SOUTH BEND, Ind. (UND.com) – Salima Rockwell (Davidson), a four-time National Championship coach and three-time All-American, has been named the seventh head coach in Notre Dame volleyball history, university vice president Jack Swarbrick and director of athletics James E. Rohr said today. known.
“We’re excited to have Salima join the Notre Dame family,” said Jack Swarbrick, university vice president and James E. Rohr, athletics director. “Salima has succeeded at every level – as a student-athlete, professional athlete, collegiate coach and broadcaster – and we are excited to see what her team achieves. Her drive to be great and appreciation for the unique features of Notre Dame Salima distinguished during our search and we can’t wait to have her and her family with us on campus.”
“I am delighted to have this opportunity to lead the Irish and I would like to thank (University President) Fr. Jenkins, Jack (Swarbrick) and (Senior Deputy Athletics Director) Missy (Conboy) for all their hard work during this process,” said Rockwell. “From the first phone call to the final moments on campus this week, it’s clear that Notre Dame is committed to their volleyball program and to the investment of their student-athletes as a whole. I am beyond excited to join such a forward-thinking university with amazing people whose vision aligns perfectly with mine.”
“Notre Dame Volleyball is a program that is on the verge of greatness, and my mission is to provide student athletes with the high-quality and versatile opportunities they would expect if they chose Notre Dame,” continued Rockwell. “Our student-athletes will graduate with incredible college experience, an education from one of the best schools in the world, and will achieve a high level of improvement and success on the field. Notre Dame Volleyball has only scratched the surface of what it could be and I can’t wait to get started with the team to build our legacy.”
Rockwell coached for nine years at her alma mater, Penn State University, where she held titles of associate head coach, assistant coach, and director of operations during two separate spells at Happy Valley (2006-2009 and 2015-17). Rockwell’s main duties were working with the setters and the offense, recruiting and match preparation.
As a student athlete, Rockwell was a three-time All-American setter for the Nittany Lions from 1991-94. She was named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament team in 1993, when she helped lead Penn State to a second-place finish in the NCAA Championship, and then again in 1994, after Penn State made its second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championship. NCAA Championship semifinals.
Rockwell also earned four-time All-Big Ten honors, including three First Team rosters. She helped the Nittany Lions capture the Big Ten Championships in 1992 and 1993.
Rockwell’s name is punctuated in the storied Penn State record books—ranking sixth all-time on the program’s career assistants list (5455) and eighth on the career digs list (1278). She is inducted into the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame.
Rockwell was also a member of the US national team from 1995-99. She captained the team in 1997 and 1998, was the starting setter and earned the Coaches Award, MVP and the Team Award in each of those seasons.
Between her two coaching tours at Penn State, Rockwell spent five seasons (2009-2013) at the University of Texas. While in Austin, she helped the Longhorns to the 2012 National Championship title, their first in nearly 25 years.
Before returning to Penn State for the first time, Rockwell spent the 2005 season as an assistant coach at Oregon State under legendary head coach Terry Liskevych.
A Pittsburgh native, Rockwell began her coaching career as an assistant at the University of Pittsburgh from 2001-03, where she worked primarily with the Panthers setters and was also the lead recruiter.
Rockwell graduated from Penn State University in 1994 with a Bachelor of the Arts in Voice Communications. She is married to Jeff Rockwell and the couple have two sons, Logan and Rylan. For the past three years, Rockwell has served as a color commentator for ESPN, Fox Sports, Big Ten Network, and CBS Sports.
WHAT THEY SAY
“Salima is a great coach! She knows the game, has a lot of experience and brings a strong history of success to the Notre Dame program. She is talented, driven and genuinely cares about the people she works with.”
Hugh McCutcheon – 2008 & 2012 US Olympic Team Head Coach, Minnesota Women’s Volleyball Head Coach
“Salima is a great asset to Notre Dame. She brings insight into what it takes to win at the highest level. In addition, Salima is a proven recruiter who understands how to attract top-level athletes to any of the programs she has coached. Most importantly, she is a wonderful person who will bring an infectious energy to the program and provide a great student-athlete experience at Notre Dame.”
Kevin Hambly- Stanford University Women’s Volleyball Head Coach