Joan Powell

A year after graduating from University of Arizona, Powell became involved with USA Volleyball in 1974 and has been an active member ever since. She was the 2018 recipient of the USA Volleyball Frier Award.

As a player, she received regional all-star honors seven times and led her Colorado Connections team to three USA Volleyball Open National Championships titles in the 30-and-Over Division. Powell was selected USA Volleyball All-American five times.

Powell’s interest in officiating emerged from a college class while attending Arizona in the early 1970s. That one class led to an officiating opportunity while still in college and a long-standing refereeing career was born. She was a PAVO nationally certified official for nearly 40. In 1987, Powell earned her USA Volleyball national referee patch and stayed active for 27 years. Along the way, she has officiated the NCAA Division I, Division II & III championships several times, including multiple semifinal and title matches. Her latest NCAA championship was in 2009.

Powell’s administrative role in the sport has kept her active. She served five terms as president of PAVO, starting in that role in 1997. She was selected as the first NCAA National Coordinator of Officials in 2011, thus forcing her to let go of her NCAA whistle. In this new role, Powell coordinated officials’ assignments, nominations and advancement process for the Division I, II and III NCAA Volleyball Championship committees. She served as a consultant to the NCAA Volleyball Rules Committee while also developing educational tools for over 3,000 officials nationwide, coordinating clinics throughout the country and editing the annual referee exam.

In April of 2016, Powell took on the role of coordinator of women’s volleyball officiating for the Pac-12 Conference – a similar role she held at the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference prior to her job with the NCAA.

Powell has served on the USA Volleyball Board of Directors and completed two terms on the National Association of Sports Officials Board of Directors. She has previously served on USA Volleyball’s Rules Committee.

Powell’s involvement in volleyball was not squarely in officiating or administration – she had a full-time volleyball job outside those realms for many years. She retired from a 32-year high school volleyball coaching career after the 2006 season. Her final 30 years coaching was at the helm of Coronado High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Powell led Coronado to four state championship titles and coached hundreds of athletes along the way. And she excelled teaching in the classroom as well. In 1998, Powell was named Disney Teacher of the Year.

Her educational background and coaching skills combined to form another avenue to reach the volleyball community. Since 1989, Powell has been a cadre member in USA Volleyball’s Coaching Accreditation Program since its inception. She has mentored other volleyball coaches to become better coaches. Joan has authored numerous officiating and coaching articles, including two chapters for two coaching books.

Powell has also been to the Olympics. In 2008, she served as the team leader for the U.S. Olympic Women’s Volleyball Team at the Beijing Olympic Games after serving in the same capacity at the 2008 Pan Am Cup and 2008 FIVB World Grand Prix.

Powell has received several honors for her service. In 1999, she was selected as both the George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball and Karen M. Johnson Human Resources Award winner. In 2009, Powell was honored with the Glen G. Davies Referee Service award. And in 2014, she was bestowed the Joseph B. Sharpless Arbitrator’s Award for her event arbitrator work at USA Volleyball National Championships events. Powell has been inducted into seven Halls of Fame.