Red Raiders open the spring March 28 against Wayland Baptist at the United Spirit Arena
Aubree Piper closes her career with 10 kills and five blocks Saturday in a 3-0 victory
Rachel Brummitt leads Red Raiders with 22 digs in loss
Texas Tech and Abilene Christian are set for a 6 p.m. first serve Tuesday at Moody Coliseum
Red Raiders look to extend four-match winning streak Friday at Washington State
VB: Oklahoma Preview
Tech Volleyball Falls to Baylor
In just two seasons as the head volleyball coach at Texas Tech, Don Flora has already revitalized a once storied program.
Flora was named the eighth volleyball coach in school history on Jan. 7, 2011, and immediately hit the ground running, leading the Red Raiders to 29 victories over the past two years, one win shy of the school's total from the previous five seasons prior to his arrival.
Texas Tech finished 15-17 in Flora's inaugural season in 2011 before turning in a 14-18 record a year ago. Already among the winningest active coaches in NCAA history, Flora enters the 2013 campaign just two wins shy of his 300th career victory as he is 298-94 in 13 seasons at the collegiate level.
Flora's first season roaming the United Spirit Arena sideline brought quite a turnaround as he led Tech to its most victories since 2001. He helped the Red Raiders post the third-largest win differential in the country (+11) from the 2010 to 2011 seasons after inheriting a program that went just 4-25 the year before.
It was quite the start for a first-year head coach who inherited a program that had only won 11 matches over its previous three seasons combined. Flora led the Red Raiders to that total in only his second month on the job.
Backed by a roster composed mainly of freshmen and sophomores, Flora kept the momentum going in his second season as the Red Raiders picked up their first marque victory of his tenure with a 3-1 win on Nov. 17 over No. 20 Kansas State. The victory was Tech's first over a top-25 team since also defeated a 20th-ranked K-State squad on Nov. 20, 2004, in Manhattan.
The fruits of Flora's first two recruiting classes boosted Tech throughout the season as the Red Raiders sported one of the more-balanced attacks with six players finishing with 100 or more kills. Tech had not previously had six or more players reach 100 kills in a season since 2001 when seven players did so. Four of Tech's six leaders in kills were all listed as either a freshman or sophomore.
On the back row, the Red Raiders were led by sophomore transfer Rachel Brummitt, who snapped the school's single-season dig record with 510 in just her first season wearing scarlet and black. Brummitt snapped the Tech single-match record for digs in each of the first two weekends of the season, garnering her Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honors each time. It was just the first time a Tech player had earned a conference weekly award in consecutive weeks.
Under Flora, Tech has not only attracted the top players from the state of Texas but nationally and internationally as well. Flora and his staff traveled to Canada to sign setter Emily Ruetter in 2011 and then reached the Midwest with the addition of Brianna Grant out of Illinois and Meghan Stacy from Missouri. Flora signed another international player again in 2012 in Leipzig, Germany native Victoria Hinneburg, who will join the Red Raiders for the 2013 season.
Flora's success on the recruiting trail should result in continued improvements for the Red Raiders, who will once again boast one of the nation's younger rosters in 2013. In his 13 seasons as a head coach, Flora has recorded only three losing seasons with the first coming in his first season at the University of La Verne (Calif.), where he spent 12 seasons as head coach. The Leopards went 12-14 during his first season before finishing with 20 or more wins in nine of his next 10 seasons.
Flora came to Tech following a two-year stint as an assistant coach at New Mexico State where the Aggies, consistently one of the top programs nationally, compiled a 38-22 record. Flora was responsible for recruiting activities, practice instruction and game strategy and was involved in the daily development of the overall program under head coach Mike Jordan.
The desire to eventually become a head coach at the Division I level was enticing enough for Flora to leave his alma mater at La Verne for New Mexico State following the 2008 season. Already the winningest coach in school history, Flora established a winning culture unmatched by many.
La Verne posted at least 20 wins in nine-straight seasons beginning in 2000 as the Leopards claimed nine-straight Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) titles. During Flora's tenure, the Leopards were 140-10 in SCIAC matches, boasting an impressive .933 winning percentage helped in part by five undefeated 14-0 campaigns in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2007, and 2008.
As the success kept building early in Flora's tenure, so did the achievements at the national level. In only Flora's fourth season, the Leopards wrapped a near-perfect 27-1 season with the 2001 NCAA Division III National Title, the second in school history.
The title run earned Flora the Division III National Coach of the Year honor by both the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and Volleyball Magazine. He was also named the AVCA West Region Coach of the Year, an award he was presented three more times in his tenure following the 2003, 2005, and 2008 seasons.
With a national title under his belt, Flora's success kept rolling as the Leopards eventually posted their first 30-win season in 2003, which began a streak of three-straight seasons where La Verne advanced to the NCAA Final Four. The Leopards posted a school-record 33 wins a season later.
The Leopards posted 27 wins in each of Flora's final three seasons at the school, which culminated in another national title match appearance in 2008. Unlike 2001, however, La Verne was topped in the championship match, falling to Emory in four sets.
The match marked Flora's final appearance leading the Leopards, wrapping a successful tenure that included a 25-8 mark in NCAA Tournament matches. La Verne wrapped the year ranked in the top 10 nationally for the ninth-consecutive season, a feat only accomplished by two other programs during that span.
During his tenure, Flora coached two national players of the year in Ryan Winn (2001) and Amy Smith (2003) along with seven SCIAC Players of the Year and numerous AVCA All-America selections.
Flora actually got his start in coaching with the La Verne men's program in 1993, leading the squad for five seasons while also assisting with the women's program that was under renowned coach Jim Paschal at that time. He would take over as the head coach of the women's team prior to the 1998 season.
As if coaching was not enough, Flora was also involved with another significant arm of the athletics department - fundraising. He was named the Assistant Athletics Director in charge of development in 1994, a position he would hold until 2007.
Flora graduated with a degree in social sciences from La Verne in 1990 before later returning to the classroom to earn his masters in the Leadership and Management curriculum in 2000.
While volleyball is his main focus now, Flora chose to be a three-sport athlete while in school, competing on the football, tennis and volleyball squads where he was a two-time all-conference setter.
In his spare time, Flora is heavily involved the USA High Performance along with various club circuits and junior development programs in the southwest region and across the nation. His multi-faceted summer camps are among the nation's finest youth programs and have become a popular event in Lubbock since his arrival.
Flora, a native of Covina, Calif., and his wife, Jeanne, currently reside in Lubbock with their two daughters, Annika and Alexis. Jeanne Flora is a highly-regarded professor in the field of Family and Interpersonal Communications. She currently teaches via video teleconference for New Mexico State.
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