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Idaho volleyball coach Debbie Buchanan announces retirement

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Debbie Buchanan announced her retirement Wednesday after 22 seasons as University of Idaho volleyball coach.

“I am retiring from coaching after 27 years to be closer to my family and to be able to go and watch my boys compete,” Buchanan said. “I have loved my time here at the University of Idaho and appreciate all the support and friendships I have made along the way.”

Buchanan’s oldest son, Austin, is a redshirt freshman on Hawaii’s men’s volleyball team. Youngest son Blake is a junior center at Lake City High School and drawing interest from college recruiters.

Buchanan was 320-317 at Idaho, including a 198-164 record in conference play. The Vandals played in the Big West, Western Athletic and Big Sky during Buchanan’s tenure.

She is the program’s all-time winningest coach and guided the Vandals to 16 straight conference tournaments and NCAA Tournament appearances in 2003 and 2004. Idaho finished 5-20 this season and didn’t qualify for the Big Sky Conference Tournament.

“She has done everything right on and off the court and made Vandal volleyball competitive for over two decades in three different leagues,” said Idaho athletic director Terry Gawlik, who will direct a national search for Buchanan’s replacement. “We are grateful for everything she has done for Vandal Athletics and wish her all the best going forward.”

Buchanan was a three-time all-state selection at St. Maries High as the program won four straight A-2 state titles from 1987-90. She also played on the Lumberjacks’ 1987 state championship basketball team.

She earned a scholarship to USC but her career was cut short by a knee injury. Buchanan was an assistant coach at Idaho and Colorado State before taking the Vandals’ head coaching position in 2000.