Eight seasons (109-112 through 2016)
Stephanie Dragan enters her eighth season as head volleyball coach at Franklin Pierce in 2016. She also serves as senior woman administrator at the University. Through eight campaigns in Rindge, Dragan has posted an 109-112 record (.493 winning percentage) over 221 matches to push her career record to 330-352 (.484) in 682 matches over 21 seasons as a collegiate head coach.
In addition to her responsibilities at Franklin Pierce, Dragan served a three-year term as chair of the NCAA Division II East Region Women's Volleyball Committee (2011-13), which is responsible for selecting and seeding teams for play in the NCAA Championship East Regional, in conjunction with the NCAA Division II National Women's Volleyball Committee. As chair of the East Region Committee, Dragan also served a three-year term on the National Committee. Previously, she served as chair of the Northeast-10 Conference Volleyball Coaches Group and represented the East Region on the American Volleyball Coaches Association's Division II Committee in both 2011 and 2012.
On Saturday, September 10, 2016 at the Wildcat Invitational hosted by Wilmington University, Dragan became the program's all-time career wins leader with her squads 3-0 sweep over the host Wildcats. The victory was the 100th of her Raven coaching career and she passed former record holder Bob Welner's previous mark of 99 wins.
In her fifth season with the Ravens, Dragan coached her first All-Region selection, as Lauren Miller was selected to the Daktronics All-East Region First Team after her work on the floor in 2013. Miller was the first All-Region First Team honoree in program history and also became the first player to earn a major conference award in program annals, as she was named Northeast-10 Co-Libero of the Year.
In all, over eight years at the helm in Rindge, Dragan has produced one All-East Region selection, 12 All-Northeast-10 selections and eight Northeast-10 All-Rookie Team selections. Dragan herself earned the first-ever major conference award in program history, when she was named Northeast-10 Coach of the Year in 2012. During the 2015 campaign, outside hitter Katie Leidhold became the first player in program history to take home the Northeast-10 Rookie of the Year award.
Away from the court, Dragan has also seen her players honored for their work in the classroom since arriving in Rindge. In 2012, Natasha Ray became the sixth Raven school-wide -- and the first from the volleyball program -- to earn the Northeast-10 Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence Award, which is the league's most prestigious academic award and is presented to one athlete in each Conference-sponsored sport each year, based on a combination of athletic and academic criteria. A year later, Ray defended her award, as she was volleyball's Scholar-Athlete Sport Excellence recipient for 2013 as well. Catie Swiderski and Aiden Garcia both landed on the Northeast-10 Academic All-Conference team in 2014, which gave the Ravens eight honorees over Dragan's seven seasons. In her final season, Garcia was named a 2016 Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar that was announced in the April 21st issue of Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. Garcia earned a selection to the 28 student-athlete First Team for volleyball, and was one of just 82 volleyball players nationwide, across all three NCAA divisions, to be honored by the program. The Arthur Ashe Jr. Sports Scholar Awards program is designed to "honor undergraduate students who have excelled in the classroom as well as on the athletic field." Institutions across the country are encouraged to nominate sports scholars each year, taking into account a student-athlete's leadership and commitment to community service, in addition to athletic and academic successes.
As a team in 2012-13, the program earned its second straight Northeast-10 Conference Team Academic Excellence Award, as the team with the highest GPA in the Conference. In addition, the 2015 Ravens earned their seventh straight Team Academic Award from the American Volleyball Coaches Association, by posting a grade-point average higher than 3.30.
During the 2016 season, the Ravens finished the year at 12-15, 8-6 in league play and won six of their last seven games to advance to the Northeast-10 Conference Quarterfinals. It was the fifth straight season FPU had moved on to the conference quarterfinals and the the fifth consecutive campaign they failed to advance to the next round. Three players earned All-Conference honors as Abigail Sonuga was selected as a Second Team player while Katie Leidhold was named to the Third Team and Danielle Varricchio earned All-Rookie honors.
In 2015, Dragan led the crimson and grey to a 18-11 overall mark and a 12-2 record in conference play, which were the best marks during her tenure as head coach. FPU advanced to the conference quarterfinals for the fourth straight year and dropped their fourth straight quarterfinal game 3-1 to New Haven. 2015 also marked the third time in four years that the Ravens qualified for the NCAA Tournament. As the sixth seed, the Ravens squared off against Dowling, the third seed at the East Regional and fell 3-0 to the Golden Lions. Four players earned All-Conference honors including Katie Leidhold who was named the Northeast-10 Rookie of the Year and to the All-Northeast-10 First and Rookie teams. Aiden Garcia and Hannah Runge were named to the second team while Abigail Sonuga joined Leidhold on the All-Rookie Team.
