Posted: 3:53 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016

Miami University honors Wittenberg’s Paco Labrador

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Miami University honors Wittenberg’s Paco Labrador photo
Barbara Perenic
Wittenberg unveiled the championship trophy and banner for the volleyball team’s NCAA Division III national title during halftime at Saturday’s basketball game against Wooster at the Pam Evans Smith Arena in Springfield on, Feb. 11, 2012. Current and alumni players were invited to center court for the unveiling. Head volleyball coach Paco Labrador was celebrated as the Division III Coach of the Year. Staff Photo by Barbara J. Perenic

By David Jablonski

Staff Writer

SPRINGFIELD —

Wittenberg volleyball coach Paco Labrador has turned the Tigers into a national power since taking over the program in 2003. They won the national championship in 2011 and finished runner-up last season.

Labrador is a graduate of Hiram College and made his mark as a head coach, but he spent four seasons as an assistant coach at Miami University and earned his master’s degree in sports science there before coming to Wittenberg, and that’s why Miami honored him last weekend.

Labrador joined Miami’s Cradle of Coaches, which has recognized more than 100 Miami graduates who are coaches or administrators in various sports across the nation.

“It’s a huge honor to be considered in the same class as all of the members in the Cradle of Coaches,” Labrador said in a press release. “Thanks to the committee and to Miami’s head volleyball coach Carolyn Condit for giving me my first opportunity to coach in college and for nominating me for the award. To this day, I still hold true to the words Carolyn and Miami helped instill, ‘Love and Honor.’”

Wittenberg Athletic Director called it an honor work alongside Labrador.

“I have never met a coach who has accomplished so much and yet is so humble,” Williams said. “Paco displays incredible conviction, pride and self-discipline in what he does, and despite all his personal and team accolades, he still challenges himself and his women each day to get better and better.”

Entering the season, Labrador led all Division III coaches in winning percentage (.868). His career record stands at 412-65. He has been named North Coast Athletic Conference Coach of the Year seven times.

The Tigers (6-3) rank sixth in the American Volleyball Coaches Association poll. Their only losses are to No. 7 Hope, No. 17 Carnegie-Mellon and No. 1 Calvin. They have victories over No. 13 Christopher Newport, No. 12 Juniata, No. 4 Cal Lutheran and No. 23 Elmhurst.

Wittenberg hosts Hiram at 1 p.m. Saturday at Pam Evans Smith Arena in its North Coast Athletic Conference opener.