Volleyball Coaching Staff
Fran Flory, the winningest coach in program history, enters her 21st season at the helm of the LSU volleyball program after leading the Tigers to nine NCAA Tournament berths in the last 13 seasons. The 2009 Southeastern Conference [SEC] and American Volleyball Coaches Association [AVCA] South Region Coach of the Year, Flory was hired as the program’s fifth coach leading into the 1998 season and has returned the Tigers to national prominence during her tenure.
LSU has been nothing short of spectacular and continues to raise its level of success under Flory. The Tigers have averaged 19 wins per season since 2005, including the 2009 SEC championship which ended Florida’s 18-year reign atop the conference and seven of eight SEC Western Division titles from 2005 to 2011. The seven straight division titles was the second-longest streak in SEC history, while the six consecutive NCAA Tournament bids from 2005-10 are a program record.
Flory has coached 11 AVCA All-South Region First-Team picks which include a pair of AVCA All-Americans from 2007-09 and again in 2017. It marked the first time in program history that LSU recorded three straight seasons with multiple All-America selections, as Brianna Holman was the most recent All-America selection in 2014. The Tigers also have secured 43 All-SEC selections during Flory’s nearly two-decade stay in Baton Rouge, as Cati Leak earned her first All-SEC nod in 2014 and freshman Taylor Bannister earned her first team and freshman honors in 2017.
In 2017, the Tigers returned to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014. LSU finished the season with a 20-10 record, Flory's seventh season with 20 or more wins. The Tigers competed well in the SEC, finishing fourth among the league. LSU posted big wins over Auburn, Arkansas, Texas A&M, and started off the season with eight-straight wins, the best start to a season since 2010. The Tigers went 7-3 on their home floor in the PMAC, which was the best home record since the 2014 season.
Freshmen Taylor Bannister and Raigen Cianciulli brought a boost to the program in 2017, earning AVCA South Region honors. Bannister was named the AVCA South Region Freshman of the Year and earned first team accolades, while Cianciulli was recognized as honorable mention.
Brittnee Cooper added to LSU’s rich heritage as the program’s first player to collect SEC Player of the Year accolades in 2009. She also became the third player in program history to secure AVCA All-America First-Team honors joining the elite company of Monique Adams (1991) and Angie Miller (1992).
Elena Martinez picked up 2007 and 2008 SEC Defensive Player of the Year in addition to a pair of AVCA All-America Honorable Mention nods. She reeled in 1,414 career digs to rank second in program history.
LSU has been represented on the national stage as a part of USA Volleyball Women's A2 National Team during six of the last 10 seasons. Flory captured a gold medal in May 2011 after leading the USA A2 Blue squad to a 7-1 record. Cooper and Martinez won gold in May 2008, Cooper added a silver medal in May 2009, former assistant coach Steve Loeswick garnered a bronze medal in May 2010 and Meghan Mannari tallied a silver medal in June 2012. In 2014, Helen Boyle won gold with the USA Blue squad at the Girls Junior National Championships in Minnesota, while Holman went on a tour of China with one of the collegiate national teams, where her side finished second overall after 10 days of competition abroad.
On the state level, LSU has dominated with 56 All-Louisiana selections highlighted by 33 First-Team honors. The five-time Louisiana Coach of the Year also has led her players to every individual state award which includes six overall players, four defensive players, four freshmen and two newcomers of the year.
However, Flory's success at LSU hasn't been solely on the court. The Tigers have registered 118 SEC Academic Honor Roll selections, and Madie Jones was LSU’s nominee for the prestigious SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete Award in April 2013.
In each of the last six seasons, LSU’s senior classes have created and championed their own philanthropic projects to benefit the Baton Rouge community. The seniors have partnered with the Blue Star Mothers of Louisiana to acquire household goods that were packaged and sent to troops overseas. Also, the Tigers partnered with “Meals from Mike” initiative and collected hundreds of pounds of food that was distributed to Baton Rouge area food banks. The “Geaux Kids” initiative collected a host of clothing and other related items for needy children, while “PAWS in the PMAC” collected close to 1,250 items ranging from food to toys that were donated to the Capital Area Animal Welfare Society in 2012. LSU donated nearly 3,000 books as part of the “Geaux Books” campaign to replenish the library at Dufrocq Elementary School following the 2011 season.
The Tigers fought through a string of injuries to key players in 2015, continuing to compete on the highest level of collegiate volleyball by winning the Days Inn and Suites Lobo Invitational title at New Mexico, while opening league play by winning five of their first eight matches to start the SEC season.
Earning their first 20-win season since 2010, the 2014 Tigers went on one of the longest winning streaks in program history in winning 11-straight contests over the course of the year, finishing third in the SEC and making it to the NCAA Tournament where they won their opening round game for the second consecutive year. LSU finished 20-9 on the year and 14-4 against league competition, finishing the season winning 14 of its last 15 matches to close out the year.
After not making the postseason since the 2010 season, the 2013 Tigers won 10 of their first 11 contests en route to a 19-13 finish and 8-10 finish in the SEC, earning an NCAA Tournament berth that led to its first opening round win since 2009 with a thrilling, 3-2 comeback win over No. 24 Michigan. LSU has had eight players over the last two seasons join the program’s illustrious 1,000-dig and 1,000-kill clubs, respectively. In total, LSU has had 16 players added to those lists going back to 2006.