Coming off back-to-back NCAA Championship appearances, the 2014 edition of the Ravens took a small step back, though featured only one senior among their ranks, signaling a youthful team building for the future. Franklin Pierce finished with a 15-13 (8-6 Northeast-10) record and qualified for the Northeast-10 Championship for the third straight season. The last team into the postseason, the Ravens were dealt a 3-0 loss on the road at top seed New Haven in the quarterfinal round.
The third straight winning season for Franklin Pierce saw another haul of hardware bestowed upon the team in 2014. Catie Swiderski (Second Team) and Aiden Garcia (Third Team) each earned All-Northeast-10 honors, while Hannah Runge and Hannah St. Jean both landed on the All-Rookie Team, showcasing the Ravens' combination of experience and youth. At the conclusion of the academic year, Swiderski was honored at Franklin Pierce's annual Department of Athletics banquet as the Walter Peterson Female Senior Student-Athlete of the Year, the Department's premier award.
Already the first coach in program history to guide a team to an NCAA Championship berth, Dragan led the Ravens to the dance against in 2013. The team finished at 14-9 (9-5 Northeast-10) and, after a quarterfinal round loss at Adelphi in the Northeast-10 Championship, slipped into the NCAA Championship East Regional as the seventh seed. The Ravens dropped their second straight quarterfinal round match at the East Regional, this time to LIU Post, setting the next goal for the program at finding postseason wins. The 2013 campaign marked the first time the program had qualified for back-to-back Northeast-10 Championships since the 2006-08 squads made three straight appearances.
A second straight season among the most successful in program annals led to another significant haul of postseason hardware for Franklin Pierce. Wrapping up her magnificent career, Lauren Miller became just the second All-Region selection in program history, and the first to earn First Team recognition, as she landed on the Daktronics All-East Region First Team, in addition to an AVCA All-East Region Honorable Mention nod. Miller was also the first player to earn a major conference award in program annals, as she shared Northeast-10 Co-Libero of the Year honors with Katy Daniels of Saint Rose. Miller earned All-Northeast-10 First Team honors as well, Natasha Ray landed on the All-Northeast-10 Second Team and Aiden Garcia took home a Northeast-10 All-Rookie Team selection.
That 2013 campaign came after the entire starting lineup returned from a 2012 squad which put together the most successful season in program history. At 19-15, the team posted the most wins for the program in 20 years and, more impressively, earned the program's first-ever trip to the NCAA Championship by capturing the fifth seed in the East Regional. In Northeast-10 play, a 12-3 mark was the best conference record ever posted by the program, staking the team to a third-place finish and a return to the Northeast-10 Championship for the first time since 2008.
The success on the floor led to one of the biggest postseason hardware hauls in program history, highlighted by Dragan's first career selection as Northeast-10 Coach of the Year. In addition, three of her players were honored at the Conference level, led by junior outside hitter Natasha Ray, who earned the program's first-ever All-Northeast-10 First Team selection. Junior libero Lauren Miller landed on the All-Northeast-10 Second Team, while freshman middle Lina Kleinschmidt was named to the Northeast-10 All-Rookie Team.
After taking a step forward in 2010, the build-up to the aforementioned 2012 season continued in 2011, as Dragan guided the team to a 13-13 mark, which included a 7-8 record in Northeast-10 play, both figures marking the high-water mark for her in Rindge to that point. The team finished ninth in the Conference, one lone game from qualifying for the eight-team Northeast-10 Championship in the 16-team Conference, as the squad -- which featured no seniors nor juniors -- clearly foreshadowed the success of the following fall.
Lauren Miller, a Northeast-10 All-Rookie pick in 2010, made the successful transition from outside hitter to libero for the 2011 campaign, as she finished among the top 100 players in the nation in digs per set, ranked third in the Northeast-10 in the same category, and was twice named Northeast-10 Libero of the Week. At the net, transfer right side Natasha Ray led the offense with 15 double-doubles while leading the team in kills and points per set.
