Cathy George, Michigan State Spartans women’s volleyball head coach, has announced her retirement. George’s career spanned 35 seasons, including the last 17 in East Lansing.
George took over from MSU in 2005, taking the Spartans to the NCAA tournament in her sophomore year, and promoted to the Sweet 16 in her third season at the helm.
George finished her tenure at Michigan State with a record of 302-233, and is the most winning coach in the history of the MSU volleyball program.
Before her time at Michigan State, George was the first female coach to take a team to the NCAA Division I Final Four with Texas-Arlington in 1989. Overall, George took her teams to the NCAA Tournament 15 times throughout her career, including 10 times. travel with the Spartans. MSU’s 10 tournaments include three Sweet 16 appearances and an Elite Eight appearance.
“My time at Michigan State has been a wonderful experience,” George said via a press release. “This is our home – the place where we raised our family – both home and our volleyball family. Our success over the years has always been the byproduct of incredible contributions from so many different people. Coaches, support staff, administrators and the local community have all come together for the interests of Spartan volleyball. And above all, our amazing student-athletes gave us everything they had while achieving so much on the field, in the classroom and in the community. They represented Michigan State with class, and it was an honor to be their coach.”
George received her master’s degree in education from Central Michigan in 1987, but played volleyball at Illinois State from 1981-1985, and was inducted into the Illinois State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019. She began coaching North Dakota State in 1987 and has spent time with both Western Michigan and Texas-Arlington during her 35-year career.
“The decision to retire as head coach after 35 seasons, including the last 17 at Michigan State, is an incredibly emotional decision,” added George. “Coaching is an extremely rewarding profession, it’s great to see student-athletes develop and excel beyond their own expectations. But coaching is a demanding profession that requires an incredible amount of energy and focus. As I went through a self-evaluation this off-season, I realized I had to do what was best for my family and for the program. ”
Michigan State is looking for George’s replacement.
“Although my time as head coach is over, I will forever be a Spartan,” George continued. “And I can leave smiling because I know the future is bright for volleyball in the state of Michigan. I believe in the return of the team and I believe in the recruits. Looking to the future, Alan Haller is an athletic director who understand what it takes for Spartan volleyball to be successful at a national level I wish I had the energy to carry on because I know great things are on the horizon under his watch The next coach will be all get the support needed to make Spartan volleyball a national power.”
Michigan State by no means had a stellar season under George last season, as MSU finished with an 11-18 record in 2021 and only went 4-16 in the Big Ten with wins against Iowa, Purdue and Rutgers twice.
“Today is a day to celebrate Cathy George and all she has accomplished in her storied career,” said Alan Haller, Michigan State vice president and director of athletics. “We are so grateful for everything she has given, not only to Michigan State Athletics, but to the game of volleyball and women’s sports in general. She pioneered as the first woman to coach in the Final Four, and remained a role model for head coaches in the Big Ten and nationally throughout her career. She, along with her husband Jerry and sons TJ and Conner, have been wonderful members of our Spartan family and we all wish her the best of luck in her retirement.”
Cathy’s son, Conner George, played for Tom Izzo and the Michigan State basketball team from 2015-2020.