Head Coach Paula Wiedemann
Paula Wiedemann returns for her ninth season as head coach of Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Volleyball team, and she is working to exchange adversity for strength for the 2017 season as she and the Lady Grizzlies #SustainTheHunger.
Over the past 20 seasons, Wiedemann, a native of Jenks, Okla., helped guide the Grizzlies to 15 Region 16 Championships, three District N Championships and 15 consecutive NJCAA national championship tournament appearances, with six of those teams finishing in the final four. In addition, she helped develop 35 NJCAA All-Americans, 118 All-Region 16 players, 24 NJCAA Academic All-Americans and 12 NJCAA Academic Team Award winners. Wiedemann has an overall record of 906-262 with the team as an assistant coach and head coach.
"Coach Wiedemann has been an important part of Grizzly Volleyball for almost two decades," Missouri State-West Plains Chancellor Dr. Drew Bennett said. "She knows the campus, the community and the competition."
Wiedemann has enjoyed much success wiht the Grizzlies. 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 anticipated, the Grizzlies improved in 2012 under Wiedemann’s tutelage, posting a 28-10 record and finishing ninth in the NJCAA national championships. The Grizzlies retuned to their 12th national championship tournament by winning their 12th Region 16 Championship and their first District N Championship. In 2013 Wiedemann led the Grizzlies to a 23-12 record, their 13th NJCAA Region 16 Championship, their second District N Championship and a 13th place finish at the NJCAA National Championship.
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, Lily and Emma.
"It has been a pleasure getting to know and work with Coach Wiedemann," said Dr. Angela Totty, Dean of Student Services and Athletic Director. "Her commitment to excellence is evident in the way her athletes approach both their sport and their academic goals. She is an extremely gifted athlete who is able to translate her abilities into instructions which creates a great learning environment for the Lady Grizzlies. An exceptional program requires an exceptional leader and we are blessed to have that in Coach Wiedemann."