Jennifer Vaden, shown here with Liberty Volleyball Head Coach Shane Pinder, received the AVCA Thirty Under 30 Award.
AVCA Thirty Under 30 Liberty Volleyball Assistant Coach Jennifer Vaden has received national recognition, garnering an American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Thirty Under 30 Award, as announced today. This award was created in 2009 to honor up-and-coming coaching talent at all levels of the sport. To qualify for the award, nominees had to be 30 years old or younger in 2012. The list of winners will be featured in the upcoming May edition of Coaching Volleyball 2.0. Vaden is one of nine NCAA Division I coaches to be named on the Thirty Under 30 list this year. Among the other Division I schools represented are: Long Beach State, Michigan, Notre Dame, South Carolina and Virginia. In her seven years as an assistant coach at Liberty, Vaden has helped the Lady Flames become a perennial power in the Big South. The Lady Flames have captured a conference-record six straight Big South regular-season championships. Liberty has also won 20 or more matches in each of the last six seasons while appearing in the conference final six years in a row. Liberty has qualified for the NCAA Tournament four times in her seven seasons, including each of the last two years. Serving as Liberty's recruiting coordinator, Vaden has coached two Big South Players of the Year, four Big South Freshmen of the Year and four conference tournament MVPs. Additionally, she has coached four players to AVCA All-Region mention, including two honorable mention All-Americans. Vaden also coordinates community service projects for the Lady Flames, including Special Olympics clinics and social events at area nursing homes. She has helped guide the Lady Flames academically, as the team has earned the AVCA Team Academic Award each of the last two seasons. During Vaden's second season on head coach Shane Pinder's coaching staff in 2007, the Lady Flames made a 16-win improvement, going 27-9 with an 11-1 conference record. Overall, Liberty is 153-80 in the last seven seasons, including 84-18 in conference play. This past season, the Lady Flames went 25-8, including 12-2 in conference play, winning the Big South regular-season championship. Liberty downed Coastal Carolina in the Big South Volleyball Championship title match, for the team's seventh conference tournament title, second in a row and fourth in the last six seasons. The Lady Flames went on to face No. 8 Minnesota in the first round of the NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship. Vaden was a standout volleyball player at Liberty from 2001-04, helping the Lady Flames to a Big South tournament title in 2001 and a conference regular-season championship in 2003. She currently ranks third all-time at Liberty with 1,789 career kills.
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