Peg Kopec of St. Francis (Wheaton, Ill.) has been named the 2015 American Family Insurance ALL-USA Girls Volleyball Coach of the Year by USA TODAY High School Sports.
With her selection, Kopec joins an elite group of former All-USA Coaches of the Year, including Ohio’s Joe Burke (2014) and Kansas’ Nancy Dorsey (2013).
Coach of the Year:
School: St. Francis (Wheaton, Ill.)
Season record: 39-3, Illinois state 4A champions
Noteworthy: Kopec saved her best for last. The 40-year veteran led St. Francis to the Class 4A state championship this fall, becoming the first volleyball team in Illinois history to win four consecutive titles.
The championship was Kopec’s 12th overall, and she finishes her coaching career with 1,238 wins and a winning percentage of .843.
The Spartans squad finished at 39-3, capturing the state final in straight sets (25-15, 25-23) behind ALL-USA outside hitter Molly Haggerty’s 13 kills and seven digs.
The all-time winningest coach in any sport in Illinois state history, Kopec closed out her career in touching fashion. In order to keep the focus on her players throughout the season, Kopec saved word of her retirement until moments after the Spartans captured their state title, even though she had decided in August it would be her last season.
Emerging from a tear-filled final huddle, minutes after her team had made history, Kopec told The Chicago Tribune it was time to move on. “I love volleyball and I love St. Francis, so this was very difficult,” Kopec said. “It’s the right thing to do. Making history is exciting.”
Adding to the perfect retirement gift, St. Francis completed its dominant four-year run to cap Kopec’s career by becoming the first school to win state titles in all four classes in any sport. Kopec led the team to a 153-15 record over that span.
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