Dragan collected her first 10-win season as a Raven in 2010 with a 10-14 campaign and she pointed the team towards its future success, with three freshman earning starting spots on the squad. Lauren Miller earned a spot on the Northesat-10 Conference All-Rookie Team, while her and Katie Jackson combined to pick up three Northeast-10 Rookie of the Week honors during the season. In addition to Miller, senior libero Chelsie Kohout picked up hardware from the conference with her selection to the All-Northeast-10 Third Team. They marked the first conference awards for the team under Dragan's watch.
In addition, Dragan saw multiple players reach personal milestones during the 2010 season. Chelsie Kohout surpassed 1,500 career digs on her way to finishing her career with 1,905, which obliterated the previous program record. In addition, Pamela Walker collected the 1,000th assist of her career, while Christina Calderon returned for her senior season after a four-year hiatus and surpassed 1,000 career kills.
After an 8-22 debut season in Rindge in 2009, Dragan brought her first recruting class to the University over the off-season. The group boasted a duo of All-State players at the high school level, as well as numerous All-Conference performers. After losing only three graduating seniors for the 2010 team, and with no seniors on the roster in either 2011 or 2012, the core of the Franklin Pierce squad on the floor this fall has had the opportunity to grow up together in crimson and grey.
Dragan amassed 13 years of head coaching experience before coming to Rindge, the last four of which came at the Division I level for Western Carolina University. Before that, she spent seven very successful seasons at NCAA Division III Centre College, in Danville, Ky., where she compiled an overall record of 159-107 (.598). Prior to Centre, she posted a 30-30 (.500) record in two years during her first head coaching position at Agnes Scott College in Decatur, Ga., from 1996-97.
While at Centre, Dragan enjoyed five 20-plus win seasons including a 28-victory campaign and unblemished home record in her final year at the Colonels' helm in 2004. She produced the lone All-American in program history, two All-Region players and 15 All-Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) selections. She also coached the 2003 and 2004 SCAC Freshman of the Year as well as one AVCA South Region Freshman of the Year. In her third season in 2000, she led Centre to a 26-8 record and was named the SCAC Coach of the Year.
Dragan's eye for talent continued to show at Western Carolina, recruiting a Collegiate Volleyball Update (CVU) "Rising Star", a prepvolleyball.com "Defensive Dandy" and two prepvolleyball.com Top 250 recruits. Carrie Minogue set a Catamounts program-record with 770 digs during her freshman season in 2008, which placed her 15th nationally in Division I. Dragan led WCU to its first Southern Conference (SoCon) Tournament win since 2000 with a three-game sweep of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro in 2005. The program also produced no less than six TIAA-CREF SoCon fall All-Academic honorees under her tutelage.
Dragan has also performed a variety of tasks at the collegiate level in addition to her volleyball coaching duties. She served as assistant strength coach and assistant sports information director at Centre, while also working with the College's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She was also the head softball coach over four years at Centre and Agnes Scott. Dragan had returned to her native Ohio following her stint at Western Carolina and was coaching the Mavericks Volleyball Club in Parma.
Dragan is a 1994 graduate of Shawnee State University, in Portsmouth, Ohio, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in social science and was a standout setter on the Bears volleyball team. Dragan earned her Masters of Sport Science from the United States Sports Academy in 2008. She is an active member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), is IMPACT certified and is a graduate of the NCAA Women's Coaches Academy. She has also served as an assistant coach for the USA Developmental Team as part of the 2008 Global Challenge held in Puola, Croatia.
Originally from Bedford, Ohio, Dragan currently resides in Troy, N.H.
Franklin Pierce University Volleyball Head Coach (2009-Present)
|Years||Wins||Losses||Conf. Wins||Conf. Losses||Highlights|
|2012||19||15||12||3||NCAA East Region Quarterfinals, NE-10 Quarterfinals|
|2013||14||9||9||5||NCAA East Region Quarterfinals, NE-10 Quarterfinals|
|2014||15||13||8||6||NCAA East Region Quarterfinals|
|2015||18||11||12||2||NCAA East Region Quarterfinals, NE-10 Quarterfinals|
|FPU Total||109||112||63||53||.493 Overall / .543 Conference|
|21 Year Total||330||352||-||-||.484 Overall|
Western Carolina University Volleyball Head Coach (2005-2008)
|Years||Wins||Losses||Conf. Wins||Conf. Losses||Highlights|
|2005||9||25||7||11||Southern Conference Quarterfinals|
|2006||8||28||4||14||Southern Conference First Round|
|WCU Total||32||103||18||54||.237 Overall / .250 Conference|