Penn State’s Salima Rockwell announces retirement from coaching

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Salima Rockwell-Penn State-PSU-Nittany Lions
Salima Rockwell visits with Penn State's Simone Lee during the NCAA semifinals/Ed Chan, VBshots.com

Penn State sent out a surprise news release Friday morning announcing that associate head volleyball coach Salima Rockwell is getting out of college coaching in February.

“With very mixed emotions, I would like to take this opportunity to announce that effective February 2018, I will be leaving Penn State University to pursue other interests,” Rockwell said in the statement.  After much consideration, my husband (Jeff) and I have decided this is the best move for our family and for my health as well.”

The former Salima Davidson was a three-time All-American at Penn State. Davidson played for the U.S. national team from 1995-99 and was a 1996 Olympic alternate.

She started coaching as an assistant at Pittsburgh, spent a year at Oregon State, and then joined coach Russ Rose’s staff in 2006. Penn State won back-to-back NCAA titles in 2007 and 2008 before Rockwell left for Texas. She was an assistant coach to Jerritt Elliott when the Longhorns won the 2012 NCAA championship.

After five seasons at Texas, she returned to Penn State for the 2015 season. This past season, the Nittany Lions tied for the Big Ten title and made it to the NCAA national semifinals, where they lost to eventual-champion Nebraska.

The Rockwells have two sons, Logan and Rylan.

“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 the release. “She has made a positive impact on everyone that she has touched from her time as an undergraduate through her Penn State coaching career.

“My family and I wish her the best as she and Jeff and the boys change direction in her professional career and I know she will continue to do great things.”

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