Lawanson Returns to the WAC

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    By: Alyssa Chambers/Athletics Communications

    Fresno State's most decorated volleyball player returns to the Western Athletic Conference as an assistant coach at Nevada.

    Ruth Lawanson will be the top assistant under head coach Devin Scruggs after two season's at the Air Force Academy. Lawanson has also had coaching stints at Angelo State and Purdue after six year's at Fresno State.

    From 1981-84 as a student-athlete, Lawanson was a part of the greatest Fresno State volleyball team as the 'Dogs finished fifth at the NCAA Tournament her senior year. She became the first Bulldog ever to earn NCAA Division I All-America honors and was a three-time team MVP for the Bulldogs (1982-84). She still holds career records for kills (962) and season records for kills (488) and services aces (55).

    At the conclusion of her stellar FS playing career, Lawanson became the first female athlete in the history of Fresno State to have her jersey retired. She was also the first athlete in a sport other than football and only the fourth athlete overall to receive that honor from Fresno State.

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    A setter and hitter during her career she was a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic team that won the bronze medal in Barcelona.  She spent four seasons with the U.S. National Team, playing on the 1991 World Cup squad that earned a bronze medal in Japan and the 1990 World Championships team that won a bronze medal in China.  She was also honored with the national team's 1991 Judy Bellomo Players Award and won a gold medal with the 1992 U.S. Olympic Festival West Region team.

    Prior to her time on the national squad, Lawanson played with the Dallas Belles and the Minnesota Monarchs of the Major Volleyball League from 1987-89. She was the league MVP in 1988 and earned USVBA All-America honors with the national champion Chrysler Californians club team in 1989. She resumed her professional career in 1992, playing three years in Italy and France.

    Lawanson is just another tie to Nevada as current Fresno State head coach Lauren Netherby-Sewell and assistant coach Alanna Jackson played under Scruggs in Reno in the late 1990's. Netherby-Sewell picked up her biggest win as the head coach for the 'Dogs over her former mentor in the WAC Tournament quarterfinals a year ago as the 'Dogs finished in third place.

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