LSU raced out to a program-best 13-0 start to open the 2010 season. Angela Bensend and Desiree Elliott collected All-SEC First-Team accolades to give the Tigers multiple picks on the league's premier squad for the fourth time in a five-season span. Elliott also notched SEC Freshman of the Year status as LSU racked up a 25-5 record.
LSU climbed to new heights in 2009 and claimed the SEC overall championship to close Florida's 18-year reign at the top of the conference. The Tigers finished with a 25-7 record highlighted by a program mark of 18 SEC victories and a pair of historic wins over the Gators which included the program’s first triumph in UF's O'Connell Center since 1991. Cooper was joined by Sam Dabbs and Marina Skender to become the first Tiger trio to notch All-SEC First-Team honors during the same season. LSU rolled past Tulane in its NCAA opener before falling in a five-set affair to Texas A&M in the NCAA Second Round.
The 2008 Tigers overcame injuries and finished the regular season with six straight wins to collect their fourth straight divisional title. Cooper emerged as one of the top middle blockers in the nation en route to All-SEC and AVCA All-South Region First-Team along with AVCA All-America Honorable Mention accolades.
LSU compiled a stellar 25-8 campaign in 2007. The Tigers broke through with an NCAA Tournament victory, a gritty five-set triumph over New Mexico State, in its third-straight year in the postseason. Lauren DeGirolamo and Kyna Washington took home All-SEC First-Team honors, while DeGirolamo teamed with Martinez for AVCA All-America Honorable Mention status.
The Tigers made the 2006 season a year to remember after turning in a 26-6 mark. The 26 victories and No. 19 final national ranking were accomplished for the first time in program history since the 1992 season. LSU also won the SEC Western Division crown outright for the first time in program history. Daniela Romero tacked on AVCA All-America Honorable Mention after securing All-SEC First Team and Louisiana Player of the Year. She was joined by Skender to give the Tigers two All-SEC First-Team picks for the first time since 1999.
LSU's return to volleyball prominence began in 2005 as the Tigers finished 21-8 sharing its first SEC Western Division championship and garnered its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1992. After Hurricane Katrina turned the Maravich Center into the largest field hospital in the United States, LSU played its first 17 matches on the road traveling over 14,000 miles. Ivana Kuzmic became the first LSU's player to earn AVCA All-America accolades since 1992 after being named All-SEC First Team and Louisiana Player of the Year. Skender added the SEC’s Freshman of the Year award.
LSU totaled a pair of second-place finishes and five third-place showings in the SEC West over Flory's first seven seasons. She made an immediate impact on the program moving LSU within a game of the .500 mark in 1998 after the Tigers went winless in SEC action the year before.
The 1999 Tigers improved to 17-15 overall as Meagan Davis and Kelly Thompson notched All-SEC First-Team accolades. In 2000, LSU took another step forward and made a run to the SEC Tournament finals. The Tigers kept the momentum going and strung together back-to-back winning campaigns during 2001 and 2002 campaigns. It marked the program’s first consecutive winning seasons since 1992-93. LSU bounced back from an 11-19 mark in 2003 and fired back with a 17-12 record during the 2004 season.
This is Flory's second stint at LSU as the Baton Rouge native served as an assistant for four seasons under the program’s winningest coach, Scott Luster. She helped the Tigers accomplish unprecedented success with three SEC championships, three SEC Tournament championships and two Final Four appearances. The Tigers were the first school in SEC history to advance to the NCAA Final Four.
Flory left LSU to assume the head coaching duties at Southeastern Louisiana in 1992. In her only season with the Lions, SLU compiled a 21-13 record. She returned to the SEC as an assistant coach at Kentucky in 1993. Five months later, Flory assumed the head coaching duties when Kathy DeBoer, who is currently the Executive Director of the AVCA, was named Associate Athletic Director.
The 1993 Wildcats stormed to a 29-4 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament Second Round. For her efforts, Flory was named the Tachikara/AVCA Region IV Coach of the Year. She remained at Kentucky through the 1997 season.
Before entering coaching, Flory experienced a successful playing career at the University of Texas. She was a member of the Longhorns 1981 AIAW National Championship squad and was a two-time team captain. She received All-Southwest Conference Second-Team and NCAA Tournament All-South Region team in 1982.
Flory graduated from Texas in 1984 where she served as a student assistant before being named head coach at Wittenberg University in 1986. After Wittenburg, Flory was an assistant coach at Texas A&M in 1987 before joining the LSU staff as a graduate assistant in 1988.
A member of the AVCA and chair of the NCAA Rules Committee since Fall 2010, Flory has assisted in coordinating both the Louisiana Senior Olympic Games and the Special Olympics; hosting the 2001 Senior Olympic Games. She also is a member of the United States Volleyball Association coaching accreditation program.
Flory and her husband, Ken, live in Baton Rouge. The couple has a daughter, Lindsay (19), and a son, Nicholas (17). Lindsay is a freshman on the Tiger roster this season.
Flory's Year-by-Year Coaching Record
Overall Head Coaching Record: 466-359 (27 seasons)
Flory's AVCA All-Americans
Specialty Awards Under Flory