Associate head coach Karen Povondra has announced her retirement from coaching after 26 years at Omaha.
Courtesy: Omaha Athletics

Povondra Announces Retirement From Coaching

Omaha Athletics | January 26, 2017
OMAHA, Neb. -- Associate head volleyball coach Karen Povondra has announced her retirement from coaching, the Omaha Athletic Department released Thursday.

Povondra's retirement comes after completion of her 26th season at Omaha and her 10th as the Mavericks' associate head coach. Previously, she served 16 years as an assistant coach.

During Povondra's career, Omaha won the 1996 NCAA Championship, made 11 NCAA Tournament appearances and won three conference titles. Nine Mavericks claimed All-America awards, 16 were named all-region and 33 earned all-conference recognition.

"It's been an honor and a privilege to work with so many incredible young women over the last 26 years," Povondra said. "I appreciate those student-athletes for allowing me to challenge them to be their best. My greatest reward has been watching them grow into confident and compassionate women.

"I can't begin to thank all the people who have meant so much to me along the way, but I am especially grateful to Coach Shires. She is a great friend, mentor and leader. She is someone who has empowered me during my coaching career and encouraged me to share my passion for the sport of volleyball. As a 30-year Maverick, I believe in this university and athletic department and have the utmost confidence in the volleyball program's future."

Instrumental in more than two decades of success at UNO, Povondra has been involved in all phases of the team's operation, worked closely with the middle blocking corps and formulated the team's offensive strategies. Povondra also oversaw Omaha's volleyball summer camp program and served 20 years as an instructor in UNO's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation.

"Karen has been a driving force behind the success of our program for the past 26 years," head coach Rose Shires said. "She has pushed, driven and trained each athlete to be her best. I know that when a player received a compliment from Karen, she knew she had worked for it and deserved that praise.

"Our university and the volleyball community has been fortunate to have such an amazing person share her passion for the sport. I cannot imagine coaching without Karen by my side. We have accomplished great things over the years, in large part because of her work ethic and ability to strategically break down an opponent. We have all been blessed to have a coach and person like Karen in our lives."

An All-NCC standout as a player, Povondra was a four-year letterwinner for the Mavericks from 1978-81. She earned two degrees from UNO, earning her bachelor's degree in education in 1983 and a master's in coaching in 1994.

An Omaha native, Povondra also served eight years as head coach at Yutan High School, was an assistant basketball coach and taught physical education and math.

"Karen has made an impact on so many student-athletes and was part of some incredible teams at UNO, including one that won a national championship," Vice Chancellor for Athletics Trev Alberts said. "She has invested 30 years here as both a player and a coach and has meant so much to this program. She has helped create a tradition of hard work, success and devotion to the sport that will carry on for years to come.”

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