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Neuqua Valley coach achieves 500th win

Girls’ volleyball coach Kelly Simon coached the Neuqua Valley High School team for her 500th victory as a head coach on October 6, Neuqua Valley Media, the online student newspaper at the high school in Naperville, Illinois, reports.

Records at the Illinois High School Association are incomplete with regard to Neuqua Valley’s girls’ volleyball team, showing a win-loss record of 195-11-3 for Simon, from 2001 through 2010, then listing no records for the girls’ volleyball seasons in the 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15 school years. When the record book picks up again, we find no win-loss record at the IHSA in 2015-16 or 2016-17. (The school might want to update the IHSA on Simon’s records.)

“I’ve had an amazing career coaching young women for the past 24 years,” Neuqua Valley Media quoted her as saying. That leads me to believe the remaining 305 victories came either during the last three years at Neuqua Valley or elsewhere before 2001.

The Naperville Sun reported a few days ago that her 500th win came on October 6. “This is just a really exciting time,” the paper quoted her as saying. “Honestly, I missed my 100, 200, 300 and 400. I just didn’t pay attention to them. And every year we have to submit our records to our athletic director, and when doing so after last season, I went, ‘Huh.’ Once I totaled everything up I realized I only needed 17 wins. So I put it on a little note and put it in my binder.”

Simon attended University High School in Normal and played basketball, softball, and volleyball. She then played softball and volleyball at Hillsdale College in Michigan, graduating in 1993, the Sun reported. In seven seasons as head coach at Reed-Custer High School in Braidwood, Illinois, from 1994 to 2000, her Comets were 154-81-8, the Sun reported.

So out of 500 wins, 154 came at Reed-Custer (although the IHSA’s records on the girls’ volleyball season are also incomplete there), and 195 came at Neuqua Valley in 10 seasons from 2001 through 2010, according to incomplete IHSA records. That means 151 match wins are unaccounted for.

The Neuqua Valley girls’ volleyball season’s now over—the Wildcats lost last night to Benet Academy from Lisle in the regional championship game at Oswego High School, 25-20, 27-25. But the season goes in the books as Simon’s 500th victory, a milestone few Illinois volleyball coaches have achieved.

As of last month, only 40 coaches in Illinois girls’ volleyball history had achieved the mark of 500 victories. Note that, because records from Neuqua Valley and Reed-Custer are incomplete at the IHSA, Simon isn’t on the list but should be. Other coaches may deserve this recognition in the state as well, coaches not listed here because records furnished to the IHSA are incomplete. Leading the IHSA-recognized list are:

  • Peg Kopec. St Francis in Wheaton. 1974-2015, exc. 1986. 1,248-260-2
  • Donna Dulle. Mt Pulaski. 1981-2016. 1,065-328 and counting
  • Fred Rakers. Mater Dei in Breese. 1975-2011. 1,046-200-7
  • Kristy Pierce. Shannon, 1982-86; Eastland in Lanark, 1986-2015. 939-206-10
  • Helen Dulle. Sacred Heart-Griffin in Springfield, 1972-2008, exc. 2007. 933-265-2

In the top 41 over 500, fewer than five coaches are still counting victories, but that small number includes Donna Dulle at Mt Pulaski and, now, Kelly Simon at Neuqua Valley.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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