Jenny McDowell
Jenny McDowell
Title: Head Coach
Phone: 404-727-4693
Phone: Fax - 404-727-4989

Jennifer McDowell's passion and pursuit of excellence has resulted in the Emory volleyball program winning two NCAA D-III Championships. The 2008 squad claimed the school's first-ever national crown while the 2018 unit used a stirring second-half of the season that resulted in the school's second national title. 

McDowell, who assumed control of the program in the spring of 1996, has guided Emory to 23 consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division III Tournament, advancing to the "Sweet 16" round 19 times. In addition, she has directed the team to six berths in the NCAA Final Four, the first coming in 2003 when the Eagles posted a fourth-place finish in the tournament, the second in 2008 when the squad took home the national title, the third in 2010 when it advanced to the national championship match, in 2013 when the Eagles advanced to the national semis, the fifth in 2014 with Emory getting into the national championship tilt and, most recently, in 2018.   

Her 23-year Emory record now stands at 745-166.  McDowell notched her 700th career triumph on October 5, 2017, when the Eagles topped Oglethorpe University.  Her 600th win took place on October 5, 2014, with a come-from-behind 3-2 decision over Carnegie Mellon in the University Athletic Association Round Robin I.  

The 2018 edition of Emory Volleyball rattled off wins in 17 of its last 18 outings en route to the D-III Championship, closing out the campaign with an overall slate of 30-6 with the win total marking the program's 12th straight season of 30 or more victories.  The Eagles came away with the program's eighth-ever University Athletic Association title, sweeping Brandeis and Carnegie Mellon in the quarters and semifinals, respectively, before blanking Chicago in the showdown for the crown.  Emory put on a dominant display in the NCAA Tournament, sweeping all three foes at the Mount Berry Regional -- Meredith College, No. 4 Colorado College and No. 22 Mary Hardin-Baylor, allowing it to advance to the Championships in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  The Eagles squared off against Ithaca College, the school that defeated Emory in the previous year's Tournament, and gained a measure a revenge against the Bombers with a 3-1 triumph in the quarterfinals. Emory then proceeded to dispatch Juniata College, 3-0, in the semifinals before coming through with perhaps its best match of the year in the title match, a convincing 3-0 outcome over No. 1-ranked Calvin.  Senior setter Mady Arles was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Championships while Elyse Thompson and Leah Saunders were members of the All-Championships Team.

McDowell's 2017 team battled injuries throughout the campaign but still managed to finish the year off with a record of  30-7, the program’s 11th straight campaign of 30 or more wins.  The Eagles advanced the quarterfinal round of the NCAA Championships after hosting and winning the Atlanta Regional, sweeping Worcester State, Christopher Newport University and Berry College.  During the season, Emory hammered out a 13-match win streak, which included home wins over No. 6 Juniata College and No. 8 Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, the eventual NCAA D-III national champion. The Eagles landed an at-large berth to the postseason after finishing runner-up at the UAA Championships.

McDowell oversaw the 2016 team close out the year with an overall slate of 33-6.  The Eagles advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA D-III Championships, where it came out on the short end of a five-set battle to eventual champion Calvin College.  Under McDowell's guidance, three players landed All-America recognition with Jessica Holler and Sarah Maher capturing first-team acclaim while sophomore Sydney Leimbach was a honorable-mention pick.   Emory also played its way to the University Athletic Association title,  it fifth in the past eight years and seventh overall, defeating Carnegie Mellon in the championship showdown.  Emory ended the year ranked No. 2 in the final AVCA Top 25 Poll.

Emory finished off the 2015 season with an overall record of 34-4.  The Eagles advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals and ended the year ranked No. 7 by the AVCA.  McDowell saw four of her players garner All-America honors with Sydney Miles and Jessica Holler capturing first-team berths while Sarah Maher and Kathryn Trinka were third-team honorees. 

