Yellow Jacket Head Coach Vicki Brault Wins Her 200th Match at BW and
Remains Focused on Winning the OAC Title
Written By: Matt Florjancik '07
BEREA, OHIO -- The Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jacket volleyball team has had success in recent years. The Yellow Jackets have won two Ohio Athletic Conference regular season titles, an OAC Tournament crown and advanced to the NCAA Division III National Tournament in 2000. All of these honors have come under the leadership of head coach Vicki Brault.
It has been a great run for Brault. Last Saturday, Brault reached another important Yellow jacket milestone as she won her 200th win at the College when her Yellow Jackets defeated Marietta College, 3-0, in the Ursprung Gymnasium.
"Vicki has built our volleyball program into one of the best in the Ohio Athletic Conference and region," said BW Athletic Director Steve Bankson, who oversees Brault and the volleyball program. "She is a hard-worker and very detail-oriented.
"We are pleased with her winning her 200th match at BW," said Bankson. "That is a great accomplishment by a good person. We are fortunate to have Vicki Brault at Baldwin Wallace University."
With the win versus Marietta, Braultís Yellow Jackets improved to 17-8 overall and 5-1 in the OAC with three more OAC regular season matches to go. Every year, Braultís team is one of the best in the OAC and in the NCAA Division III Great Lakes Region.
"Vicki has been successful because she teaches the game of volleyball very well and is an outstanding tactician," said BW Sports Information Director Kevin Ruple. "Every year, she has a solid team while playing some of the toughest competition in the region as well as nationally in Division III."
Coach Brault came to BW after growing up and coaching in two different states.
"I grew up in Michigan, but before I came to BW, I was out in California for 15 years," said Brault, now 200-123 at BW prior to travelling to Ada to play seventh-ranked Ohio Northern University on Tuesday (Oct. 19). "I coached high school for 11 years and then coached at Division III Claremont McKenna-Mudd Scripps College for four years."
When Brault accepted the job at BW, she had built Mudd-Scripps into a solid team in the Southern California Intercolleiate Athletic Conference and had a 70-50 mark in those four seasons. Her teams won two SCIAC titles.
"Coming to BW was a good move for me," said Brault. "It got me closer to home (in Michigan) and BW has always had an outstanding program.
"When I got here, Marcie French was still here serving as the athletic director," said Brault. "Marcie was the former volleyball coach, an outstanding educator and teacher as well as a pioneer in womenís athletics. She supported me very well, and it made the transition more smooth."
Brault is also quick to point out that her current support is strong.
"Coach Bankson gives us all of the tools we need to keep this program successful," said Brault, who is 270-173 in her 14-year collegiate career. "Our program receives outstanding support all the way from the presidentís office all the way down to our managers, trainers and support staff. It gives me the chance to coach and recruit so we can keep the program one of the best in the OAC and in Division III."
A part of Braultís success is due to the types of players she brings into the program. When scouting potential BW players, Brault has a mental checklist of what she wants in a player.
"The first thing that I look for in a player is whether she will be a good fit at BW and will BW be a good fit for her," said Brault. "We are looking for student-athletes who are coachable, fun, have a good attitude and are extremely competitive."
The current BW players realize that Brault works hard to improve herself as a coach, as well as the program.
"Coach Brault spends a lot of time in the offseason going to seminars and different volleyball conventions," said senior defensive specialist Kari Kuhn of Amherst and Marion Steele High School. "I also think she spends a lot of time with the captains off the court, preparing them for the season thatís coming up."
"Coach Brault cares for the players on and off the court," stated sophomore libero Kim Stoll of Norwalk and St. Paul High School. "She emphasizes the importance of academics, meeting new people and joining extra-curricular activities."
Brault feels that by playing an extremely competitive nonleague schedule is important.
"We play one of the best schedules in Division III," said Brault. "By playing the best teams possible as well as mixing in some local rivalry games, we are preparing our team for the rugged OAC schedule. Our league is very competitive, so by playing a strong league schedule, it prepares us for the OAC."
Last season, BW finished with an 18-16 overall record and finished 8-1 in the OAC to tie for the regular season title. Her team then went on to place second in the OAC Tournament and hosted its first-ever OAC. With the obstacles that faced BW, Brault was extremely happy with the way the Yellow Jackets ended the season.
"I was very pleased with the way we played last season," said Brault. "We played the best schedule in the history of the program and had a winning record despite the fact that we had several major injuries. I think it was a big accomplishment.
"In addition, we tied for the OAC regular season title and had the opportunity to host the first OAC Final Four in school history," said Brault. "That was a great atmosphere and experience for our players and the College."
Brault realizes that she could not succeed alone and is very complementary of her coaching staff.
"Iíve been really blessed and fortunate with great athletes and great assistant coaches," Brault stated. "Theyíre a part of that success.
"Both Bev Vaughn and Kevin Schaffer are outstanding people and assistant coaches," said Brault. "They are very knowledgeable about the game of volleyball and have an outstanding rapport with our student-athletes. I also need to mention Dave Vujovic, who was my assistant for a number of years and who left the program prior to this year. Losing Dave was tough, but Kevin has also added a great deal to our team. Bev has been a stabalizing factor for many years, and I appreciate both her friendship and ability."
Along with the quality players and coaches in the program, others think Brault is successful for another reason.
"Coach Brault is a good coach and is very intense on the court," said senior All-OAC middle hitter Laura Leach of Norwalk, Ohio. "Off the court, she also works very hard and building team unity.
"For instance, this year, Coach Brault has worked very well with the freshmen to get them integrated into our program and then she has gotten everyone to come together as a team," said Leach. "Sheís also very good at implementing new things from the seminars."
"She always has everybodyís best interests in mind and is always there for us," stated junior rightside hitter Emily Albanese of Mentor.
This season, Brault has led the Yellow Jackets to their current 17-8 overall and 5-1 OAC record and BW stands all alone in second place prior to playing ONU.
Brault, who deflected the praise of her 200th win onto her former players and coaches, continues to stay very focused.
"I want our BW program to be a top contender for the OAC title every year," said Brault. " We have been at that level for the last four years. We also want to get back to being one of the top teams in the nation. We are a young team and have a lot of talent and the future looks very bright."
Following its match in Ada on Tuesday, Braultís Yellow Jackets will play its final two OAC matches in tghe "friendly confines" of the Ursprung Gymnasium as they face Muskingum College this Saturday (Oct. 23) at 1:00 p.m. and end the OAC regular season by hosting Heidelberg next Tuesday (Oct. 26).
"We want to end the regular season on a strong note," said a determined Brault. "We have the talent and ability to do it. Now, we just have to go out and do it."
BW ends its regular season on October 29-30 when it travels to Whitewater, Wisconsin to participate in the annual prestigious University of Wisconsin at Whitewater Tournament. At UW-Whitewater, BW will play three ranked teams in pool play. The 2004 OAC Tournament begins on Tuesday, November 2. The OAC Final Four is on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 5-6. The winner of the OAC Tournament receives an automatic berth in this yearís NCAA Division III National Tournament.
FOR MORE BW SPORTS INFORMATION, please contact Sports Information Director Kevin Ruple by telephone at 440-826-2327, by FAX machine at 440-826-2329 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
If youíd like to congratulate Vicki Brault on her 200th win at BW, you can call her at 440-826-3254, FAX her at 440-826-2192 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.