SOAR 2023 in Arizona

Tonya Johnson, now the second-year head coach at her alma mater, LSU, came up with the idea while she was the coach at Georgia Tech. Women volleyball coaches needed to get together to brainstorm, get to know each other, help each other, learn and simply hang out.

“I was just trying to figure out ways to connect with other coaches, connect with younger coaches,” said Johnson, also the longtime Texas assistant coach.

Alabama State coach Penny Lucas-White talks to the SOAR group in Arizona

She came up with SOAR: An intimate network of female coaches removing barriers through Support, Openness, Advocacy, and Renewal.

SOAR has happened four times, previously at Texas, LSU and Georgia Tech, and this past January in Arizona, where 46 coaches gathered. We talked all about how it got started, what it is, and how well the gatherings have gone with tremendous benefits for all involved:

This is the SOAR Mission Statement:
An intimate network of female coaches removing barriers through Support, Openness, Advocacy, and Renewal.
Mission Statement
SOAR seeks to inspire, empower and connect female coaches, giving them a safe platform to share their knowledge and ideas.
Support: Developing a community of trust
Openness: Encouraging honest, open dialogue
Advocacy: Promoting dialogue around issues unique to women in coaching
Renewal: Rekindling excitement for coaching and life!
Why should you attend?
If you recognize and/or have experienced the challenges that are unique to women in coaching, SOAR allows you to explore these issues in a safe environment. SOAR is an intimate community of support that provides a platform to openly discuss challenges. It is through this dialogue that as a group, we learn, build lifelong relationships, and promote ways to be more effective, motivated coaches and ultimately, better people.
— Coaching (Team practice, coaches presenting, scouting, recruiting, etc)
— Mental Health
— Financial Planning
— Work/life balance
— Small and Big group discussions
— Diversity and Inclusion
— Sports Attorney (Contract Negotiations, Title IX, Transfer Portal, etc)
SOAR programming is designed to:
— Build a community of support and have others to lean on
— Create a trusted environment amongst female volleyball coaches
— Increase knowledge of the sport as well as issues surrounding collegiate volleyball
— Strengthen the bonds among female coaches
SOAR at Georgia Tech in 2022
SOAR at LSU in 2020
SOAR at Texas in 2019

The 2024 SOAR is tentatively set for LSU in late January. For more, contact Johnson at


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