Karen Day Cravens
Karen Day Cravens
Title: Volleyball
Year Inducted: 2014
Transfer/Graduation Date: N/A

Karen Day Cravens graduated from Marian High School, Imperial Beach, CA with
California Scholarship Federation (CSF) academic honors in 1971 where she was a three
sport student athlete in volleyball, softball and basketball and served as President
of the Girls Athletic Association (GAA.) She then attended Southwestern College, earned
her Associate in Arts degree with a 3.7 GPA and played for Coach Carolyn Brady on the
first women’s intercollegiate volleyball team competing in the San Diego Women’s Intercollegiate

Athletic Conference (SDWIAC) with both 2 year and 4 year local colleges. She
transferred to SDSU, walked on the women’s volleyball “B” team for one year, and in
1975 graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts and a K-12 Teaching Credential in
Physical Education.

At twenty-two years old and fresh out of college, Karen joined the faculty of Marian
High School in 1975 and was assigned to teach physical education and coach volleyball,
basketball, softball and moderate the GAA and the cheerleaders. She also served as
Physical Education Department Chair for 4 years, was a member of the Discipline
Committee, and was Co-Athletic Director in 1980. After three years, she focused on
coaching volleyball only. During her five year tenure, Karen’s volleyball teams won two
Metro League Championships, two Division 2A CIF titles and captured 2nd and 3rd place
in the California State Championships with 5 student-athletes named to the California
High School All-State team. She credits Dean of Discipline/AD Jerry Judge and Marian
High School for developing her work ethic and passion for her job.

In 1981, Karen was hired at Southwestern College as a physical education instructor and
the Head Women’s Volleyball Coach. After winning three consecutive Mission/Pacific
Coast Conference Championships, she was released by the college due to budget
constraints along with three department colleagues, and consequently retrained in English
Composition at SDSU while finishing her MA at Azusa Pacific. Her “A” in Advanced
Comp felt like winning a championship and served her well as she was rehired to teach
English 114 and 115 while continuing to coach the women’s volleyball team. According
to Karen, “I learned time management and what real resiliency and unconditional
commitment truly meant….all the thing I preached to my athletes, I had to do. In
hindsight it was a period of great personal growth.” In the fall of 1987, she returned to the
Physical Education Department as a full time professor and coach as budget money
cycled back to the community colleges and new leadership demonstrated support for
athletics and its value to SWC’s student athletes.

Karen coached women’s volleyball for 23 years at SWC, won three championships and
advanced to the Southern California Regionals eight times. She has been selected Coach
of the Year six times throughout her coaching career, and her student-athletes have
received scholarships to Stanford, SDSU, Point Loma Nazarene University, Fresno
Pacific, Alliant, Elmhurst, Humboldt, CSULA, and more -- validating her belief that
academics plus athletics create opportunity for women. Her coaching philosophy stressed
preparation, strong fundamentals, interactive teamwork, passion for the game and…to
play every point until the last whistle blows. She also served as the Pacific Coast
Conference Women’s Administrative Volleyball Rep for ten years, Chair of the Dean’s
Advisory Committee, member of the Athletic Hall of Fame Committee, Athletic Co-
Coordinator, Exercise Science Chair during her last year at the college, and on numerous
selection, curriculum, and program review committees.

A few of Karen’s honors include being inducted into the Mater Dei High School Crusader
Hall of Fame--once in 2008 as a member of the 1980 Volleyball Team who was State CIF
runner up and again in 2009 as the Head Coach of the Volleyball program from 1975 to
1980. After 37 years of teaching, coaching and administrating the sport programs at
Marian/Mater Dei High School and here at Southwestern College, Karen retired in the
spring of 2013 but returned under the provision of the Continuation of Service contract to
teach classes and serve as the Assistant Coach of the Men’s Volleyball Club with Head
Coach Angela Rock.

Karen’s sweetest memory of her years at Southwestern happened in 1982 when
her team won the Pacific Coast Conference Championship and played in the SOCAL
Championships in LA. Santa Monica, a powerhouse volleyball program ranked third in
the tournament, scored the last point to defeat the Apaches in two straight games. As the
teams were about to leave the court, the official declared a scoring error and Karen’s team
went back on the court with one last opportunity. Her team won the game and then the
next game as well. It was an amazing comeback! The team lost in the next round to #1
ranked Golden West, the eventual State Champion.

Karen has been married for 30 years to Russ Cravens, a former USD basketball star who
taught social studies for 37 years and coached basketball and cross country at Clairemont
High School. She is the proud parent of daughter Tiffany, a hair stylist who was also a
All-Mesa League volleyball player when she attended Bonita Vista High School. Karen’s
granddaughter, Piper Jane, is the light of her life. Karen describes her as “totally
amazing--a natural climber who is fearless.” Niece, Krysten, is also a member of the
Cravens family while she attends Southwestern and Karen’s large extended family
continues to bring her great joy!

For your dedication and for your many contributions to the college and your student
athletes, it is a great pleasure to welcome Karen Day Cravens into the Southwestern
College Athletic Hall of Fame as a valued member of the Class of 2014.