The 2014 campaign saw the Eagles continue their dominance in the Division III ranks, racking up a final won-lost slate of 39-4 with the victory total establishing a school season record, bettering the mark of 36 triumphs set by the 2010 and 2011 teams.   Emory battled its way into the NCAA D-III Championships match, winning three matches at the St. Louis Regional and contests in the national quarterfinals and semifinals against Williams and Wisconsin-Stevens Point, respectively.  Emory also came away with the program's sixth UAA title during McDowell's run with the Eagles, defeating Chicago by a 3-1 margin in the title showdown.  

In 2013, McDowell oversaw an excellent campaign by her charges that resulted in a final won-lost mark of 34-5, with the victory total tying as the fourth-highest performance in school history.  The Eagles finished second at the UAA Championships, the 15th time during her tenure that the program had finished runner-up or higher.  Emory held down the No. 5 spot in the final AVCA Poll. 

In 2012, McDowell saw the Eagles compile a 33-6 won-lost ledger, tying the fourth-highest win total in school history.  In addition, McDowell guided the program to its fifth overall UAA title and third in four campaigns.  Emory closed out the campaign ranked 8th nationally by the AVCA.  

During the 2011 season, McDowell saw her squad tie the school seasonal mark for most wins when it hammered out an overall slate of 36-5.  The record was originally set the previous campaign when the 2010 squad posted a 36-5 ledger.   During 2011, she racked up her 500th career triumph on October 8, when the Eagles bettered Maryville, 3-0.  That win over the Scots was the team's 23rd consecutive win, tying the 1994 team for the school record.

The Eagles finished the 2010 regular season ranked No. 1 nationally among Division III squads and held down the No. 2 spot in the final poll.  The team's win total from 2010 bettered the previous standard of 35 set by the 2008 squad.

She rang up her 400th career win on Nov. 7, 2008, when the Eagles topped Brandeis at the UAA Championships.  The Eagles concluded the 2008 campaign ranked No. 1 among D-III programs.

The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) recognized McDowell's efforts during the 2008 campaign, tabbing her as the National Division III Coach of the Year. She has also been honored by the AVCA as the Regional Coach of the Year on seven occasions (2004, 2005, 2008, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015).  

At the conclusion of the 2018 season, her .818 winning percentage ranked fifth all-time among Division III coaches and was second among active D-III coaches.  Among Division I, II and III coaches, she ranked among the top-20 all-time winningest coaches in NCAA annals (min. 10 years as a NCAA head coach).

Every year since 1997, Emory has ranked among the top 20 teams in the nation in every weekly poll conducted by the AVCA.  In 2009, Emory ended the regular season in a deadlock for the No. 2 spot in the national poll while holding down the No. 5 position in the organization's final ranking.

Before McDowell's arrival the volleyball team had 30 wins or more in only one season. In her 23 years, the team has bested 30 wins 20 times including 16 of the past 17 seasons. The 2009 team fashioned an overall ledger of 34-6 with the victory total then the second highest in program history.

McDowell's players have flourished under her tutelage. She has mentored 29 different players to a total of 47 first-, second- and third-team All-America berths while coaching eight players to UAA Player of the Year accolades, the most recent being Leah Saunders in 2018, and nine to UAA Rookie of the Year acclaim. In addition, she has seen her players rack up a total of 125 All-UAA honors.  Two of McDowell's players, Amelia McCall in 2010 and Courtney Rose in 2005, earned Division III National Player of the Year honors.

In 2010, Emory registered its second straight and fourth conference crown, defeating then No. 1-ranked Washington University, 3-1, in the title match. 

In 2009, the Eagles nailed down the school's third league title, defeating Washington University, 3-0.

In 2007, Emory brought home its second conference championship, defeating Washington University in a five-game thriller.

In 2005 Emory captured its first conference championship with a 3-0 sweep of then No. 1-ranked Washington University in the title match. McDowell and her assistants have been recognized as the conference "Coaching Staff of the Year" in 1996, 2000, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2014.

