Head Coach Paula Wiedemann
Paula Wiedemann returns for her fourth season as head coach of Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team, and she is working to return the Grizzlies to the NJCAA Division I Women’s National Championship Tournament at the end of the 2012 campaign.
Over the past 15 seasons, Wiedemann, a native of Jenks, Okla., helped guide the Grizzlies to 11 Region 16 Championships and 11 consecutive NJCAA national championship tournament appearances, with six of those teams finishing in the final four. In addition, she helped develop 26 NJCAA All-Americans, 74 All-Region 16 players, 13 NJCAA Academic All-Americans, and eight NJCAA Academic Team Award winners. Wiedemann has an overall record of 582-157 with the team as an assistant coach and head coach.
“Coach Wiedemann has been an important part of Grizzly Volleyball for over a decade,” Missouri State-West Plains Chancellor Dr. Drew Bennett said. “She knows the campus, the community and the competition.”
During her first year as head coach, Wiedemann led the Grizzlies to a 27-9 record and a second-place finish in the 2009 NJCAA Division I Women’s National Volleyball Championships, marking the third time in the past eight seasons the Grizzlies finished the tournament in the runner-up spot. Two Grizzlies, Kate Stepanova and Patricia Figueiredo, were named NJCAA and AVCA first-team All-Americans. The team also earned a 2009 Fall Academic Team Award, and two Grizzlies earned NJCAA Academic All-American awards – Danielle Parker as a Distinguished Academic All-American honoree and Abbey Roam as an Academic All-American honoree.
In 2010, a very young Grizzly team showed improvement throughout the season, but the group fell short of its goal of reaching the NJCAA national championship tournament for the 12th consecutive year. The Grizzlies finished the season with an 18-17 record, and sophomore Lia Havili was named NJCAA Honorable Mention All-American for her efforts on the court. The team also earned a 2010 NJCAA Academic Team of the Year Award, and sophomore Janel Glidden was awarded the Superior Academic Achievement Award (formerly Distinguished Academic All-American Award).
In 2011, another young Grizzly team showed great improvement by returning to the NJCAA national poll and ending the year ranked 17th. The team fell short of its goal of reaching the NJCAA national championship tournament but saw progress throughout the season to build upon. The Grizzlies finished the season with a 26-12 record, and Freshman Candyce Alexander was named NJCAA 2nd Team All-American and AVCA Honorable Mention All-American for her efforts on the court. The team earned a 2011 NJCAA Academic Team of the Year Award and AVCA Team Academic Award, and sophomores Abby Hanger and Colbi Goff were awarded the Exemplary Academic Achievement Award (formerly Academic All-American Award).
As a player Wiedemann set the standard for volleyball excellence at Drury University in Springfield. A letterman each year from 1985 to 1988, Wiedemann was the first volleyball player to receive NAIA All-American honors by being named honorable mention in 1987 and to the second team in 1988. She left Drury ranked first in career kills and career digs, the latter of which is second on the all-time list for NAIA records nationwide. The Lady Panthers were nationally ranked during her sophomore, junior and senior years, reaching as high as No. 5 during her senior season, and the team won the district championship – Drury’s first ever district championship – her senior year.
After receiving her bachelor’s degree in corporate fitness in 1989, she rejoined the Lady Panthers as an assistant coach for two years while earning her master’s degree in education-exercise and sport science from the university. The Lady Panthers posted an overall record of 65-40 during her tenure, and in 1990, the team was a district finalist. As an assistant at Drury, Wiedemann helped develop one NAIA All-American and four all-district players.
Wiedemann’s first head coaching position came in August 1992 at East Central College in Union, Mo., where she led the Lady Rebels to Region 16 championship semifinal appearances all three years. She also has served as program director/coach for Junior Olympic volleyball programs for 18 years.
In addition, Wiedemann has played volleyball professionally. She was the starting outside hitter for the Kansas City Lightning of the National Volleyball Association (NVA). In their first season, the Lightning won the regular season title and was one match away from the NVA finals. She also was a member of Power Angle, a USAV women’s team and was a two-time All-American in 1997 and 1998 at the USAV national tournaments.
Paula and her husband, Warren, have three daughters: Kelly, 12; Lily, 5; and Emma, 3.
“Paula is an outstanding athlete and coach,” said Dr. Herb Lunday, Dean of Student Services and Athletic Director. “She was a collegiate All-American and even played professionally for a time. She knows the game of volleyball very well, has outstanding rapport with student-athletes and is highly respected by her coaching peers. We think the Lady Grizzlies’ tradition of excellence is in good hands.”