Just a few weeks ago, Bruins volleyball head coach Vickie Denny led BJU’s women’s volleyball team to a 3-0 win over Johnson University.
The game turned into a milestone for Denny as the victory secured her 1,000th career coaching win.
After attending a public high school, Denny spent her college years at BJU. She soon came to realize that sports had the potential to become a great ministry opportunity.
Denny graduated from BJU with her bachelor’s degree in health and physical education and afterwards started teaching and coaching at a high school in Illinois.
In 1982, Denny accepted a position at Maranatha Baptist Bible College (now Maranatha Baptist University) where she coached women’s volleyball, basketball and softball.
After coaching for five years at MBCC, Denny led the school to a NCCAA National Championship in 1987.
That national championship would be Denny’s first as a head coach.
“You remember the first one,” Denny said. “The first one is special.”
After coaching at MBCC for six years, Denny decided to pursue her Ph.D., and she started her studies at The Ohio State University.
In 1989, Denny accepted a coaching job at Clearwater Christian College in Florida, where she also taught and served as the chair of CCC’s Department of Exercise and Sport Science.
Instead of coaching many sports as she had previously, , Denny decided that she should zero in on one specific sport—volleyball.
After moving to Florida, Denny completed her Ph.D. in physical education at Florida State University.
Denny enjoyed tremendous success as CCC’s volleyball coach, leading the CCC Cougars team to 13 NCCAA national championships during her time as coach.
Denny remained at CCC as a teacher and coach for the next 23 years, until financial problems forced CCC to close in June 2015.
That same year, BJU Athletic Director Neal Ring made the announcement that the Bruins were adding women’s volleyball to their intercollegiate athletic program and that Denny would be the head coach.
In her first season as the Bruins’ volleyball coach, Denny has led the team to a 23-8 overall record and finished undefeated in NCCAA regular season play, including the win against Johnson which was Denny’s 1,000th career win.
Denny said that since the Bruins won the game against Johnson, several players from her first MBCC 1987 national championship team have contacted her congratulating her on her landmark victory.
“It’s been fun,” Denny said about her first season coaching the Bruins. “We have a following of people at [both] home and away games.”
Looking toward the future as the Bruins coach, Denny said that one of her goals is to build the program up to be able to be competitive in the
NCCAA, and eventually compete against schools in the NCAA and NAIA.
Denny said the best thing about coaching the Bruins has been the players the Lord has given her.
The players are all fine young women, Denny said.
“I absolutely love Coach [Denny],” Bruins volleyball player Erin Jarvis said.
“She makes you tougher, and builds character.”