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- Athletic director of Notre Dame University
- American volleyball player
The following release is courtesy of Notre Dame Athletics:
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Salima Rockwell (Davidson), a four-time national champion coach and three-time All-American, has been named the seventh head coach in Notre Dame volleyball history, University vice president and James E. Rohr Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick announced today.
“We’re excited to have Salima join the Notre Dame family,” said University vice president and James E. Rohr Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick. “Salima has succeeded at every level – as a student-athlete, professional athlete, collegiate coach and broadcaster – and we are excited to see what her team accomplishes. Her drive to be great and appreciation for the unique attributes of Notre Dame set Salima apart during our search. We can’t wait to have her and her family join us on campus”
“I am thrilled for this opportunity to lead the Irish and I’d like to thank (University President) Fr. Jenkins, Jack (Swarbrick) and (Senior Deputy Athletics Director) Missy (Conboy) for all of their work during this process,” said Rockwell. “From the first phone call to the last moments on campus this week, it is clear that Notre Dame is committed to their volleyball program, and to the investment of their student-athletes as a whole. I am beyond excited to join such a forward-thinking University with great people whose vision aligns perfectly with my own.”
“Notre Dame Volleyball is a program that is right on the edge of greatness, and it is my mission to provide the student-athletes with the high-level and well-rounded opportunities they would expect when they chose Notre Dame,” Rockwell continued. “Our student-athletes will graduate with an incredible college experience, an education from one of the top schools in the World and will achieve a high-level of improvement and success on the court. Notre Dame Volleyball has only scratched the surface of what it can be and I cannot wait to get started with the team to build our legacy.”
Rockwell spent nine years coaching at her alma mater, Penn State University, holding titles of associate head coach, assistant coach and director of operations over two different stints in Happy Valley (2006-2009 and 2015-17). Rockwell’s primary duties included working with the setters and the offense, recruiting and match preparation.
As a student-athlete, Rockwell was a three-time All-American setter for the Nittany Lions from 1991-94. She was named to the NCAA Championship All-Tournament team in 1993, when she helped lead Penn State to a NCAA Championship runner-up finish, and then again in 1994, after Penn State made a second consecutive appearance in the semifinals of the NCAA Championship.
Rockwell also earned All-Big Ten accolades four times, including three First Team selections. She helped the Nittany Lions capture Big Ten championships in 1992 and 1993.
Rockwell’s name is peppered throughout the legendary Penn State record books – ranking sixth all-time on the program’s career assists list (5,455) and eighth on the career digs chart (1,278). She is an inductee into the Pennsylvania Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame.
Rockwell was also a member of the U.S. National Team from 1995-99. She captained the team in 1997 and 1998, serving as the starting setter and earning the Coaches Award, MVP and the Team Award in each of those seasons.
Between her two coaching tours at Penn State, Rockwell spent five seasons (2009-2013) at the University of Texas. While in Austin, she helped lead the Longhorns to the 2012 National Championship title, its first in almost 25 years.
Before returning to Penn State for the first time, Rockwell spent the 2005 season as an assistant coach at Oregon State under legendary head coach Terry Liskevych.
A native of Pittsburgh, Rockwell began her coaching career as an assistant at the University of Pittsburgh from 2001-03, where she worked primarily with the Panthers setters and was also the lead recruiter.
Rockwell graduated from Penn State University in 1994 with a Bachelor of the Arts in Speech Communications. She is married to Jeff Rockwell and the couple has two sons, Logan and Rylan. For the past three years, Rockwell has served as a color commentator for ESPN, Fox Sports, Big Ten Network and CBS Sports.
Next: What They’re Saying…
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“Salima is a great coach! She knows the game, has a ton of experience, and brings a strong history of success to the Notre Dame program. She is talented, driven, and genuinely cares about the people she works with.”
2008 & 2012 US Olympic Team Head Coach
Minnesota Women’s Volleyball Head Coach
“Salima is a tremendous hire for Notre Dame. She brings an understanding of what it takes to win at the highest level. In addition, Salima is a proven recruiter that understands how to attract the highest level athletes to any of the programs she has coached. Most importantly, she is a great person that will bring an infectious energy to the program and offer a tremendous student-athlete experience to Notre Dame.”
Stanford University Women’s Volleyball Head Coach