By Nick Porter
BUENA VISTA, Va. – Southern Virginia University Vice President and Director of Athletics Jason Lamb today named Debby Baker the head women's volleyball coach.
"I feel that we are very fortunate to have already had Debby on our athletic staff," Lamb said. "For me, I'm grateful that we can seamlessly transition between coaches and keep great leadership for our women's volleyball team.
"We had a great season in 2017 and the team deserves to have the best we can provide."
Baker has an extensive resume of volleyball experience. From a player in 1990 at the College of Southern Idaho, and then at Utah State University in 1992, the Afton, Wyoming native has coached at the club, junior college and Division 1 levels.
After graduating from Utah State University in marketing in 1995, Baker went back to CSI as an assistant volleyball coach. In her two seasons there, CSI went 62-3 and 65-0 to win back-to-back NJCAA National Championships with a team that produces three All-Americans.
A few years later, Baker joined the coaching staff at Utah State University for one season before she was hired on as an assistant coach at the University of New Mexico. Baker spent six seasons 200 miles south, at New Mexico State University. While she was with the Aggies, they made three NCAA tournament appearances while recruiting and coaching five All-Americans and 20 All-Conference athletes. In 2003, NMSU signed a top-50 national class of recruits.
In 2008, Baker was given the head job at Southern Utah University, bringing back the women's volleyball program that hadn't existed in 20 years. Debby coached six seasons at SUU, making appearances in the Big Sky and Summit League tournaments.
"I'm excited to have this new adventure at Southern Virginia," Baker said. "I know a lot of the team from being around them last year and know that they have the drive to get to the next level."
Debby and her husband Jon came to Buena Vista in 2017 after Jon accepted the offer from head men's volleyball coach Tom Peterson to be the program's associate head coach. Jon and Debby have coached together for many years at the club level and at Southern Utah, and he will serve in the same position for the women's team.
"Jon and I have coached a lot together and make a pretty good team," Baker said. "We are going to focus a lot on raising the volleyball IQ of each player through the scout and game processes."
Baker becomes the programs' ninth head coach in its 20-year history and replaces Nicole Gwynn, who stepped down from coaching last week.
"Debby is a great candidate to take what we have at Southern Virginia to the next level," Coach Gwynn commented. "She has a lot of great experience and a passion for the game of volleyball."