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Feb. 13, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. - Penn State women's volleyball head coach Russ Rose has announced the hiring of former Texas associate head coach Salima Rockwell. Widely regarded as one of the nation's top assistant coaches, Rockwell returns to Penn State as an associate head coach for the Nittany Lions.
"We're very happy with Salima and her family's decision to return to Penn State. We'd like to welcome Salima, her husband Jeff and their two children to the Penn State community. I also want to thank our SWA, Charmelle Green and our athletic director, Dr. Dave Joyner for their work in making this opportunity possible," Rose said.
Rockwell spent the last five seasons as an associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Texas. While with the Longhorns, Rockwell helped guide Texas to three NCAA national semifinal appearances, including a national championship in 2012. She also helped sign the No. 2 recruiting class in 2012, which included three top-10 recruits. Most recently, Rockwell was the recipient of the 2013 AVCA National Assistant Coach of the Year Award.
"Salima has a great history at Penn State as a three-time All-American and team captain. Between Texas and Penn State, she's been on the bench for five final fours and three national championships," Rose said.
During her collegiate career at Penn State, Rockwell (Davidson) was a three-time All-American under coach Rose from 1991-1994, picking up four All-Big Ten honors, including three first team selections. Following her time in the Blue and White, she played with the United States National team from 1995-99, serving as team captain in 1997 and 1998.
After leaving the court as a player, Rockwell accepted an assistant coaching position at the University of Pittsburgh, where she began to emerge as one of the nation's top recruiters, signing four of five top-ranked recruits in 2002.
"Salima has always been a natural leader who brings a set of intangibles to
the program. She relates especially well with young people, and her impact is very large as a mentor and coach. She's given a great deal of her life to volleyball and I think volleyball has really benefited from her involvement," Rose said.
In 2006, Rockwell returned to Rec Hall as the Nittany Lions' director of volleyball operations after spending a season at Oregon State, under the direction of head coach Terry Liskevych. From 2007-08, she served as an assistant coach, helping guide PSU to a pair of back-to-back national championships. Rockwell also mentored multi-year All-American, Alisha Glass, who directed the Nittany Lion offenses to some of the nation's highest hitting percentages, including a .350 clip in 2007 and a .390 efficiency in 2008.
"I look forward to the future with Salima in a leadership role at Penn State and I know that the players are excited to work with a Penn Stater who is truly passionate about the program," Rose said.