Michigan State Women’s Volleyball Head Coach Cathy George Retires

Cathy George, head coach of the Michigan State Spartans women’s volleyball teams, has announced her retirement. George’s career spanned 35 seasons, including the last 17 at East Lansing.

George took over at MSU in 2005, taking the Spartans to the NCAA Tournament in his second year and moving to the Sweet 16 in his third season at the helm.

George finished his tenure at Michigan State with a 302-233 record and is the winningest coach in MSU volleyball program history.

Prior to her time at Michigan State, George became the first female coach to take a team to the NCAA Division I Final Four with Texas-Arlington in 1989. Overall, throughout her career, George took his teams at the NCAA Tournament 15 different times, including 10 trips with the Spartans. The 10 tournaments for MSU included three Sweet 16 appearances and one Elite Eight appearance.

“My time at Michigan State has been a wonderful experience,” George said via press release. “It’s our home – the place where we raised our family – both at home and in our volleyball family. Our success over the years has always been the by-product of the incredible contributions of so many different people. Coaches, support staff, administrators and the local community have all come together for the best interest of Spartan Volleyball. Most importantly, our amazing student-athletes gave us everything they had, while accomplishing so much on the field, in the classroom, and in the community. They represented Michigan State with class and it was an honor to coach them.

George received his master’s degree in education from Central Michigan in 1987, but played volleyball at Illinois State from 1981 to 1985 and was inducted into the state Athletics Hall of Fame. from Illinois in 2019. She began coaching North Dakota State in 1987 and has spent time with Western Michigan and Texas-Arlington during her 35-year career.

“The decision to retire after 35 seasons as a head coach, including the last 17 at Michigan State, is incredibly emotional,” adds George. “Coaching is a hugely rewarding profession, and seeing student-athletes grow and excel beyond their own expectations is incredible. But coaching is a demanding profession, requiring incredible energy and focus. self-assessed during the offseason, I realized that I had to do what was best for my family and for the program.

Michigan State will begin looking for George’s replacement.

“Although my time as head coach is over, I will forever be a Spartan,” George continued. “And I can walk away smiling because I know the future is bright for Michigan State volleyball. I believe in the return of the team and I believe in rookies. As I look to the future, Alan Haller is an athletic director who understands what it will take for Spartan Volleyball to succeed at the national level. I wish I had the energy to keep going because I know great things are on the horizon under his leadership. The next coach will have all the support he needs to make Spartan Volleyball a national power.

Michigan State by no means had a stellar last season under George, as MSU finished 11-18 in 2021, and went only 4-16 in the Big Ten with wins over Iowa, Purdue and Rutgers twice.

“Today is a day to celebrate Cathy George and all that she has accomplished in her career,” said Alan Haller, Michigan State vice president and athletic director. “We are so grateful for all that she has given not only to Michigan State Athletics, but to volleyball and women’s sports in general. She was a trailblazer as the first woman to coach in the Final Four and continued to be an example to the head coaches of the Big Ten and nationally throughout her career She, along with her husband Jerry and sons TJ and Conner, have been great members of our Spartan family , and we all wish him a lot of happiness in retirement.

Cathy’s son, Conner George, played for Tom Izzo and the Michigan State basketball team from 2015 to 2020.