Press Release courtesy of Mary Athletics
After revitalizing the University of Mary volleyball program and directing the team to school highs for NCAA and Northern Sun wins, head coach Thais Franca has resigned her post after four seasons with the Marauders, including the last three as head coach.
Franca joined the Marauders as an assistant coach prior to the 2014 season, then was elevated to interim head coach during the season. The native of Santos, Brazil, soon had the interim tag removed and was named head coach in December 2014. In her first full season in 2015, the Marauders posted 13 wins, including eight in Northern Sun play. Competing in the nation’s best volleyball conference, both win totals are the best the University of Mary has posted since joining the NCAA and the Northern Sun.
“It has been an honor to serve and work with the student-athletes, faculty and administration at the University of Mary,” said Thais. “This was one of the most difficult decisions that I have had to make, but I feel it’s time to get closer to my family in Brazil, rest for a little bit, and see where God is going to lead me next.
“I would like to thank Monsignor James Shea and Roger Thomas for the opportunity they gave me. I really enjoyed my last four years at University of Mary. I’ve had amazing support from the university as a head coach and couldn’t be more grateful for my time here. I will truly miss the players and all the people that I had the privilege of working with.”
“Thais Franca provided needed stability for our volleyball program and improved our level of competitiveness in a conference where we seemingly face a nationally-ranked team each time we take the court,” said Marauders Director of Athletics Dale Lennon. “On and off the court she’s been an exemplar of our Benedictine values. We wish Thais well and know she will be successful in her next adventure.”
During her four years at Mary, Marauders volleyball student-athletes captured 26 Northern Sun All-Academic honors, one player-of-the-week citation and one All-Conference selection. Lauren Randall received second team All-NSIC honors this fall, becoming only the second Mary player to earn league recognition from the Northern Sun. Under Franca’s tutelage, Randall also became just the second Marauders player during the school’s NCAA era to crack 1,000 career kills and finished with 1,345. The senior outside hitter was second in the NSIC in kills per set in both 2016 and 2017.
A national search for a new head coach will start immediately.