Mary Wise

Mary Wise
Mary Wise
Sport(s) Volleyball
Current position
Title Head coach
Team University of Florida
Conference Southeastern Conference
Record 632–69 (.902)
Biographical details
Born August 8, 1959 (1959-08-08) (age 52)
Place of birth Evanston, Illinois
Playing career
1977–1980 Purdue University
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Iowa State
Kentucky (Assistant)
Head coaching record
Overall 713–132 (.844)
Accomplishments and honors
Southeastern Conference
(1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010)
NCAA Final Four
(1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2002, 2003)
Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year
(1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2007)
AVCA National Coach of the Year (1992, 1996)

Mary Wise (born August 8, 1959) 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 twenty seasons at Florida, her Gators teams have won over ninety percent of their matches, nineteen Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular season championships, and twelve SEC tournament titles. The Gators have also made seven Final Four appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including an appearance in the 2003 NCAA Championship final.


Early years

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

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

Iowa State University

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]

University of Kentucky

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.

University of Florida

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.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[4]

Achievements and records

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.[citation needed]

In the storied history of NCAA Division I men and women’s basketball, football and baseball, there hasn’t been a single coach with at least ten seasons of coaching who can boast of having a better winning percentage than Wise has at Florida (.902).[citation needed]

Awards and accolades

  • Twelve-time winner of the SEC Coach of the Year Award (1991–1993, 1995–1996, 1998–2002, and co-winner in 2007)
  • Two-time winner of American Volleyball Coaches Association National Coach of the Year (1992, 1996)
  • 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]


  • Volleyball Drills for Champions. Human Kinetics Publishers (1998) ISBN 0880117788
  • Volleyball Coaching Bible (Part IV: Individual Skills and Team Tactics, Chapter 13: Serving) ISBN 0736039678


See also


  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, Volleyball, Coaches & Support Staff, Mary Wise. Retrieved April 27, 2011.
  3. ^ Franz Beard, "There's something about Mary," (August 15, 2003). Retrieved April 26, 2011.
  4. ^ "2008 volleyball class ranked No. 1," The Gainesville Sun (July 11, 2008). Retrieved April 27, 2011.


External links

  • Mary Wise – Official biography at

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