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Mary Wise

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Mary Wise
Current position
TitleHead coach
Record945–132 (.877)
Biographical details
Born (1959-08-08) August 8, 1959 (age 64)
Evanston, Illinois
Playing career
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
1981–1984Iowa State
1986–1990Kentucky (assistant)
Head coaching record
Accomplishments and honors
25x SEC Regular season (1991-2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2022)

8x NCAA Final Four (1992, 1993, 1996-1998, 2002, 2003, 2017)
13x SEC Coach of the Year (1991-1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999-2002, 2007, 2014, 2017)

3x AVCA National Coach of the Year (1992, 1996, 2017)

Mary Wise (born August 8, 1959), née Mary Fischl, is an American college volleyball coach, former player and author. Wise is the current head coach of the Florida Gators women's volleyball team of the University of Florida. In Wise's career at Florida, her Gators teams have won nineteen Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular season championships, and twelve SEC tournament titles. The Gators have also made eight Final Four appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including an appearance in the 2003 and 2017 NCAA Championship finals. With 1,026 career coaching wins through 2022, Mary Wise has the most all-time Division One women's volleyball wins among female head coaches.

Early years[edit]

Wise was born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1959.[1] Her father Richard Fischl was a dentist, and her mother Lila managed his dental practice.[1] Wise was one of six children.[1]

College career[edit]

Wise attended Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, where she played for the Purdue Boilermakers volleyball team from 1977 to 1980. She was a standout setter, and was twice named to the All-Midwest Regional team, while the Boilermakers won two Big Ten Conference championships in 1979 and 1980. A dean's list student, she graduated from Purdue in 1981 with a bachelor's degree in physical education.[2]

Coaching career[edit]

Iowa State[edit]

Wise was 21 years old when she became the head coach of the Iowa State Cyclones volleyball team at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa in 1981; she was also the youngest Division I coach in the history of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). In four seasons as the Cyclones' head coach, she compiled a win–loss record of 81–63.[3]


Wise had been out of coaching for a year and living in Kentucky in 1986, when she was offered an assistant coaching position on the Kentucky Wildcats volleyball program staff at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Wise rose from graduate assistant in 1986 to associate head coach in 1990. During those five seasons, the Wildcats won the SEC championship twice and advanced to the NCAA regional final once.


Wise was hired as the head coach of the Florida Gators volleyball team at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida in 1991. In the twenty seasons since then, her Gators teams have won nineteen SEC regular season championships. She is one of only two coaches in conference history in any sport, men's or women's, to win as many as nineteen conference titles.[citation needed] From 1994 to 2004, the Gators did not lose a regular season SEC match—a feat unmatched by any school, ever.[citation needed]

In 2003, Wise's Florida team won 105 straight games during the course of the season, eclipsing the previous NCAA record by 36 games.[4] This record has since been broken by Penn State who won 111 consecutive games. Since 1991, Florida has amassed 571 victories in matches—more than any other school in the nation.[5]

On the forefront of increasing awareness and exposure for volleyball, Wise has ushered in a philosophy of innovation when it comes to rules changes and volleyball youth opportunities.[6]

Her expertise has led to numerous appointments on international coaching staffs. In the summer of 2004 Wise took her own team on a twelve-day, three-nation tour of Western Europe as the Gators faced several national and junior national teams. In May 2006, Wise guided the USA Volleyball A2 Team at the U.S. Open Championships as the volleyball community became one of the first groups to compete in a large-scale event in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina.

Wise's Gators have also shown a commitment to playing an active role in community leadership and involvement. An annual tradition, each year members of the Gators volleyball team visit children at nearby Shands Hospital during the Thanksgiving holiday, while players also participate in the Goodwill Gators program. In 2003, Wise helped raise $7,500 for the Children's Miracle Network after more than 4,000 Gator fans packed the O'Connell Center for a match against South Carolina.[4]

Wise picked up the number one recruiting class for the class of 2008, as she signed the Gatorade National Player of the Year and top recruit, Kelly Murphy, as well as five other recruits ranked in the top 50.[7]

Achievements and records[edit]

Wise became the first ever coach to win 100 straight games and was the first female coach to coach in the NCAA national championship final, as well as being the first female coach to coach in more than one NCAA Final Four. She became the first female coach in NCAA Division I history to win 15 conference titles in the first 15 seasons at one school, thus becoming the only coach to ever win 130 consecutive regular season conference matches. She is the first coach to ever win 90 percent of matches in the first 16 seasons at one school and she reached the 500 win plateau faster than any other Division I female coach.[8]

Awards and accolades[edit]

