Deb Schulman is in her 27th season as the Pioneers head volleyball coach.
She has led 19 of her 26 teams to at least 20 wins per season and has an overall record of 613-343. Ten teams have won 25 or more wins, and five times they achieved 30 or more victories. She ranks among the top 25 nationally in both career wins and winning percentage among active coaches.
Schulman guided Stephanie Kirchner to her third consecutive first-team all-WIAC honor in 2013. Kirchner also became the second Pioneer to earn Capital One Academic All-America® NCAA Division III Women's Volleyball honors and finished her stellar career as the third Pioneer to record over 1,000 kills and a 1,000 digs.
In 2012, the Pioneers were dominant on their home floor with an 11-3 record, and during their two tournaments they only dropped two sets in eight games. Junior Stephanie Kirchner became the ninth Pioneer to earn All-American honors from the AVCA.
Schulman and the Pioneers in 2011
continued a string of eight-consecutive berths at the WIAC
Tournament, where they went on to finish fourth. Senior Briana
Kaiser became only the second player in program history to earn
multiple All-American honors from the AVCA. Senior Ali Sikic
wrapped up her career with honorable mention AVCA all-region
recognition, first team all-WIAC accolades and as the program's
all-time assist leader with 5,487 assists. Sikic also was selected
as the Judy Kruckman WIAC Scholar-Athlete for volleyball.
During the 2010 season, the Pioneers avenged two of their three regular-season losses by beating UW-Oshkosh and UW-Eau Claire in the WIAC post-season tournament. Schulman helped guide the Pioneers to their seventh NCAA Division III playoff appearance, where they lost in the regional final to top-seeded Washington University. To reach the regional finals (Sweet 16), the Pioneers swept in straight sets Dominican University and host Carthage College. Schulman earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association Midwest Region Coach of the Year after the Pioneers' outstanding 2010 season.
In 2009, the Pioneers played No. 22 Nebraska-Wesleyan in St. Louis, Mo., in the NCAA Division III national championships. Nebraska-Wesleyan beat the Pioneers in four games.
In both 2005 and 2007, Schulman led the Pioneers to the WIAC post-season tournament championship. In 2007, the Pioneers beat second-seeded UW-Oshkosh and third-seeded UW-Eau Claire before falling to top-ranked UW-Whitewater. The Pioneers earned an at-large berth to the NCAA III tournament and finished with a 24-13 record.
In 2005, the Pioneers won a five-game quarterfinal win at UW-La Crosse, a five-game semifinal victory over UW-Whitewater on the Warhawks’ home floor and then a three-game sweep of UW-Eau Claire to win the WIAC championship. The Pioneers beat Midwest Conference champion St. Norbert College 3-0 in the first round of the NCAA III playoffs before falling to eventual national champion UW-Whitewater in the second round. The Pioneers earned a 29-8 record and a final national ranking of 20th. They beat five nationally ranked teams during the course of the season and claimed the school’s first WIAC tournament championship since 1992. UW-Platteville advanced to the second round of the NCAA Division III national championships.
Schulman earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association Midwest Region Coach of the Year after the Pioneers’ outstanding 2004 season. UW-Platteville went 27-8 and was ranked as high as eighth nationally, despite playing perhaps the nation’s strongest schedule. The Pioneers faced 16 ranked teams in 2004, going 9-7 against top 20 teams. They opened the season with three victories over ranked clubs in the Wash. U. tournament, including a win over the hosts and defending national champions, ending the Bears’ 30-match home winning streak.
Six Pioneer teams have made the NCAA III post-season tournaments: 1992, 1997, 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2010. In both 2007 and 1997, the Pioneers lost a heartbreaking five-game match to UW-Oshkosh, falling 15-13 in the deciding fifth game.
Schulman also led the Pioneers to national rankings in 1992 and 1993, with the 1992 squad finishing 39-3, winning the league title for the first time in school history and advancing to the NCAA III “Sweet 16.” During the 1992 season, the Pioneers rolled off a school-record 31 straight wins. They defeated St. Benedict 15-5, 15-12, 11-15, 15-11 in the first round of the tournament, held at Williams Fieldhouse. In the sectional final, the Pioneers staged a tournament classic before falling to St. Thomas, 11-15, 15-8, 9-15, 15-9, 21-23.
The Pioneers have also excelled in the classroom. The team has won multiple AVCA academic awards.
Under Schulman, the Pioneers have had the largest regular-season crowd in NCAA Division III in eight of the last 11 years for the annual Homecoming "Yell Night" match. The 2011 match against Ashford drew a school-record 1,252 fans, who were entertained by a straight-set Pioneer win.
A 1984 UW-Milwaukee graduate, Schulman was inducted into that school’s hall of fame after a stellar career in volleyball, basketball, track, and cross country.
Schulman was inducted into the UW-Platteville Hall of Fame on Dec. 4, 2010.