Beginning her sixth season leading the Auburn volleyball program is Laura Farina. Named the Tigers' eighth head coach on March 29, 2002, the 38-year-old Farina is in the process of returning the program back to the prominence it once enjoyed during late 1990's.
Farina's rebuilding process took a major step toward solidifying the foundation during the 2004 campaign as the Tigers collected six conference wins, the most for the Tigers since the 1999 season.
Auburn's trip to the SEC post-season was also its first since 1999 as the Tigers battled eventual SEC Tournament Champion Tennessee through a tough four-game match.
Throughout the course of the season, Farina's recruits began to show why they were so highly sought after with the culmination coming in late November when then-freshman Whitney Jacob was named to the SEC's All-Freshman team.
In 2006, Farina led the Tigers to 13 wins, the most for her as Auburn's head coach and the most for the team since the 2000 season. Highlighting the season was a sweep over Alabama on Sept. 22 in front of 1,211 fans at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum, giving her Farina her first career win over the Tide.
Also during the 2006 season, Farina produced Auburn's first CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-American in nearly 15 years as Rachel Shanks picked up third-team honors for her work both in the classroom and on the counrt. Shanks was also named SEC Volleyball Scholar-Athlete of the Year, making her the first AU volleyball player to earn the honor.
In her second year as head coach, she guided the Tigers to an incredible nine-win turnaround, posting 10 wins following consecutive one-win seasons for the program. With the change in record was a renewed enthusiasm for Auburn volleyball.
Farina came to the Plains after a three-year stay at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisc., where she took over a Golden Eagle team that had won just 11 matches in the year prior to her first year on the job. During her stint in Milwaukee, her teams collected two 18-plus win seasons as well as two sixth-place finishes in Conference USA. Farina's first year at the helm in 1999 saw MU go 18-13 for a .581 winning percentage, the best by a Marquette team since 1985. The Golden Eagles' 9-7 C-USA record also represented MU's highest number of conference wins since joining the league in 1995.
The Strasburg, Ill., native has coached a SEC All-Freshman selection, seven All-Conference USA players, one all-region selection and 15 of her players have earned all-academic honors during her tenure.
Prior to her arrival at Marquette, Farina spent six seasons (1993-98) at Michigan State where she served as the first assistant coach.
During her time with the Spartans, Farina helped build a program that won Big Ten Championships in 1995 and 1996, made five consecutive NCAA Tournament Championships (1994-98) and was a NCAA national semifinalist in 1995. She developed and implemented the team's national recruiting strategy that enabled the Spartans to land six Fabulous 50 recruits during that span.
Farina went to Michigan State after a year as a teacher and coach of the Mile High Volleyball Club in Denver, Colo.
During the summer of 1998, she toured Europe with the American Management Group (AMG), which exposed college players to international volleyball.
Farina, the former Laura Bush, led Illinois to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances as a player including back-to-back trips to the national semifinal in 1987 and 1988.
A two-time Academic All-American, Farina was also named to the AVCA/Russell All-America Second Team in 1989. She was named the Illinois Female Athlete of the Year in 1990 and still ranks among the top 10 in several Illini all-time categories, including career aces and digs.
A 1992 graduate of the University of Illinois, Farina earned her bachelor's degree in English.
While pursuing her master's degree in student affairs administration from Michigan State, which she received in 1998, she was a 1995 NCAA Post-Graduate Scholarship recipient. Farina was also selected as a role model for the NCAA Student-Athlete Leadership Conference in May of 1997