Jolene Jordan Hoover is now in her 21st season as the Head Coach of the Clemson Volleyball program. Under her direction, the program has been a standard of consistent success and performance. All eight of the team's NCAA appearances have come on her watch. During the 2012 season, Hoover crossed the 400-win milestone at Clemson, and the 500-win mark in her career.
During her time at Clemson, her teams have averaged 21 wins per season and made eight NCAA appearances, and have had 20 or more wins in 14 seasons, including the 2012 campaign. Hoover's squad last year was 21-10 and 12-8 in conference play, while the 2011 team finished 20-11, and she coached three players to All-ACC honors. Including Sandra Adeleye in 2012, Hoover has coached 42 All-ACC selections.
In 2012, Adeleye became the first player in sschool history and the 13th in conference history to be an All-ACC selection in all four seasons.
She led Clemson to a 27-8 record in her first season, and has maintained a remarkable track record of consistency since. Hoover is the longest-tenured head coach of any women's program at Clemson, and continues to approach the sport with the same energy and enthusiasm that made her a Hall of Fame player at Illinois State.
Before her arrival, Clemson had never been to the NCAA Tournament and had won just 41 percent of its ACC matches. In her 20 years at the helm, Clemson has now been to the NCAA Tournament eight times, including four years in which it provided a host role for the national event, in 1994, 1999, 2007 and 2008. Clemson has won nearly 60 percent of its ACC matches in her tenure, and she has led the team to three conference titles.
Hoover is already Clemson's all-time winningest volleyball coach with a 419-229 career record. She has won at least 22 matches nine times during her tenure. Hoover's teams have a 197-135 (.592) record in ACC play, including a school record and ACC-best 21-1 mark in 2007. She has posted a 512-260 overall record in her 24 seasons as a head coach, ranking in the top 40 among active NCAA head coaches and 32nd among active head coaches in victories.
With a 3-0 victory over N.C. State in the first match of the 2004 season, Hoover reached the 100-win plateau in ACC matches and is one of only three current league coaches who can make the claim. She reached two additional milestones during the 2007 season, recording her 300th win at Clemson and her 400th career coaching victory.
The 2009 season helped to solidify Hoover, as she led the team to a 23-10 overall record and a third consecutive NCAA berth and a fourth-place finish in the ACC.
Hoover has coached great individual student-athletes to success during her time at Clemson. She has coached 19 different players to 37 All-Region selections, as well as 36 All-ACC selections. Her 2007 squad set records for All-ACC performers with six on the first and second teams and AVCA All-Region selections with four. The 2009 team also had four All-ACC performers and tied the 2007 team's mark with four All-Region selections.
The lengthy list of Tiger stars also includes Cindy Stern, who became the ACC's first volleyball All-American in 1999, and Danielle Hepburn, just the second player in school history to be named to an All-American team. Hoover coached Hepburn to a third-team selection in 2008, capping an impressive career for the middle hitter. Hepburn was the ACC's 2008 Player-of-the-Year after leading the league in kills and blocks. She ranked second nationally in blocks per set with a 1.50 average and became Clemson's three-time First Team All-ACC selection since Stern.
Stern also earned ACC Player-of-the-Year honors in 1999 under Hoover's guidance, and Hoover added Leslie Finn to the list of all-conference greats in 2003, after she garnered first-team All-ACC status.
Hoover coached Finn to one of the most spectacular individual seasons in school history in 2004. The outside hitter was a first-team All-ACC and AVCA All-Region selection. Under Hoover's tutelage, Finn set a single-season and career kills record for Clemson. Hoover then coached Danielle Hepburn to one of the finest careers in school history from 2005-08. Hepburn left the program with the career record for and three of the top five single-season hitting percentages. She also holds school records for block assists and total blocks over a career and ranks in the top 10 for kills. Hepburn's hitting percentage ranked among the top 15 nationally in 2007 (.395) and 2008 (.391) and she had a pair of top-five marks for blocks per set over her career.
Hoover is also no stranger to the development of young talent. Five times she has coached the ACC Rookie of the Year, with Jeannette Abbott earning the award most recently in 2005. Sandra Adeleye was the most recent Tiger to benefit form her tutelage, earning East Region freshman-of-the-Year honors, as well as a spot on the All-Region and All-ACC teams. Additionally, Alexa Rand was named to the All-ACC freshman team in 2009. Clemson played four freshman more than 100 sets, giving them valuable winning experiences as well as a taste of the NCAA tournament.
The file also includes 1998 selection Jodi Steffes and 1999 selection Jessi Betcher. Steffes completed her career in 2001 as Clemson's first four-time AVCA All-District honoree and was inducted into the Clemson Athletic Hall of Fame in the fall of 2009. Betcher finished her Tiger career in 2002 as Clemson all-time leader in assists with 1,551. Hoover has coached 14 different players to the All-ACC freshman team, including at least one in eight of the last 10 seasons.
She placed two rookies on the squad in 2006 in Kelsey Murphy and Didem Ege, marking just the second time in program history that the conference All-Freshman team included two Tigers. Both were during Hoover's reign.
The development of Ege and Murphy combined with veterans at the five remaining positions to secure the 2007 squad's place in Clemson history. Hoover led the team to an ACC Championship, a trip to the NCAA Tournament and the #22 final ranking with a 29-4 overall record and a program-best 21-1 mark in the conference. She was named the 2007 ACC Coach-of-the-Year, her second such honor, while coaching an unprecedented four AVCA Honorable Mention All-America selections. The team established new standards for overall and conference winning streaks during the season at 14 and 17, respectively; and the .879 winning percentage for the year was the highest figure achieved by a Clemson women's sports program in this century.
