As Betsy Becker begins her sixth season as head coach of the Tulane University volleyball team, her list of accomplishments is impressive.
In five years at the helm of the Green Wave program, Becker turned a team that suffered through four consecutive losing seasons prior to her arrival to a squad that enters the 2004 season ranked sixth in the Midwest Region by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. She is only eight victories away from win No. 100 with the Green Wave (92-69), a feat accomplished by only three other Tulane coaches. In addition, players she has coached make up 44 percent of Tulane's single-match records, 33 percent hold single-season records and 37 percent hold career marks.
In addition, she has coached the team to back-to-back 20-win seasons (21 in 2002 and 25 in 2003) for the first time since the 1986 and 1987 campaigns, and Tulane has posted three consecutive winning seasons for the first time since1993 when the Green Wave put the finishing touches on their fourth straight plus-.500 year.
Her first Tulane team showed a seven-match improvement in 1999, and the Green Wave have not suffered a losing season since.
Under Becker's tutelage, five Green Wave players have earned All-Conference USA honors - including two-time winners Kim Sentmore and Britney Hurst - nine have claimed all-state honors from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association, and one has gone on to play professionally. Her recruiting classes have done well also, as a Green Wave rookie has received C-USA All-Freshmen Team honors in three of the last four seasons and has earned the Louisiana Freshman of the Year title in two of the past three years.
And while Becker's student-athletes have performed well on the court, their showing in the classroom has been equally impressive as Green Wave players combined to earn Conference USA Commissioner's Honor Roll recognition on 46 occasions, including nine recipients during the 2001-02 academic year.
As a team, the Becker-directed Green Wave squads have rewritten the Tulane record book in recent years. Her inaugural team set school records for attacks per game (43.05), the 2002 squad set marks for games played (131), kills (1,961), total attacks (5,156), and assists (1,739), while last year's club posted program highs in kills per game (16.03), assists per game (14.56), digs (2,114) and digs per game (18.22).
Her 1999 squad became the first Tulane team to ever claim a Regional ranking by the American Volleyball Coaches Association, as they were ranked 10th at mid-season. In 2002 - when Tulane compiled a 21-12 regular-season record - the Green Wave garnered their first postseason ranking, finishing the year tied for eighth in the Midwest. The 2003 squad, meanwhile, finished the year ranked eighth regionally.
During her tenure at Tulane, Becker had a pair of players rank among the national leaders in kills per game as Kim Sentmore finished 11th in the NCAA in 1999 and Britney Hurst was seventh in the country in 2002. Last season, the Green Wave's national rankings came on the defensive side as Deva Fowler finished 13th in the nation in blocks and Karlyn Daly was 27th in digs per game.
Turning around a volleyball team in the New Orleans area is nothing new for Becker as the Crescent City native spent the 1995-98 seasons as head coach at the University of New Orleans where she helped guide the Privateers to a 78-58 record in four seasons, including a 27-14 record in Sun Belt Conference action in four seasons. She posted a pair of 20-win seasons with the Privateers, including a 25-8 mark in 1997 which was the third-most wins in team history. In 1998, Becker was named Louisiana Volleyball Coach of the Year by the LSWA after guiding UNO to a 20-12 season, including a 10-4 Sun Belt mark which tied for second in the league.
Prior to becoming head coach at UNO, Becker spent the 1994 season at the University of Denver where she served as an assistant.
While in Colorado, Becker also served as head coach of Jefferson High School, a public 5A school in Edgewater, and as the head coach of the Boulder Volleyball Club, a local Junior Olympic team. With the Boulder Volleyball Club, Becker helped the team garner a regional ranking and sent every player on the team to an NCAA Division I or II program, including current assistant coach and four-year Tulane letterwinner, Liz Kritza.
Becker's volleyball roots were formed in New Orleans as a prepster where she was a standout at nearby Academy of the Sacred Heart. While in high school, Becker was a three-time all-state volleyball selection, earned all-region honors as a senior, and garnered all-district honors all three years in volleyball, basketball and track. Becker helped lead the Cardinals to their first ever state volleyball championship as a junior, and followed it up in 1987 with another state title.
From there, Becker packed her bags for Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where she lettered in volleyball, track and basketball. On the volleyball court, Becker was a three-time captain and team MVP. On the track, meanwhile, she helped set the school indoor record for the 4x800-meter relay at the Princeton Relays and finished runner-up in the Catholic Female Athlete of the Year voting.
Upon graduation, Becker returned to New Orleans where she accepted an assistant coaching position at UNO during the 1992 and 1993 seasons. During her initial stint with the Privateers, Becker helped coach All-American Javonne Brooks who set the NCAA career records for kills (2,932), matches with 10-plus kills (143) and matches with 20-plus kills (65).
Becker completed her bachelor's degree in elementary education from Catholic University in 1992, and received her master's degree in adult education from UNO in 1997.
Becker is an active participant in the U.S. Volleyball Coaches Accreditation Program and is a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association. She has also contributed to articles in various volleyball publications, and most recently, wrote a short story entitled "P" Soup for a book entitled Chicken Soup For the Coach's Soul. In addition, Becker provides inspirational and motivational workshops for several local teams as well as private organizations.
In 2002, she was on the New Orleans NCAA Volleyball Championship Committee which was largely responsible for bringing the Division I Volleyball Championship to The Crescent City, and in 2003, was elected chairperson of the Conference USA Volleyball Coaches Committee. Becker is also one of two C-USA head coaches to vote for the AVCA Top 25.
Away from the game, Becker is an active member of numerous organizations, including the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Girl Scouts of America. Becker serves on the board of the Academy of the Sacred Heart Alumni Association, the Ochsner Grant Committee and Girls First.
An avid sportswoman, Becker enjoys golf and running, and has participated in numerous marathons and 10K runs throughout the country, including the Boston Marathon, the New York Marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, D.C. and the Mardi Gras Marathon. A single parent, Becker has a son, Christopher Becker Ferrer (5) and resides in New Orleans.