  • Thirteen-time winner of the SEC Coach of the Year Award (1991–1993, 1995–1996, 1998–2002, co-winner in 2007, and 2014, co-winner in 2017[9])
  • Two-time winner of American Volleyball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year (1992, 1996, 2017)
  • American Volleyball Coaches Association All-Time Great Coach (2006)
  • Past president of American Volleyball Coaches Association


Wise lives in Gainesville, Florida with her husband, Mark Wise, and their two children, Matt and Mitchell.[2]

Coaching Record[10][11][edit]

Statistics overview
Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Iowa State (Big 12 Conference) (1981–1984)
1981 Iowa State 25–22
1982 Iowa State 17–19
1983 Iowa State 18–13
1984 Iowa State 21–9
Iowa State: 81–63 (.466)
Florida Gators (Southeastern Conference) (1991–Present)
1991 Florida 35–5 15–3 T-1st NCAA Regional final
1992 Florida 34–2 17–0 1st NCAA National semifinal
1993 Florida 33–4 18–0 1st NCAA National semifinal
1994 Florida 28–6 16–1 1st NCAA regional semifinal
1995 Florida 35–2 17–0 1st NCAA Regional final
1996 Florida 37–2 17–0 1st NCAA National semifinal
1997 Florida 34–4 16–1 1st NCAA National semifinal
1998 Florida 35–3 14–0 1st NCAA National semifinal
1999 Florida 33–3 14–0 1st NCAA Regional final
2000 Florida 29–5 14–0 1st NCAA regional semifinal
2001 Florida 28–2 13–0 1st NCAA Regional final
2002 Florida 34–3 16–0 1st NCAA National semifinal
2003 Florida 36–2 16–0 1st NCAA Runner Up
2004 Florida 28–5 15–1 T-1st NCAA second round
2005 Florida 32–3 15–1 1st NCAA Regional final
2006 Florida 30–3 19–1 1st NCAA regional semifinal
2007 Florida 29–3 19–1 1st NCAA regional semifinal
2008 Florida 27–4 18–2 1st NCAA regional semifinal
2009 Florida 30–3 16–4 2nd NCAA regional semifinal
2010 Florida 29–2 20–0 1st NCAA regional semifinal
2011 Florida 27–6 17–3 2nd NCAA Regional final
2012 Florida 27–5 19–1 1st NCAA regional semifinal
2013 Florida 28–4 16–2 2nd NCAA second round
2014 Florida 28–4 18–0 1st NCAA Regional final
2015 Florida 25–7 13–5 4th NCAA Regional final
2016 Florida 27–4 16–2 T-1st NCAA second round
2017 Florida 30–2 17–1 T-1st NCAA Runner Up
2018 Florida 26–7 15–3 3rd NCAA regional semifinal
2019 Florida 27–5 16–2 T-1st NCAA regional semifinal
2020 Florida 21–4 19–3 2nd NCAA Regional final
2021 Florida 22–9 14–4 3rd NCAA regional semifinal
2022 Florida 25–6 15–3 T-1st NCAA regional semifinal
Florida: 945–132 (.877) 501–44 (.919)
Total: 1026–195 (.840)

      National champion         Postseason invitational champion  
      Conference regular season champion         Conference regular season and conference tournament champion
      Division regular season champion       Division regular season and conference tournament champion
      Conference tournament champion


  • Volleyball Drills for Champions. Human Kinetics Publishers (1998) ISBN 0-88011-778-8
  • Volleyball Coaching Bible (Part IV: Individual Skills and Team Tactics, Chapter 13: Serving) ISBN 0-7360-3967-8


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Nena Rey Hawkes & John F. Seggar, Celebrating Women Coaches: A Biographical Dictionary, Greenwood Press, Westport, Connecticut, pp. 246–251 (2000).
  2. ^ a b GatorZone.com, Volleyball, Coaches & Support Staff, Mary Wise. Retrieved April 27, 2011.
  3. ^ Franz Beard, "There's something about Mary," GoGators.com (August 15, 2003). Retrieved April 26, 2011.
  4. ^ a b "Florida Sports Hall of Fame | Mary Wise". Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  5. ^ Aaron. "Mary Wise: 'Winningest' Coach at the University of Florida | Today @ Santa Fe". Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  6. ^ "Mary Wise - Volleyball Coach". Florida Gators. Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  7. ^ "2008 volleyball class ranked No. 1," The Gainesville Sun (July 11, 2008). Retrieved April 27, 2011.
  8. ^ "Mary Wise - Volleyball Coach". Florida Gators. Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  9. ^ "2014 SEC Volleyball Awards".
  10. ^ "Florida Volleyball Schedule, Florida Volleyball Scoreboard and Results - SEC". www.secsports.com. Retrieved 2018-04-29.
  11. ^ "2018 Volleyball Coaching Staff - Florida Gators". floridagators.com. Retrieved 2018-04-29.


External links[edit]

  • Mary Wise – Official biography at GatorZone.com