Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year for the 2007-08 academic year and Jennifer Kraft (1999-2002) earned the Big 12 Defensive Specialist award in 2002, while Ashley Michaels (2001-04) was an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection for two-straight years.
Jill Dorsey, a 2004 graduate, led the Big 12 in her senior season with a scorching 4.64 digs per game and left KU as the all-time career digs leader (1,338). Michaels concluded her KU career as the program's leader in attack percentage (.317) and finished second behind Reves in block assists (324) and blocks per game (1.03).
Bechard came to KU after spending 13 years as the head coach at Barton County Community College in Great Bend, Kan. After a stellar coaching career at BCCC, Bechard was inducted into the National Junior College Athletic Association Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1998.
In 13 seasons at Barton County, Bechard posted a career record of 716-60 (.923 winning percentage) and coached 23 Academic All-Americans. He completed his career at BCCC with the highest all-time winning percentage among junior college/community college coaches and ranked fourth all-time with 716 career wins.
Twice (1990 and 1993) Bechard was named the AVCA National Junior College Coach of the Year, and he was selected the AVCA District IV Coach of the Year 12 times.
In 1995, he was an assistant coach for the USA Volleyball Youth National Team which won the Slovakian Cup Championship in Zilina, Slovakia. Bechard, who was the only non-Division I coach on the staff, coached alongside TCU's Sandy Troudt and Penn State assistant Erin Tomblin. The team competed against youth teams from Poland and Slovakia.
Bechard began his coaching career when he served three years (1980-83) as head coach of the girls' volleyball team and the boys' basketball team at Lewis High School in Lewis, Kan. The first sign of his coaching talent was evident as he directed LHS to a pair of conference titles on the volleyball court.
A member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association, Bechard served as president of the organization in 2010. He was also a member of the board of directors of the AVCA from 1992-98 and has presented at the AVCA National Convention on two different occasions. Bechard was also president of the NJCAA Volleyball Coaches Association from 1989-92.
A native of Grinnell, Kan., Bechard played basketball at Barton County, where he helped the Cougars to a 45-13 record in his two seasons there.
Following his junior college playing career, Bechard attended Fort Hays State University where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1980. Two years later, he received his master's degree in physical education from Fort Hays State.
The Grinnell, Kan., native is married to the former Pamela Brown. The couple has two children. Their daughter Ashley was a KU letterwinner in volleyball from 2001-04, and married Erik Henkelman in 2011. Their son, Brennan, who played on the Kansas men's basketball team from 2007-09, now works on the men's basketball staff.