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Awards and Honors
2010 Iowa State University Impact Award…2009 Asics/Volleyball Magazine National Coach of the Year…2009 Big 12 Coach of the Year…2009 AVCA Central Region Coach of the Year
Seven-straight NCAA Tournament, including NCAA Regional Final appearances in 2008 and 2011. One of only seven coaches to take her team to the NCAA Regional Semifinals in five of the last six season. NCAA era school-record 27 wins in 2009. School-record 17 Big 12 wins in 2009. Top-20 in the nation in attendance in each of the last six years.
Seventeen AVCA All-America honors. Twenty AVCA All-Central Region selections. Twenty-one All-Big 12 performances. Forty-three Big 12 weekly awards. Forty Academic All-Big 12 student-athletes.
The achievements listed above are just the beginning of what Christy Johnson Lynch has accomplished in her eight seasons as the head coach of the Iowa State Cyclone volleyball team.
When it comes to turnarounds in NCAA Division I women's volleyball, Johnson Lynch, the 2009 Big 12 Coach of the Year, has orchestrated the ultimate reversal at Iowa State.
When Johnson-Lynch arrived in Ames, Iowa State was in the midst of nine-straight losing seasons and a 13-167 stretch in Big 12 Conference play. From 1996-2004, the Cyclones posted four conference wins only once, finishing 11th in the league in six-consecutive years.
Since Johnson-Lynch’s arrival in 200, the Cyclones have a 172-81 (.680) record under Johnson-Lynch, the winningest volleyball coach in Iowa State history.
After narrowly missing the NCAA tournament during Johnson-Lynch inaugural season in 2005, the Cyclones have earned their spot in the postseason every year since, culminating in a program-best four-seed in 2011. Johnson-Lynch and the Cyclones have advanced to the NCAA Regional Semifinal in five of the last six seasons, making it to the regional final match twice during that span.
Six of Johnson-Lynch’s teams have posted 20 or more wins, with the 2009 and 2011 Cyclones collecting at least 25 wins apiece. Those clubs, along with the 2012 squad finished second in the Big 12.
The 2012 Cyclones made their mark as the only team in program history to defeat seven top-25 teams and became the first to dethrone a top-ranked opponent, downing No. 1 Nebraska at Hilton Coliseum on Sept. 15, 2012. As they did in 2009, the Cyclones finished the season with wins over two top-5 programs with wins over the Huskers and No. 3 Texas.
After posting just five upset victories in the 31 years prior to Johnson-Lynch’s tenure, Iowa State has defeated 29 ranked teams in the last eight seasons. The 2009 team joined national champion Penn State as the only team to defeat Texas during that season.
With success comes national notoriety and there has been no shortage of the lime light for Iowa State with Johnson-Lynch at the helm. The Cyclones earned their first-ever national ranking in 2007 and have been ranked ever since the end of the 2008 season. The 2009 squad finished the season with a program-best sixth place finish, followed closely by the 2011 team’s eight place finish.
As a result of their success, the Cyclones have garnered plenty of media attention as well, with 11 matches televised during the 2011 regular season campaign. Three matches, two at Hilton Coliseum, were broadcast by ESPNU.
Individually, Iowa players have garnered all-America honors 17 times under Johnson-Lynch. Erin Boeve was the school's first all-American in 2006, and libero Ashley Mass became the Cyclones’ first-ever first team all-American in 2009. Victoria Henson (2010) and Alison Landwehr (2011) followed in Mass’ footsteps, earning first team honors.
Iowa State players have received all-conference recognition from the Big 12 on 26 occasions, including winning the league’s top libero award from 2008-2012 and the best defensive player honor in 2006. Mass was the Big 12’s best libero from 2008-10 and Kristen Hahn earned the award in both 2011 and 2012. Erin Boeve was the league’s top defender in 2006.
In 2012, Iowa State garnered its first Big 12 Freshman of the Year honor with right side Mackenzie Bigbee, who also earned distinction as the first Cyclone to be named AVCA All-Region Freshman of the Year. Alison Landwehr and Jamie Straube took individual conference nods as the inaugural setter of the year and scholar-athlete of the year, respectively.
In the classroom, the Cyclones have flourished under Johnson-Lynch’s influence. The Cyclones have put 28 student-athletes on Academic All-Big 12 teams including a program-record 10 honorees in 2011 when eight players made the academic first team. Iowa State is the only Big 12 school to ever put 10 student-athletes on academic all-conference teams in a single year.
"Hilton Magic" is no longer reserved for just basketball at Iowa State as Johnson-Lynch has helped transform Hilton Coliseum into one of the more difficult venues in which opposing teams could play. The Cyclones went 14-1 at home in 2012, drawing an average crowd of 2,532 to home matches, the 11th-highest attendance in the country. Three matches (Texas, Nebraska and Texas Tech) also recorded top-10 attendance numbers in the Iowa State record books.
In 2008, ISU saw one of the most memorable events in the school's athletics history take place when a state of Iowa record 10,203 fans poured into Hilton Coliseum to see the eighth-ranked Cyclones face 10th-ranked Nebraska. It marked the fifth-largest crowd in the country in 2009.
With the rapid improvement has come recruiting success. Iowa State's 2012 recruiting class was ranked sixth in the country and each class since 2008 has ranked in the top 25.
Before Iowa State
When Johnson-Lynch was tabbed to become Iowa State's 10th head volleyball coach on Dec. 17, 2004, the Cyclones landed one of the nation's brightest assistant coaches. Endowed with an enthusiastic approach, a determination to build a strong winning program and one of the most impressive résumés of any assistant coach in the country, Johnson-Lynch took over in Ames after an illustrious playing and coaching career at Nebraska and Wisconsin.
Johnson-Lynch's playing and coaching career has brought her in touch with some of the game's greatest coaches, including Terry Pettit, her coach while playing at Nebraska, current Nebraska head coach John Cook and Wisconsin head coach Pete Waite. She also has international coaching and playing experience.
Johnson-Lynch coached in the 2000 NCAA Division I Championship match and has been on the sideline in four regional finals (one at ISU; three at Wisconsin).
Johnson-Lynch's experience in the NCAA Tournament goes back to her collegiate playing career at Nebraska. She earned All-America honors for the Huskers in 1994 and 1995. Johnson-Lynch was the starting setter on the 1995 Nebraska team that won the school's first NCAA championship. The Huskers made four NCAA tournament appearances and won three Big Eight titles during Johnson-Lynch's collegiate career.
In her junior and senior campaigns in Lincoln, Johnson-Lynch led Nebraska to a 63-2 mark, the second-best winning percentage of any setter in Nebraska history. The Huskers were a perfect 24-0 in Big Eight play during that span and captured two Big Eight crowns.
Johnson-Lynch was also named to the 1995 NCAA Championship all-tournament team, the 1994 and 1995 NCAA Regional all-tournament team and the 1994 and 1995 Big Eight Conference all-tournament teams. In addition to her athletic honors, Johnson-Lynch was a 1995 second-team academic All-American and a three-time All-Big Eight academic honoree.
Johnson-Lynch has international experience as a member of the 1989 U.S. Junior National team and as a member of the 1993 U.S. National "B" Team. She played with the Nebraska Tornadoes of the National Volleyball Association for two seasons, leading the Tornadoes to the league championship in 1998.
A 1996 graduate of Nebraska with a bachelor's degree in education, Johnson-Lynch spent one year coaching at Millard North High School in her hometown of Omaha, Neb. She also served as a coach in the River City Juniors Volleyball Club program for two years.