|Nicole Lantagne Welch|
2012 ACC & AVCA East Region Coach of the Year
Record at Miami: 243-120 (.669)
Nicole Lantagne Welch has been the head coach of the University of Miami volleyball program since it re-started for the 2001 season, completing her 12th season in 2012. The most successful coach in school history, she has posted winning seasons in 10 of the 12 years while reaching 20 wins on six occasions. Lantagne Welch has led the Hurricanes to the NCAA Tournament five times, including in each of the past four years.
After losing three All-ACC players to graduation after the 2011 season, Lantagne Welch took the Hurricanes to new heights in the ACC with a new-look 2012 squad to win ACC Coach of the Year and AVCA East Region Coach of the Year. Setting a program record with 17 league wins, the Canes came within one victory of an outright conference championship to finish in sole possession of second place. The team tied a league record with six players earning All-ACC honors (all for the first time), with five being named AVCA All-Region to tie Penn State and Iowa State for the most All-Region honorees nationally.
Her 2012 team also set a new program mark with 2.90 blocks per set, including a school record 23 total blocks in a road win at Clemson. The Hurricanes started off the conference season with arguably the most impressive win in program history, knocking off rival No. 6 Florida State in front of a record crowd at the Knight Sports Complex and a national television audience on ESPNU. Miami won all 13 matches at home and took 10-straight matches in the middle of the season to appear in the national poll in five different weeks. She won her 100th career ACC match during the season at her alma mater, Maryland, Oct. 12.
In the summer prior to the season, Lantagne Welch traveled to Ohio to work with the A2 program as part of development for Team USA. In addition, two players associated with the program - Ciara Michel and Savanah Leaf - both competed in the Olympic Games for Team GB.
In 2011, Lantagne Welch guided the Hurricanes to a 26-5 overall record and a 16-4 league mark to finish second in the ACC. UM qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the third-straight year, defeating Northern Illinois to advance to the Second Round of the Ames [Iowa] Regional. At the end of the campaign, numerous players earned recognition, including Lane Carico becoming the first Hurricane to win ACC Player of the Year. The senior also earned AVCA All-America honors to cap one of the best careers in Miami history. The team was ranked in eight different weeks, appearing in the national poll for the first time since 2002.
The 2010 team ranked No. 26 in the NCAA RPI and No. 28 in the Pablo Index after making the NCAA Tournament in back-to-back seasons for the first time. Miami ended the season with a 23-9 overall mark (13-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) and finished third in the conference regular season standings. Along the way, the Hurricanes defeated NCAA Tournament participants Florida State, Middle Tennessee State, Georgia Southern, Wichita State and North Carolina. At the end of the year, Lantagne Welch saw her first-ever AVCA All-American honored in the form of Carico, collecting third team accolades following a record-breaking year. Carico became the first player in school history with 1,000 kills and 1,000 digs in a career, as well as leading the ACC in double-doubles - and later being the only player in the league to amass at least 400 kills and 400 digs on the campaign. Carico and teammate Katie Gallagher each claimed AVCA All-East Region Team honors, while freshman libero Ryan Shaffer set a new school record for digs by a freshman (539 / 4.53 per set). As for Carico, she would also earn her third consecutive All-ACC Team nod and All-East Region honor.
In 2009, Lantagne Welch helped the Hurricanes to their second NCAA Tournament appearance, competing in the Gainesville [Fla.] Regional. UM earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after holding the 33rd toughest schedule in the nation according to the end-of-year RPI rankings. Earlier in the season, Lantagne Welch guided the Hurricanes to the Hampton Inn & Suites Northern Colorado Classic championship. She would add to her growing list of All-Atlantic Coast Conference student-athletes, as well as All-America honorable mention performers, seeing senior libero Cassie Loessberg and sophomore outside hitter Lane Carico named to both lists. Carico and Loessberg each collected AVCA All-America Honorable Mention selections, while both were tabbed to the AVCA All-East Region Team. During the 2008 campaign, Lantagne Welch led the Hurricanes to a tie for third place in the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) standings, and the team's best regular season record since 2002.
During the year, Lantagne Welch collected her 150th career victory when the 'Canes defeated NC State, 3-0, on November 21, 2008. It was just two seasons ago that she posted her 100th career victory in the 2006 season-opener for UM with a 3-2 win over Alabama. The 2008 season was special for UM as the team posted a record of 26-6 overall (14-6 ACC), finishing just one match shy of tying for an ACC Championship. Not to be overlooked was Lantagne Welch leading the 'Canes to three in-season tournament titles, including a tournament title at NCAA Tournament participant University of San Francisco as part of the Asics/Coca-Cola Invitational in San Francisco, Calif. For those achievements and more, Lantagne Welch was tabbed ACC Coach of the Year, as well as American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) East Region Coach of the Year. It was her first ACC coaching honor, while being the second AVCA Regional honor, collecting the award in 2002 during Miami's historic run to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament.
