Becomes First Freshman In Program History To Earn Bid
Valerie Boothe is in her 17th season as head coach of the Ole Miss rifle program. The only coach in school history, Boothe was hired prior to the start of the 1996-97 season when rifle became a varsity sport at Ole Miss.
"Valerie is a hard worker who is very passionate about the sport of rifle," Executive Associate Athletics Director, Lynnette Johnson says. "Her loyalty and dedication have been very obvious over the past 13 years. She is well-respected in her sport and continues to work to maintain our program in the national spotlight.
"This program was built from the ground up and all of the credit goes to Valerie. She has been quick to assemble one of the most respected programs in the country. We are very proud to have her as our head coach and I am excited about our team this year."
From the start, Boothe had a vision. Knowing that the program would begin as a work-in-progress, she was willing to put in the time and effort for a chance at having long-term success. Now, as the team prepares for its 16th season, it seems as if Boothe's long hours, positive attitude and patience have paid off. The program enters the 2012-13 campaign with a strong foundation of seven letterwinners returning and an eye towards earning an berth in the NCAA Championships.
"We have a very talented group returning for this season as well as a fresh face to the team. We know what we want out of this season and will work until we get it," said Boothe.
Last season, Boothe guided sophomore Abbey Stanec to the school's second, second place finish at the NCAA Championships. In 15 seasons at Ole Miss, Boothe has helped several individuals to a variety of accolades. In 2008, Shannon Wilson became the second Rebel to win a conference title when she claimed the smallbore crown at the GARC Championships. Jennifer Lorenzen claimed the combined title just one year before. Two All-American in the last season as well as nine Academic All-American.
Boothe also guided current Rebels Keely Stankey and Erica Swanson to top-10 finishes in the air rifle at the 2009 U.S. Junior Olympics. She has tutored numerous athletes to success at the Junior Olympic level, including helping lead Wilson to gold in the smallbore at the 2006 U.S. Junior Olympics.
Under Boothe's watch, Ole Miss Rifle had its most successful season ever in 2005-2006. The Rebels earned their first ever appearance in the NCAA Championships, attained the program's first NCAA sectional victory and saw Ole Miss set or tie school records for team aggregate, air rifle and smallbore scoring, as well as individual air rifle and smallbore marks. Shannon Wilson was named the program's first first-team All-American by the National Rifle Association and Jennifer Lorenzen picked up her second consecutive All-America honor. In all Boothe's club has received seven All-American Awards. In 2006, Boothe was recognized as National Coach of the Year by the Collegiate Rifle Coaches Association.
The program has continued to excel both at the range and in the classroom as evidenced by the fact that Boothe has coached 32 different student-athletes to All-Academic honors. Last season, eight players including six returners-Coffey, Goodwin,Virginia Holman, Quartarone, Stankey and Alivia Yeager earned College Rifle Coaches' Association All-Academic honors.
In 2008, Casey Phillips earned second-team ESPN The Magazine/CoSIDA Academic All-America honors, the first such honor in program history. Phillips, a Phi Beta Kappa scholar, graduated with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
A native of Livingston, Tenn., Boothe was a collegiate shooter at UT-Martin from 1992 to 1996. She won the Tennessee State Smallbore title in 1994 in addition to capturing four Tennessee State Air Rifle championships from 1993 to 1996. Boothe also competed in the Junior Olympics on four different occasions.
Boothe has served as a member of several national committees, including the NCAA Rifle Committee from 2002-07 and NRA Collegiate Programs Committee. After serving as the NCAA's interim chairperson in 2003-04, Boothe was promoted to full-time chair the following year and now is serving as a committee chair on the NCAA Committee.
Boothe earned a bachelor's degree in social work from Ole Miss in 1997. She also holds an NRA coaches certification and is a member of the Oxford-University Methodist Church.
She and her husband, Christopher, reside in Oxford and have two daughters -- Sarah and Olivia.
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