Volleyball Legend Kathy DeBoer Joins as Chairwoman of LOVB Foundation

LOVBTuesday, Mar 19, 2024


As a leading voice in the sport, the AVCA Hall of Fame member will lead the LOVB Foundation’s efforts to increase access to volleyball across the United States

 League One Volleyball (LOVB) – the largest brand in youth volleyball with its professional volleyball league launching in the U.S. later this year – today announced that famed coach, long-time volleyball advocate, and AVCA Hall of Fame Member Kathy DeBoer has joined the LOVB Foundation board as its chairwoman. With a mission to increase access to volleyball for youth across the United States, DeBoer will guide the directional strategy and efforts of the LOVB Foundation as it looks to accelerate its impact across the United States. 

“In seeking a leader for the LOVB Foundation, we sought after a leader with clear passion and demonstrated success in taking the sport of volleyball to new heights, and that is Kathy in a nutshell,” said Katlyn Gao, LOVB CEO and Co-Founder. “So much of the explosive growth volleyball is experiencing can be directly attributed to Kathy’s tireless advocacy, so we couldn’t be more excited to have such a trailblazer charting the path for our foundation. First as an advisor to LOVB for the past year, and now as chair of our Foundation board, Kathy has been a tremendous partner, and we believe the LOVB Foundation will have an outsized impact under her leadership.”

Embarking on her career at the beginning of Title X, DeBoer always sought to empower her teams from the onset. She began her athletic career as a volleyball and basketball player at Michigan State, and then transitioned into coaching at Ferris State (from 1980-83), followed by Kentucky (from 1984-92). While head volleyball coach of the Wildcats, she led the team to the Sweet Sixteen four times and was named the AVCA Division I National Coach of the Year. Through this experience, DeBoer learned firsthand the importance and impact that dedicated coaching can have on players, both on and off the court. She also learned the importance of creating operational prowess in organizations, having been a part of the Wildcats athletics administration for nine years. She was named the executive director of the AVCA in 2006, a position that she held for seventeen years until retirement. 

Under Kathy’s tenure as executive director of the AVCA , volleyball grew to become the top team sport for girls in U.S. high schools, boys participation grew to its highest number on record, beach volleyball became an NCAA championship sport, and colleges added 160 men’s teams. In addition, she also introduced incredibly impactful programs like Diversity, Coaches for Coaches, Demonstrator Scholarship Funds and the Thirty Under 30 Awards program, which annually supports over 100 professional development opportunities for aspiring volleyball coaches. 

“Volleyball, at its best, is a tool for empowerment, but, despite exponential growth in participation in the last 50 years, access to coaching and training is still an issue,”  said Kathy DeBoer. “We know from history that if given a choice many more athletes will choose volleyball. The LOVB Foundation is here to give them that choice by providing access through need-based financial aid.”  

After her retirement, DeBoer first joined LOVB as an advisor. Attracted by the distinctive business model and LOVB’s visionary leadership, she decided to take a leadership role at the LOVB Foundation. With a deep understanding of what makes volleyball unique and how bringing new fans into the sports ecosystem is critical for women's professional leagues to succeed long-term, DeBoer is a staunch supporter of LOVB’s mission and approach. She also deeply believes it provides the Foundation with a great opportunity to expand its reach through new partners. Currently, through LOVB’s pilot program with Tonal, Tonal will make a donation to the LOVB Foundation with every LOVB member’s purchase of a machine.

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