Emory Head Volleyball Coach
Jennifer McDowell has elevated the Emory University volleyball program to national prominence, culminating with the Eagles' claiming their first-ever NCAA Championship when they brought the 2008 crown back to Atlanta.
McDowell, who assumed control of the program in the spring of 1996, has guided Emory to 16 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament, advancing to the "Sweet 16" round 13 times. In addition, she has directed the team to three berths in the NCAA Final Four, the first coming in 2003 when the Eagles posted a fourth-place finish in the tournament, the second in 2008 when the squad took home the national title and most recently in 2010 when it advanced to the national championship match.
Her 16-year Emory record now stands at 512-128. Jenny notched her 500th career triumph on October 8, 2011, when the Eagles topped Maryville, 3-0. That win over the Scots was the team's 23rd consecutive win, tying the 1994 team for the school record.
During the 2011 season, McDowell saw her squad tie the school seasonal mark for most wins when it hammered out an overall slate of 36-5. The record was originally set the previous campaign when the 2010 squad posted a 36-5 ledger. The Eagles finished the 2010 regular season ranked No. 1 nationally among Division III squads and held down the No. 2 spot in the final poll. The team's win total from 2010 bettered the previous standard of 35 set by the 2008 squad.
She rang up her 400th career win on Nov. 7, 2008, when the Eagles topped Brandeis at the UAA Championships. The Eagles concluded the 2008 campaign ranked No. 1 among D-III programs.
The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) recognized McDowell's efforts during the 2008 campaign, tabbing her as the National Division III Coach of the Year. She was also honored by the AVCA as the Regional Coach of the Year for the third time (2004 and 2005 were the other seasons).
Heading into the 2012 season, her 80.4 winning percentage ranks fourth all-time among Division III coaches. Among Division I, II and III coaches, she ranks as the 21st all-time winningest coach in NCAA annals (min. 10 years as a NCAA head coach).
Every year since 1997, Emory has ranked among the top 20 teams in the nation in every weekly poll conducted by the AVCA. In 2009, Emory ended the regular season in a deadlock for the No. 2 spot in the national poll while holding down the No. 5 position in the organization's final ranking.
Before McDowell's arrival the volleyball team had 30 wins or more in only one season. In her 16 years, the team has bested 30 wins 13 times including nine of the past 10 seasons. The 2009 team fashioned an overall ledger of 34-6 with the victory total then the second highest in program history.
McDowell's players have flourished under her tutelage. She has mentored 18 different players to a total of 32 All-America berths while coaching five players to UAA Player of the Year accolades, the most recent being Amelia McCall in 2010, and five to UAA Rookie of the Year acclaim. In addition, she has seen her players rack up a total of 95 All-UAA honors. In addition, she has seen two of her players, Amelia McCall in 2010 and Courtney Rose in 2005, earn Division III National Player of the Year honors.
The Eagles have finished first or second in the University Athletic Association championship in 13 of her 16 campaigns. In 2010, Emory registered its second straight and fourth conference crown, defeating then No. 1-ranked Washington University, 3-1, in the title match.
In 2009, the Eagles nailed down the school's third league title, defeating Washington University, 3-0.
In 2007, Emory brought home its second conference championship, defeating Washington University in a five-game thriller.
In 2005 Emory captured its first conference championship with a 3-0 sweep of then No. 1-ranked Washington University in the title match. McDowell and her assistants have been recognized as the conference "Coaching Staff of the Year" in 1996, 2000, 2005, 2007 and 2009.
Prior to Emory, McDowell was an assistant coach at the University of Georgia for five years in which the Bulldogs compiled a 128-41 record and made the NCAA Division I national tournament every year. With primary responsibilities in recruiting, McDowell helped bring in one NCAA All-American, two NCAA postgraduate scholars, two GTE Academic All-Americans, one GTE Academic All-American of the Year, two Southeastern Conference (SEC) postgraduate scholars and 10 all-SEC Scholar-Athletes.
A three-time all-region selection and three-time team captain in volleyball, McDowell received her undergraduate degree from Georgia in 1989 and her master's in 1990. In 1985, she was selected to compete in the U.S. Olympic Festival. McDowell is the first and only Georgia volleyball player to have her number (16) retired.
McDowell was the interim head coach at Georgia from January to May 1989. She also has been a head coach with the Athens Junior Volleyball Club for three years.