Blue White Illustrated

January 2022

Penn State Sports Magazine

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Page 46 of 67

J A N U A R Y 2 0 2 2 47 W W W . B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M W hen the ball ricocheted off a Pitt block and landed at the feet of Penn State senior setter Gabby Blossom in the fourth set of the teams' second-round matchup in the NCAA Women's Volleyball Tournament, it ap- peared to be merely the end of another season. It turned out to be the end of an era. The Panthers had bested PSU in kills, assists, service aces, blocks and hitting percentage, but each of the four sets had been close, and the only thing that longtime Nittany Lions coach Russ Rose could do in the postgame presser was lament the missed chances he saw — a recurring theme during the 2021 season. Said Rose, "We had opportunities throughout the year, as well as in all four of the games today." If anything else was on his mind, he kept those thoughts to himself that night at Pitt's Petersen Events Center. But while the match might have been all too typical of the Nittany Lions' up- and-down season, it was extraordinary in one respect: It was the last of Rose's career as Penn State's head coach. On Dec. 23, Rose announced that he was retiring, bringing an end to one of the great collegiate coaching careers in any sport. "It has been my pleasure to serve as the head coach of the Penn State wom- en's volleyball program over the last 43 seasons," he said in the statement an- nouncing his decision. "My time here has provided my family and me many memories and relationships that we will carry with us." Penn State has said it will conduct a national search for Rose's successor. Whether the university will prioritize an internal candidate — assistant coach Katie Schumacher-Cawley, a former PSU All-American, is serving as interim coach — or look to make an external hire is an open question. One certainty, though, is that whoever takes the job will have some big shoes to fill. In his 43 seasons with the Lions, Rose compiled a staggering list of accom- plishments: 1,330 victories, seven na- tional championships, 17 Big Ten titles and another eight Atlantic 10 crowns. Fueling that incredible run were 112 All- Americans, 14 Big Ten players of the year and eight future Olympians. Rose, who turned 68 in November, never suffered a losing season at Penn State. He never lost a single match in eight years of A-10 membership, and while the competition got a lot better when the Lions began Big Ten play in 1991, his teams ruled that league, too, using the competitive spark that their new conference affiliation provided as a springboard to even greater success in the NCAA Tournament. It was at NCAAs where his teams shined the brightest. Rose took the Nit- OLYMPIC SPORTS Rose compiled a 1,330-229 record and won seven national championships in his 43 seasons. He retires as the winningest coach in NCAA Division I women's volleyball history. PHOTO COURTESY PENN STATE ATHLETICS Farewell To A Legend Penn State icon Russ Rose brings an end to his record-setting career as leader of the women's volleyball program M AT T H E R B | M A T T @ B L U E W H I T E O N L I N E . C O M

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