Salima Rockwell, an All-American player and assistant coach for the Nittany Lions, announced her retirement from the Penn State women’s volleyball coaching staff of Friday.
Rockwell just completed her seventh season as a member of the Nittany Lion staff, including the last four as associate head coach, and was a member of the staff for three of the program’s seven national championships. She plans to step down from her post in February.
“After much consideration, my husband (Jeff) and I have decided this is the best move for our family and for my health as well,” she said in a statement released by the university Friday. “I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone at Penn State University and the State College community for all of your unconditional support over the years. Penn State has always been home to me and always will. I am eternally grateful to (head coach) Russ Rose for all of his mentorship, friendship and most importantly love; there truly is none better.”
Rockwell returned to Penn State after spending five seasons on the staff at Texas as associate head coach, helping the Longhorns to three final fours, the 2012 NCAA title and coaching against her alma mater in the 2009 national title match. She had been an assistant coach at Penn State for the 2007-08 championship teams, which followed a year as the program’s director of operations.
While with the Longhorns she was named the 2012 American Volleyball Coaches Association National Assistant Coach of the Year.
One of her top duties on the Penn State staff had been mentoring the setters, helping Micha Hancock become the AVCA National Player of the Year in 2014, Alisha Glass to three All-America honors, national championships for both and each has been a member of the U.S. National Team.
“Salima has been a key member of the Penn State volleyball family as a player, staff member and proud alum for a number of years and her contributions are numerous,” Rose said in a statement. “She has made a positive impact on everyone that she has touched from her time as an undergraduate through her Penn State coaching career.”
Rockwell, formerly Davidson, was a three-time All-American at Penn State and the 1993 Big Ten Player of the Year. She later earned playing time with the U.S. National Team from 1995-99, and was an alternate for the 1996 U.S. team for the summer Olympics in Atlanta.