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Assistant volleyball coach Pawlikowski named among coaches association’s ‘Thirty Under 30’

February 25, 2011
Coley Pawlikowski

Coley Pawlikowski

Northern Illinois assistant volleyball coach Coley Pawlikowski was named one of the American Volleyball Coaches Association’s (AVCA) Thirty Under 30 recipients, the organization announced Wednesday. 

The honor, which was established in 2009 to recognize rising volleyball coaches under the age of 30 at every level of volleyball, has been bestowed upon Pawlikowski in two of the three years of its existence.

The second-year assistant is just one of five around the country to be a two-time honoree, as she also made the inaugural list in 2009 as head coach of North Park’s NCAA Division III women’s volleyball program.

“This is a great honor for Coley and the Northern Illinois volleyball program,” said NIU head coach Ray Gooden. “Not only does this speak volumes for the direction and future of Coley as a coach, it speaks volumes for the direction and future of Huskie volleyball. We are thrilled to have Coley on this exclusive list.” 

In her last year of eligibility for the accolade, Pawlikowski is one of 12 assistant coaches and one of only eight NCAA Division I women’s coaches. She is also one of two assistants to represent the Mid-American Conference on the list.  

A former Huskie volleyball player herself (1999-01), Pawlikowski has brought her passion, dedication and expertise of the sport back to her alma mater. As a true Huskie, her love for the game and Northern Illinois University shines through at all times and is a prime reason for the program’s success. 

In just two years aboard Gooden’s staff, the recruiting coordinator has markedly upgraded the level of talent on the roster, including securing NIU volleyball’s first high school All-American Lauren Wicinski, who went on to win MAC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, as well as Collegiate Volleyball Update’s ( Freshman of the Year. The former defensive specialist also played a large role in developing Maddie Hughes into the 2009 MAC Defensive Player of the Year.  

Working primarily with the back row players, Pawlikowski’s coaching efforts were paramount in NIU’s record-setting 2010 season that saw the Huskies start a program-best 11-0 and post their most wins (27) since 1998. Along the way, NIU compiled the best non-conference run in school history (14-1), sold out Victor E. Court for the first time, notched the program’s highest finish (second place) at the MAC Tournament since winning the title in 2001 and featured two All-Americans (Wicinski and Kristin Hoffman). 

Created in 1981, the AVCA is one of the volleyball’s most recognizable organizations in promoting and advancing the sport and its coaches. The Thirty Under 30 recipients will also be featured in the April/May edition of Coaching Volleyball magazine. 

For more information about NIU volleyball and Huskie athletics, visit