Under her guidance, Lantagne Welch would later see freshman Lane Carico named ACC Freshman of the Year, as well as AVCA East Region Freshman of the Year. Carico would go on to be named to the All-ACC Second Team, as well as teammates Angelica Ellis and Genny Mayhew. Carico would represent the first-ever ACC Freshman of the Year coached by Lantagne Welch, while Ellis and Mayhew would become the seventh and eighth players in school history to be named to the All-ACC Volleyball Team. Overall, her career at UM is highlighted in part by four seasons with at least 20 wins (2003-04, '08, '10) and a trip to the "Sweet 16" in the Hurricanes' first-ever appearance at the NCAA Tournament in 2002. In her 10 years at the helm in Coral Gables, Lantagne Welch has averaged 19.2 wins per seasons with a career record of 192-109.
In 2009, Cassie Loessberg became the school's all-time leader in digs (2,008), while also managing to take the all-time lead in matches played (123) and sets played (453). The team also advanced to the NCAA Tournament with an at-large bid to the NCAA Gainesville [Fla.] Regional. Lane Carico earned her second AVCA All-East Region Team nod, while Cassie Loessberg earned All-AVCA East Region honors for the first time in her career. Loessberg would also claim All-America honorable mention accolades at the end of the season, and made an appearance on the All-ACC Team. Genny Mayhew and Griffin Udelson each earned their degrees from the University of Miami following the 2009 playing season. The 2008 season saw even those achievements mastered as Lantagne Welch and her staff assembled one of the best marks in school history. Lantagne Welch led Miami to its best ACC record in school history. It was also the second-best record in school history on the Division I level of athletics. Katie Gallagher moved in sole possession of second place all-time at UM for assists in a career during the 2008 season, while Cassie Loessberg placed herself in second place for digs in a career. In addition, Loessberg broke her own school record from a year ago for digs in a single-season, upping the new record to 554--besting her old school-record mark by two.
As for Gallagher, she etched her name once again as one of the Top 10 single-season assists leaders in school history. Already sitting at third place in school history from the 2007 season where she collected 1,243 assists, Gallagher added to that total with 1,202 in 2008--good enough for sixth place all-time in school history. Freshman Lane Carico broke the freshman record for kills in a single-season for UM with 369, adding her name to 10th all-time for single-season kills.
Meanwhile, Miami tied a school-record for hitting percentage in a five-set match, collecting a .329 percentage at Florida State on Nov. 26, 2008. The 'Canes would also collect the second-best single-set hitting mark in school history with a .615 clip against Boston College in the third set on Oct. 10, 2008. Lantagne Welch would see two more student-athletes graduate following the 2008 season. Angelica Ellis and Bridget Bomhack both earned their Bachelor's Degree, while Ashley Woods completed her Master's Degree. Woods placed her name eighth all-time in sets played (367), as well as eighth place all-time in total attacks (1,764). Ellis finished the season ranked ninth in attacks (1,209), while also collecting the third-highest individual single-season hitting percentage (.350) from the 2008 campaign. Overall, Ellis is sixth in school history in career hitting percentage with a .275 clip through 318 sets and 1,209 attacks. Woods is 10th in career hitting percentage, holding a .256 clip.
The eighth-year head coach also coached three All-ACC Second Team members with Lane Carico, Angelica Ellis and Genny Mayhew. In addition, Carico and Ellis were each named as AVCA All-America honorable mention, while Carico was selected the 2008 AVCA East Region Freshman of the Year. Carico was also the true definition of "student-athlete" as she was named to the All-ACC Academic Team. Miami's team accomplishments under the guidance of Lantagne Welch in 2008 were plentiful as the Hurricanes posted the first-ever sweep of the Duke Blue Devils, as well as finishing in a tie for third place in the final league standings--the second-best finish for the Hurricanes in their ACC history. The 14-6 ACC record was the best conference record in Miami's five-year ACC volleyball history.
Under Lantagne Welch's direction, a number of other individual school records fell in 2007. In addition to Ciara Michel closing out her career with a UM record 573 total blocks, sophomore Cassie Loessberg and freshman Katie Gallagher both etched their names in the UM single-season record books. Gallagher, who was named to the ACC's 2007 All-Freshman team, recorded a UM-record 67 aces and a UM freshman record 1,243 assists while Loessberg collected 552 digs on the year. Her 552 digs is a sophomore school-best mark, while sitting second in school history for single-season digs. Several school records were also broken during the 2006 season, including former setter Jill Robinson adding to her career assist mark, pushing her own record to 4,937 assists from 2003-06. Francheska Savage led the 2006 squad with 415 kills in her senior season while fellow senior Ann Gallo finished with a team-best 338 digs. In addition to her record-breaking blocks, Michel also led the team with a .299 hitting percentage while ranking second on the club with 336 kills. In addition to their accomplishments on the court, Michel, Robinson and Michelle Bruin were all named to the All-ACC Academic Team while Bruin was also named to ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-District III Third Team.
