Coach Julie Jenkins surpassed a historic 1,000 career wins

TU Athletics celebrates Coach Jenkin’s 1,000th career win with a surprise tribute

This Oct. 30, after finishing the regular season with a victory against Southwestern University, Volleyball Head Coach Julie Jenkins received a special surprise to celebrate 1,000 career wins.

After the game, athletic director Bob King presented Jenkins with her 1,000th win ball, in front of a crowd of players and parents — both former and current —who turned up specifically to celebrate Jenkins’ achievement. Once the ball was presented, a tribute video of compiled pictures and videos of former athletes with heartfelt messages about Jenkins’ impact on their lives.

Jenkins is the 10th coach and only the second woman across all three NCAA divisions to ever reach the 1,000 win milestone. The historic win was secured on Oct. 16 after the Tigers defeated Centenary College at the SCAC Divisional tournament.

One-thousand career wins are a rare accomplishment and are a quantifiable marker of the hard work that everyone involved in the program over the last 37 seasons has contributed, according to Jenkins.

“Well, it blows my mind and honestly it makes me pretty emotional too because it is getting to be the end of my career, and so it’s an emotional thing too. But I’ve had so many great players over the years, so many great assistant coaches over the years and they’ve all played a role in this, obviously can’t do it with them. So those 1,000 wins are really just a reflection of all the wonderful people that have come through this program that played a part in this. It warms my heart but it also makes me emotional.” said Jenkins.

According to Assistant Coach Brindl Langley, the team celebrated in Shreveport where the tournament was held and presented Jenkins with her 1,000th win ball. However, Langley wanted to do something more to celebrate Jenkins’ achievement.

“I just know that 1,000 wins is huge. I mean, there’s a very limited [number of] coaches that are ever reaching that. I know that she’s had a lot of success in the past, and I know a lot of alumni love her and want to give her the praise that she deserves. So I was thinking to myself, ‘Well how can I make this more special?’ Especially because we’ve been on the road the last five weekends. We definitely gave her a little something in Shreveport, but I wanted to do something when we were home,” Langley said.

Although putting together a tribute was initially Langley’s idea, it took a group of people from sports information to alumni relations to pull the surprise off.

“Yeah, so I think, first of all, I reached out to Aly [Lilly], and then Brian [Yancelson] has been a big help on the media side and getting that publicized. Josh [Moczygemba] as well. And then Harrison [LaLone], who’s in sports information. […] I tried to get a hold of alumni and, at the time, it was like the 1869 challenge so I knew Carla [Gilbert], who was in the athletics giving area, was pretty busy. So I reached out to Aly first and then Carla gave me another sheet of alumni to reach out to, so there’s a team effort for sure.” said Langley.

According to Jenkins, the tribute caught her entirely by surprise, although in hindsight she had noticed a few clues that something was going to happen.

“To be honest, I knew they were giving me this ball, but I had no idea that [they had a tribute planned]. I kept seeing people that I haven’t seen in a long time. Like these people, their daughter played on my 1999 NCAA runner-up team, the furthest we’ve ever gone. I was like, What are they doing here? And then I had all these dads and moms, parents from [past teams sitting in the stands]. Anyway, I had no idea. I didn’t make the connection. I was like, ‘Wow, what are all these people doing here?’ So I didn’t know,” Jenkins said.

After heading Trinity’s volleyball program for 37 seasons, the tribute video highlighted the impact Jenkins had on all the student-athletes that she coached and helped grow. According to Jenkins, the privilege of watching her players grow is her main source of enjoyment as a coach.

“That’s probably what your main source of enjoyment is [as a coach], is the athletes and helping them you know, really reach their full level of confidence. You know, seeing them become even better leaders, seeing their work ethic go to an all-new high. I mean they just leave here typically with a pretty good level of confidence in every phase of their life and so to me that is what’s most rewarding about coaching is seeing them blossom when the light comes on and they’re just at an all-new high with their confidence,” Jenkins said, “So it makes me feel good to hear them say that, but they’ve impacted me too in the same way. Coaching is such a wonderful opportunity to meet so many amazing people like those people they interviewed [in the tribute video]. Aly [Lilley], the one that was crying and going on, she’s an Associate Athletic Director at Center College. Another kid is a pilot in the Air Force. That girl I was just talking to, UT law school grad and kicking it, doing awesome work for a law firm. I mean they just all go on to do great things, so they’ve impacted my life too and it is why coaching is so rewarding.”