Coaching Excellence Award - Kevin Aoki
Kevin Aoki recently completed his 20th season at the helm of the Pacific Lutheran volleyball team, and during that time he has established himself as the greatest coach in program history and one of the best in NCAA Div. III.
A 1984 PLU alum, Aoki took over the volleyball program at his alma mater prior to the 1996 season. At that point the team had never won a conference championship and had reached 20 wins only four times in an era that regularly featured 30 to 40 games per season. In only his fourth season, Aoki changed that history by guiding his team to a 13-3 conference record and the program’s first Northwest Conference championship.
That season also marked the first of nine 20-win seasons out of his first 20 campaigns with the team. His squad posted the best winning percentage in team history to that point with a 20-6 record (.769), a mark his teams have matched or surpassed five times since.
While the 1999 squad set the foundation, the 2003 team began a run of 12 top-two conference finishes in the past 13 years. The 2004 team finished 15-1 in conference play to claim the program’s second NWC title, and two years later the Lutes began a four-year run that featured an 83-25 overall record, a 60-4 conference mark and four consecutive titles.
Aoki’s teams have won nine total NWC titles, including outright championships in 1999, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2013 and shared crowns in 2006 and 2014. He has been named NWC Coach of the Year eight times while receiving AVCA West Region Coach of the Year recognition in 1999, 2004 and 2007.
Aoki owns a career record of 360-161 through his first 20 years, an average of 18 wins per season and a winning percentage of .691. In Northwest Conference play, he owns a .769 winning percentage on a 246-74 record. His teams have earned spots in the NCAA Div. III Regional Tournament 10 times, building on a coaching resume that includes nine state tournament appearances in 12 years coaching at Bethel High School before coming to PLU.