Warren County Sports Hall of Famer Julie Firth-Torbett made the leap from Eisenhower High School to Division I Penn State University as a volleyball player.
First-Torbett learned from her Hall of Fame father, Tom Firth, and has now been a head coach for over 20 years at the Division 1 level in women's college volleyball. In 17 years at the helm of UNC Asheville, she led the Bulldogs to 304 wins from 1994-2011, and was named the Big South Conference coach of the Year twice. Add another 34 wins in two seasons as head coach at Winthrop and Firth-Torbett is the winningest coach in Big South volleyball history.
Torbett is taking another leap, being named head volleyball coach at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.
"From her playing days at Penn State through her 20 years as a Division I head coach, Julie Torbett has sought and achieved excellence," athletics director Terry Holland said at www.ecupirates.com. "She has high expectations for her student-athletes in every area of their lives and is known as a "player's coach" because her players respond positively to Coach Torbett's enthusiasm and quest for success. The search committee and our athletic administration are all very excited that she has accepted the position as our head coach."
The former Penn State middle back and defensive specialist under legendary head coach Russ Rose helped the Nittany Lions to four Atlantic 10 championships, four NCAA Regional appearances, and a perfect 31-0 conference record before earning her degree in exercise and sport science in 1990.
"I want to thank Athletic Director Terry Holland and the ECU athletics department for giving me such a phenomenal opportunity," Torbett said. "I am honored to lead the volleyball program as we move forward into a new chapter that will be fun and exciting. I am proud to be the newest member of the Greenville community and Pirate Nation."
Torbett has three sons, Nathanael, 18, a freshman soccer player at Winthrop, Colby, 14, and Tristan, 12. Her grandmother currently lives in Youngsville, her father in Lander, and her mother in Rock Hill, S.C. She coaches a team that was 2-25 overall last season in Division I, out of Conference USA.