Prior to Emory, McDowell was an assistant coach at the University of Georgia for five years in which the Bulldogs compiled a 128-41 record and made the NCAA Division I national tournament every year. With primary responsibilities in recruiting, McDowell helped bring in one NCAA All-American, two NCAA postgraduate scholars, two GTE Academic All-Americans, one GTE Academic All-American of the Year, two Southeastern Conference (SEC) postgraduate scholars and 10 all-SEC Scholar-Athletes.

A three-time all-region selection and three-time team captain in volleyball, McDowell received her undergraduate degree from Georgia in 1989 and her master's in 1990. In 1985, she was selected to compete in the U.S. Olympic Festival. McDowell is the first and only Georgia volleyball player to have her number (16) retired.  In February of 2017, she was awarded UGA's prestigious Bill Hartman Award which recognizes former Georgia student-athletes who have demonstrated excellence in their profession and/or in service to others by 20 or more years of superior performance after graduation.

McDowell was the interim head coach at Georgia from January to May 1989. She also has been a head coach with the Athens Junior Volleyball Club for three years.

Coach McDowell Year-by-Year Record

Year W L PCT
1996 31 8 .794
1997 33 9 .786
1998 29 13 .690
1999 30 8 .789
2000 32 4 .889
2001 27 7 .794
2002 33 9 .786
2003 32 14 .696
2004 31 10 .756
2005 32 6 .842
2006 28 11 .718
2007 33 7 .825
2008 35 6 .853
2009 34 6 .850
2010 36 5 .878
2011 36 5 .878
2012 33 6 .846
2013 34 5 .872
2014 39 4 .907
2015 34 4 .895
2016 33 6 .846
2017 30 7 .810
2018 30 6 .833
TOTALS 745 166 .818


Emory's All-Americans under Coach McDowell
2018 Mady Arles First Team
2018 Karissa Dzurik Second Team
2018 Elyse Thompson Honorable Men.
2018 Leah Saunders Honorable Men.
2017 Sara Carr First Team
2017 Elyse Thompson Third Team
2017 Morgan McKnight Honorable Men.
2016 Jessica Holler First Team
2016 Sarah Maher First Team
2016 Sydney Leimbach Honorable Men.
2015 Sydney Miles First Team
2015 Jessica Holler First Team
2015 Kathryn Trinka Third Team
2015 Sarah Maher Third Team
2014 Sydney Miles First Team
2014 Leah Jacobs First Team
2014 Jessica Holler Second Team
2014 Kate Bowman Third Team
2014 Sarah Maher Honorable Men.
2013 Sydney Miles First Team
2013 Jessica Holler Second Team
2013 Cat McGrath Honorable Men.
2013 Kate Bowman Honorable Men.
2012 Breanah Bourque First Team
2012 Sydney Miles First Team
2012 Alex Duhl Second Team
2011 Natalie Schonefeld First Team
2011 Breanah Bourque First Team
2011 Amelia McCall  Second Team 
2010 Amelia McCall* First Team
2010 Breanah Bourque Second Team
2010 Jessica McAlvany Third Team
2010 Natalie Schonefeld Honorable Men.
2009 Natalie Schonefeld First Team
2009 Jess McAlvany First Team
2008 Dani Huffman First Team
2008 Alysse Meyer First Team
2008 Natalie Schonefeld Second Team
2007 Janet Bunning First Team
2007 Madison Robelen Second Team
2006 Janet Bunning First Team
2006 Alysse Meyer Third Team
2005 Courtney Rose* First Team
2005 Catherine Zidow Second Team
2005 Katrina Damasco Third Team
2005 Janet Bunning Honorable Men.
2004 Monica Robbins Second Team
2004 Courtney Rose Second Team
2004 Catherine Zidow Third Team
2004 Jolene Litzman Honorable Men.
2003 Jolene Litzman Third Team
2003 Remley Dodge Honorable Men.
2003 Monica Robbins Honorable Men.
2002 LuLu Sewell First Team
2002 Lori Pickle Third Team
2001 Amy Hyman Second Team
2000 Megan Williams First Team
1999 Megan Williams Second Team
1996 Liana Roman Second Team
* Denotes AVCA National Player of the Year


updated May, 2019