The Stanford men's and women's volleyball teams and the Palo Alto girls' volleyball squad all have earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association Team Academic Award for the 2010-11 season.
They are among 481 teams, ranging from high school to college Division I, to be so honored. This number once again breaks the previous years' total of 450 and sets an all-time high for this award.
The award, which was initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.
"A hearty congratulations to all the volleyball coaches whose teams won the 2011 AVCA Team Academic Award," said AVCA Executive Director, Kathy DeBoer. "Teams do not succeed in the classroom by accident any more so than they do on the court. The same coach who taught them volleyball skills cared enough about their academic achievement to gather their grades, calculate their GPA, and submit a nomination on their behalf. In doing so, these coaches sent a clear message that classroom success is just as important as court success."
The Team Academic Award has become one of the AVCA's fastest growing awards programs, seeing an impressive surge in teams honored over the past several years. Since the 2000-2001 season, the number of recipients has increased every single year but one, while amassing an overall 170 percent increase over the span of the decade. Since the award's inception in 1993, the award has risen by an astounding 674 percent.
NCAA Division II recorded its highest-ever total number of recipients, honoring 57 programs while Division III easily surpassed last year's record of 75 winners with 88 this year. The high school division also set a record with its 192 recipients, 178 of them girls. Palo Alto was one of only five schools from the Central Coast Section to be honored. The others were Sacred Heart Cathedral, San Mateo, ICA and St. Ignatius.
Prior to 2010-11, only 11 teams had attained the pinnacle of volleyball success in both earning the AVCA Team Academic Award and winning their respective collegiate national championship in the same academic year. This year, the AVCA is proud to recognize three programs -- Calvin College (NCAA Division III), Concordia University-St. Paul (NCAA Division II), and Clearwater Christian College (NCCAA Division II) - all three of whom excelled in the classroom and on the court.
More than 1,000 different schools have earned the award in the program's 19-year history, with exactly 4,297 awards been given out in total. Only two institutions, both high schools, have earned the distinction all 19 years -- Jonesboro High School (Jonesboro, Arkansas) and Ross S. Sterling High School (Baytown, Texas).