East Lansing, Mich. – Spartan Volleyball coach Cathy George was among the five-member class of the Illinois State Athletics Percy Family Hall of Fame inducted on Saturday, Oct. 26. The Hall of Fame ceremony inducting the 48th class was enshrined at a ceremony conducted inside the Brown Ballroom at the Bone Student Center during 2019 Homecoming festivities at ISU.
George had a distinguished career as a student-athlete at Illinois State before embarking on a head coaching career that has spanned more than 30 seasons. Also in the class were Redbird standouts Osiris Eldridge (basketball), three-time All-MVC First-Team selection and fifth on ISU scoring list; Kevin Glenn (football), three-time All-MVC selection and CFL great; and Katie Jean (golf), two-time MVC individual medalist and three-time All-MVC selection.
A four-year letterwinner for the Redbirds, the former Cathy Olson was a three-time All-Gateway/Missouri Valley Conference selection and a key member of the back-to-back Gateway/MVC regular season championship teams in 1983-84 . During her time in Normal, she helped lead ISU to Gateway/MVC tournament titles from 1982-84, earning three consecutive NCAA Tournament bids in the process.
Illinois State was 122-68 during her four-year career, including a pair of 17-1 conference finishes. Among her personal statistics, George is still ranked No. 5 in MVC history in service aces in a season (95) and career (233) and No. 10 for kills in a season (566) in conference play. She ranks in the top 20 all time in the MVC in career kills (1,595) while also holding the top two spots for aces in a season in the ISU record books, is second in single-season kills (566), and second for points scored in a season (691). George is still the isu career recordholder for kills per set (6.46) and points per set (7.67), and ranks second in career aces (233). She ranks fourth in the ISU annals in career kills and points (1,895).
George got her start as a collegiate coach at North Dakota State in 1987-88, leading the Bison to an 87-11 (.888) record in her two seasons and earning NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year honors in 1988. She moved on to become the head coach at Texas-Arlington from 1989-93, leading the Mavericks into the 1989 and 1990 NCAA Tournaments with a school-record third-place national finish in 1989. She became the first female head coach in the NCAA Division I Final Four (1989) and she earned Southland Conference Coach of the Year honors three times (1989, 1990, 1992) as she posted a record of 93-74 in her five seasons.
The current Spartan mentor guided the Western Michigan Broncos for 11 seasons, where she compiled a 185-139 record as WMU qualified for eight consecutive MAC Tournaments. Her Bronco squads made back-to-back MAC Tournament title match appearances in 1999 and 2000, capturing the title in 2000. George reached the 300-win mark in 2000, and was named the MAC Coach of the Year that same season after guiding the Broncos to the MAC title and NCAA Tournament.
Since coming to East Lansing in advance of the 2005 season, her 14 years as the head coach at Michigan State have seen the Spartans ascend to one of the elite programs in the country with NCAA appearances in seven of the last eight years including three trips to the Sweet 16 and an NCAA Regional Final appearance in 2017. She has guided the Spartans to the most wins of any Michigan State head coach in program history and owns an overall head coaching record of 644-420, which ranks 15th among active coaches for total wins in NCAA Division I volleyball, and she is among the top 80 coaches all-time with a career .606 winning percentage.
Hall of Famer and "Voice of the Redbirds" Dick Luedke served as emcee for the Hall of Fame Induction event, which featured remarks and well-wishes from Illinois State University President Dr. Larry Dietz and ISU Director of Athletics Larry Lyons. The inductees were celebrated with by fellow Hall-of-Famers, family, friends, former teammates and coaches as they joined the ranks of Illinois State's greatest student-athletes, coaches, administrators and contributors.