Wood will become administrator, resigns as volleyball coach
For the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs Athletic Department, the decision Jessica Wood announced Thursday was a classic "good news, bad news" scenario.
The good news is that Wood, 27, will be joining the Mountain Lions' administrative team. The bad news, of course, is that Wood will be relinquishing her duties as head volleyball coach.
"My career goal has always been to be in athletic administration," said Wood. "I couldn't have picked a better place to pursue that goal. UCCS is a wonderful place."
Wood will be assuming duties as the athletic department's assistant athletic director for compliance. She will also retain her title as senior woman administrator. In addition, she will be assuming event management and financial aid duties. The duties became available after athletic director Stephen Kirkham reorganized administrative responsibilities as the result of assistant athletic director for internal affairs A.J. Joseph's resignation.
Wood accumulated a 78-68 record as the head coach of the Mountain Lions. She is one of only two coaches - softball coach Scott Peterson is the other - to have a winning record in a sport that records team wins and losses.
In five seasons as the volleyball coach at UCCS, Wood led the Mountain Lions to plenty of firsts. Under Wood, UCCS beat powerhouses Regis, Nebraska-Kearney and Metro State for the first time (and several times subsequently). The Mountain Lions beat their first nationally-ranked opponent when they knocked off Western Washington in an early season tournament in 2007. The same year, the team added to the growing list by winning the first and second playoff games ever by a UCCS squad.
But the most impressive first came after the 2007 RMAC tournament when the Mountain Lions qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time.
Ironically, Wood never intended to be a college volleyball coach. She had just finished her playing eligibility at Division I Murray State when then-UCCS volleyball coach Shawn Garus resigned in 2002. Stephanie Shalosky, who is currently an assistant coach for the Mountain Lions but was then just finishing her own playing career at UCCS, asked Wood to apply for the job.
Wood did and, while not picked, was named assistant coach under Tara Miller. Wood held that position for two seasons before being elevated to the head coaching spot.
"It happened by accident, but I fell in love with it," said Wood of her coaching career. "I'm going to miss that one-on-one interaction with the student-athletes and the privilege of watching them grow both as athletes and as people.
"I still get to see that, but now from just a little more distance."
The search for Wood's replacement has already begun.
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