TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida State’s Brooke Niles was recognized for her outstanding effort in her first season at the helm of the Seminole Beach Volleyball program as she was named National Coach of the Year by the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) on Thursday.Niles led the Seminoles to unprecedented heights during the program’s first season as an official NCAA championship sport.
Her first year in Tallahassee was highlighted by a series of program firsts including a school-record for dual-match victories, a conference championship, the top-seed in the inaugural NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship and a national runner-up finish.
“I am truly speechless,” said Niles. “This is an award voted on by the coaches, a group of peers that I highly respect. I am very thankful for the award as it helps me realize that what we are doing here at Florida State is great and recognized by everyone else nationally.
“But most importantly this is a team award because the success we endured this year would not have been possible without everyone associated with this program, from the players and coaches to the FSU administration and all our support staff.”
Florida State hit the ground running under Niles winning its first 14 matches, all on the road, as eight of those victories came against ranked foes including five ranked in the top 10. One of those wins came against then-No. 2 Southern California in Los Angeles as the Seminoles snapped the Women of Troy’s 19-match home win streak. FSU went on to earn the No. 1 overall seed at the NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship after claiming the 2016 Coastal Collegiate Sports Association (CCSA) Conference title.
The Seminoles finished the 2016 campaign as the national runner-up at the NCAA Beach Volleyball Championship after posting a 3-2 record at the tournament. FSU went on to set the single-season school record for victories in a season with 32 and ranked in the top 5 of the AVCA national poll all year. Along with their 14-match win streak, the Seminoles also put together a school-record 17-match win streak which saw Florida State outscore the opposition 71-10. At seasons end, Florida State registered 19 victories over ranked schools while posting an 11-3 mark against teams ranked in the top 10.
“Overall, I am pleased with how my first year went at Florida State,” added Niles. “I knew there would be some struggles along the way but to finish the year with just three losses and two coming to the same team is a testament to the hard work that everyone on this team put in since I arrived in Tallahassee. But I realize we lose a lot of players following this year and we can’t take this past season for granted. We have to continue to build on the success of this program now and into the future.”
Under Niles, Florida State garnered two AVCA All-Americans, four CCSA All-Conference selections, a league-best three student-athletes named to the CCSA All-Academic team, the CCSA Pair of the Year and 10 Seminoles who earned a spot on the CCSA Academic Honor Roll.
Niles becomes the first coach at Florida State, in either indoor or beach, to claim top coaching honors from the AVCA.