Ege went on to win ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2009, as well as an All-ACC selection after setting the ACC record for career digs, as she ended her career among the top 15 in NCAA history. Murphy closed out her career as a three-time All-ACC talents, and is the only player in league history to record 5000 assists, 1000 digs, and 400 blocks.
With its team and individual success, the 2007 team etched its mark alongside that of the 1999 squad, whose season set the bar for Hoover and the program.
That year, the Tigers posted a 31-3 overall record and finished the season ranked 22nd nationally. That .910 winning percentage was not only a Clemson volleyball record, but the top winning percentage for any Clemson sport in the decade of the 1990s. The season included an ACC regular season championship, a 27-game winning streak over the first nine matches of the season, a record four wins over Top 25 teams, and a record 16-match winning streak. The most impressive statistic might have been a perfect 12-0 record on the opponent's home floor. Hoover led the Tigers to a #9 final RPI ranking that season as well.
The 1999 season was Clemson's fifth appearance in the NCAA Tournament in a seven-year period. Her 1993 and 1994 teams finished their seasons in the NCAAs, just the fourth time in Clemson athletic history a coach had taken a team to the NCAAs in the first two years with the program. Her first two teams were a combined 55-15 overall, 20-8 in ACC play.
The 1997 and 1998 teams also reached NCAA Tournament play. The 1997 squad won the program's first ever ACC Championship. Clemson upset then-undefeated and 13th-ranked Maryland to win the title, as three Tigers were chosen to the All-Tournament team for the first time in school history and Michelle Thieke was named tourney MVP. Clemson finished that year with a 26-8 ledger. The 1998 team reached the second round of the NCAAs before losing to second-ranked Penn State on its home court. It has a school record six wins in five-game matches.
Hoover coached her 2008 squad to a second-straight NCAA appearance and another first-round victory, marking the first time ever that the Tigers reached the second round in back-to-back seasons. Clemson posted a 23-10 overall record with a 14-6 ledger in conference play. In addition to Hepburn's top league honor, Murphy was named to the First Team and Lia Proctor earned the first ACC accolade of her career with a second-team selection. With Hoover's coaching, Proctor has made great strides in her game since her freshman season. She posted nearly 100 more kills each year, compared the one prior, while bettering her hitting percentage each season as well. In 2008, Proctor was given a full-rotation role for the first time and used it to record 329 digs (second-most on the team) and 26 service aces. Her improved play was a contributing factor in the team's successes, providing a balance to Hepburn in the middle.
Hoover led the Tigers to a 20-14 record during the 2004 season, the most wins at Clemson since the 1999 season. Among the 20 wins was one of Hoover's greatest upsets. After handling Virginia Tech to open the ACC Tournament, the Tigers were faced with a matchup versus #1 seed Georgia Tech, who went undefeated in the regular season. The Tigers prevailed 3-1 in one of Clemson's best performances in recent memory.
With four underclassmen starters, along with the team's libero, the 2006 Clemson squad's resume was even then more remarkable. Hoover guided the Tigers to another 20-win season and a third-place finish in the ACC.
Clemson has reaped the benefits of a veteran leader on the court, but Hoover began her list of accomplishments long before taking over as head coach of the Tiger program.
Hoover graduated from Illinois State University in 1986, where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education. While attending Illinois State, Hoover was named all-league in the Gateway Conference in 1983 and 1985, and also the league's Most Valuable Player in 1985. She was also named Most Valuable Player in two regular season tournaments, chosen as the team's co-captain in 1985, and was an AAU Junior Olympic All-American in 1982 and 1983. In October of 1999, Hoover was inducted into the Illinois State University Hall of Fame, and was inducted into the Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School Hall of Fame in February of 2000. She was honored again in the fall of 2006 as she was named to the Missouri Valley Conference's (formerly the Gateway Conference) volleyball All-Centennial team.
During her Illinois State career, Hoover led the Redbirds to four Gateway Conference Championships and four NCAA Tournament appearances. Upon graduating from Illinois State, Hoover participated in the 1987 inaugural season of the professional Major League Volleyball as a setter for the Chicago Breeze. In the summer of 1985, she represented the USA in the World University Games held in Kobe, Japan; and also trained with the United States Women's National Volleyball Team in San Diego, CA.
Hoover's first coaching stint came in 1986 when she served as an assistant at her alma mater, Illinois State. In 1987, she was named assistant coach at the University of Tennessee. While at Tennessee, the Volunteers finished second in the Southeastern Conference in 1988, after a third-place ranking in 1987.
In 1989, Hoover left Tennessee to return to her alma mater as an assistant coach. During that season, Illinois State finished as the Gateway Conference Champions, posted a 21-10 record (9-0 in conference), and qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
Hoover's first head coaching position came in 1990 when she took over the Western Maryland College Terrors. During her three-year tenure at Western Maryland she compiled a 93-31 overall record. When combined with her 19-year mark at Clemson, Hoover has an impressive 491-250 (.665) career record.
Since her arrival at Clemson, Hoover has not only been coaching the Tigers, but has also worked outside the collegiate coaching area. She has served as the head coach of the USA's Youth National Team in 1996, an assistant with the 1995 Olympic Festival Team, and as the assistant coach for the Youth National Team in 1994.
Hoover, who earned a master's degree from Clemson in 1997, and her husband Dave Hoover, have two children, Hayley (21) and Carley. Carley is a freshman softball player at Stanford and was the 2013 Gatorade National Softball Player of the Year.