Lantagne Welch saw Karla Johnson become Miami's most prolific outside hitter, setting the career kills mark (1,484) while also finishing with 616 kills on the year and putting down 31 kills in a match - both of which were school records at the time. Johnson was named to the All-ACC First Team. Johnson and Francheska Savage, were named AVCA Honorable Mention All-Americans and AVCA All-East Region selections. Savage was also named to the All-ACC Second Team.
In 2005, Lantagne Welch saw many of her players enter into the UM record books. Valeria Tipiana was honored as an All-ACC and AVCA All-East Region First Team selection after becoming the first Miami player to register over 1,000 career kills. For accomplishing such a feat, as well as averaging 4.44 kills per game, Tipiana became Miami's first-ever AVCA Honorable Mention All-American. In 2004, Lantagne Welch added another chapter to her legacy at Miami when she led her most experienced team to date to a 17-9 record. Under her guidance, the Hurricanes finished second in the ACC with an 11-5 mark in only their first season in the league.
During the 2003 season, the Hurricanes posted an overall record of 22-9 with a third-place finish in BIG EAST play behind a conference mark of 9-3 while making their second consecutive BIG EAST Tournament appearance. Entering the 2003 season, junior outside hitter Valeria Tipiana was named the BIG EAST Preseason Player of the Year and, along with junior setter Mallorey James, was selected to the preseason All-BIG EAST First Team. Tipiana would go on to receive All-BIG EAST Second Team honors with teammate Leyre Santaella Sante.
In 2002, the Miami volleyball program's second year of competitive play, Lantagne Welch led the Hurricanes to their first-ever Sweet 16 appearance in the NCAA Tournament after a second-round upset over Wisconsin, a 27-6 record and a final ranking in the top 25. The Hurricanes were competitive against some of the top programs in the nation in 2002, recording wins over five of the six NCAA Tournament-qualifying teams they faced. Lantagne Welch also coached the 2002 BIG EAST Player of the Year Valeria Tipiana as well as the BIG EAST Setter of the Year Mallorey James. Both James and Tipiana, as well as Marcela Gamarra, earned spots on the AVCA All-Northeast Regional Team, while Lantagne Welch was selected as the AVCA Northeast Region Coach of the Year. Among the Hurricanes' other highlights that season was a home victory over a Notre Dame team that hadn't lost to a conference opponent in 43 matches and a 26-match win streak that began in the 2001 season. UM also claimed a dramatic five-game victory over Virginia Tech in the BIG EAST Conference semifinal.
THE FIRST SEASON
Lantagne Welch played at the University of Maryland from 1990-1993. In her role as a four-year starting setter, she guided the Terrapins to their first-ever Atlantic Coast Conference Championship (ACC) title and an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament in 1990. As a top collegiate setter, Lantagne Welch garnered First Team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in 1992 and '93, and earned Second Team All-ACC accolades in 1991. She would also be named AVCA National Player of the Week (Oct. 12, 1993) following an upset victory over Florida State.
Serving as a team captain through her final two seasons, Lantagne Welch finished her outstanding collegiate career as Maryland's all-time assists, digs and matches played leader. Throughout her career in College Park, Lantagne Welch accumulated various academic honors including ACC Honor Roll and district academic All-America as a senior. She graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Marketing. For her accomplishments as a student-athlete, Lantagne Welch was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference 50th Anniversary Volleyball Team along with five other Terrapins from teams of the 1990s.
Lantagne Welch began her coaching career in 1994 as an assistant coach on the Maryland staff before becoming a graduate assistant coach at Ohio University in 1995. At Ohio, she developed training sessions for setters and assisted in the scouting of opponents and in the development of game plans. Lantagne Welch arrived at Miami after serving as an assistant coach at Texas A&M. During her three seasons there, the Aggies finished ranked in the top 20 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament each season (1997-99). In 1999, Texas A&M advanced to the elite eight of the NCAA Tournament, compiling a 28-6 record and a No. 9 final ranking. Under Lantagne Welch's training, Aggie setter Jenna Moscovic was named the 1999 Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year and named to the All-American Freshman Team by Volleyball Magazine. As a sophomore, Moscovic was selected to the 2000 All-Big 12 Team and All-District 5 Team. Lantagne Welch also played a major role in bringing the Aggies back-to-back Top 10 recruiting classes. The 1999 class was ranked in the Top 10 by Student Sports Magazine and the 1998 class was ranked sixth by Volleyball Magazine.
In 2002, she married Wesley Paul Welch of Denver City, Texas, in her hometown of Encinitas, Calif. On Dec. 7, 2004, the couple celebrated the birth of their daughter, Riley Jaye and on April 8, 2007, son Ayden Fletcher was born. Lantagne Welch and her family reside in Miami.