The University of Minnesota volleyball program has named Laura Bush (formerly Laura Farina) to its assistant coach position according to an announcement by Minnesota Head Coach Mike Hebert. Bush will assume primary recruiting responsibilities from Dave Manka who resigned to pursue other opportunities after the season.
“It’s great to be reunited with Laura Bush,” said Hebert. “She was a model student-athlete for me at Illinois, and she has become one of the best young coaches in the game. People will be impressed with her savvy and her work ethic. I expect her to impact our program immediately.”
Bush brings with her a wealth of experience at the Division I level, including nine seasons as a head coach. She was the head coach for Auburn from 2002 to 2007, and was also the head coach at Marquette for three years prior to that. Combined with her six years as an assistant coach at Michigan State, Bush has 15 years of coaching experience at the Division I level.
In 2006, Bush helped guide Auburn to its highest win total in a season since 2000. She also led the Tigers to the SEC Tournament in 2004, marking their first SEC postseason appearance since 1999.
Prior to her coaching stint at Auburn, she had a successful three-year run at Marquette. In her first season with the Golden Eagles, she led them to an 18-13 record. The .581 winning percentage was the best by a Marquette squad since 1985 at the time. The Golden Eagles 9-7 record in Conference USA that year was also the most conference wins since 1995 for the program. In her third and final season at Marquette, she guided her team to a 19-13 overall record.
Bush was also an assistant coach at Michigan State from 1993 to 1998. She was part of a coaching staff that took over after the Spartans went 8-22 in 1992. Only three years later, that staff guided Michigan State to a Big Ten title, a Final Four appearance and a 34-3 record in 1995. The Spartans tied for first place in the Big Ten, and made the NCAA Regional Finals in 1996. In her six years as an assistant coach at Michigan State, the Spartans were 132-66 for a .667 winning percentage. She was also responsible for developing and implementing a recruiting strategy that allowed the Spartans to land six Top 50 recruits during that span.
As a player, Bush was a four-year letterwinner at Illinois from 1987 to 1990 where she played for Hebert. During her career, Illinois had a 109-31 overall record, won two Big Ten titles (1987 & 88) and advanced to back-to-back Final Fours. She was named All-Big Ten and was a Second-Team All-American in 1989, and was also the University of Illinois Female Athlete of the Year in 1990. Bush is still currently on a pair of top 10 lists at Illinois. She is also one of four former Hebert players to become a head coach.
Bush is part of a select group that has played and coached in a Final Four at the Division I level. She is part of that select group, along with former Golden Gopher assistant coach Jill Pearson.
With Bush’s addition to the staff, Minnesota has a pair of assistant (or associate) head coaches on its staff that have NCAA Division I head coaching experience. Associate Head Coach Scott Swanson was also the head coach at UTEP for four years from 2002 to 05. Including Hebert’s 32 years as a head coach, Minnesota’s coaching staff has 45 years of head coaching experience at the Division I level.