Gimmillaro named Coach of the Year; 49ers place four on All-Big West conference teams
Nov. 27, 2012
Long Beach, Calif. - Women's Volleyball head coach Brian Gimmillaro earned his eighth Coach of the Year award, sharing the honor with another legend Hawaii's Dave Shoji as the Big West announced the All-Conference awards on Tuesday. Three 49ers earned first-team honors, while outside hitter Alex Reid was named to the All-Freshman team.
Senior outside hitter Janisa Johnson, junior setter Tara Roenicke, and sophomore middle blocker Chisom Okpala were all chosen for the 16-player first team, covering the best from the ten-team conference. The 49ers were second behind the league champion Rainbow Wahine for the most first-team selections with three.
It was the first first-team All-Big West selection for all three, while Johnson was honored as an honorable mention as a sophomore. Roenicke led the conference in assists, averaging 10.75 per set, while Okpala ranked in the Top 10 in conference matches in hitting percentage, points, kills and blocking. Meanwhile, Janisa Johnson led the 49ers in both kills and digs, ranking in the Big West's Top 10 in both categories in conference play. She averaged 3.20 kills and 4.05 digs per set on the year.
Gimmillaro shared the top coaching honor with Shoji, a pair that combines for over 50 years of coaching and nearly 2,000 career wins. Shoji led the Rainbow Wahine to the league title, but Gimmillaro's work was deemed just as impressive.
Despite losing two-time All-American Haleigh Hampton and 2011 starting setter Erin Juley for the year before the season began and two more starters in Alma Serna and Delainey Aigner-Swesey during the season, Gimmillaro was able to lead the 49ers to seven straight wins to close the 2012 campaign and a second-place finish in the Big West.
Rounding out the 49ers All-Big West selections, Reid was selected for the seven-member all-freshman team. Reid finished the season with a .255 hitting percentage, averaging 2.46 kills per set in Big West play after taking over for Aigner-Swesey on the left side.