Joanna Ehman enters her seventh year at the helm of the volleyball program in 2019 after being named the head coach in the spring of 2013. Ehman also will start her fifth year serving as Covenant's Senior Woman Administrator and Assistant Director of Athletics.
The 2017 season will go down as one of the best in program history. Ehman's team went 25-8 overall, tying a program record for winning percentage, while capturing the USA South West Division title with a perfect 12-0 record. Covenant claimed a second USA South Tournament title in three season with a thrilling, comeback win over top-seed Averett in the championship match to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Ehman's team then continued to raise the bar in the NCAA Tournament. Covenant outlasted Birmingham Southern in the first round in five sets to advance to the second round. The Lady Scots became the first Covenant program to win a NCAA Tournament contest in any sport.
During the 2017 season, the Lady Scots rattled off a 17-match win streak, setting a program record and tying an all-sports record at Covenant. Covenant went undefeated at home (11-0) and also made an appearance on ESPN SportsCenter's Top Plays. Additionally, Schuyler Moore earned AVCA All-America honorable mention, and three players collected All-USA South honors. Moore was also named USA South Tournament MVP and was a member of the NCAA Tournament All-Atlanta Regional team.
In 2018, Ehman became the winningest coach in program history. Ehman eclipsed Heather Taylor's mark of 124 career wins on the final day of the regular season. Ehman's 126 career wins are the most by any coach in the program's history and her current winning percentage of .649 is also tops. Her 2018 squad won a fourth consecutive USA South divisional regular season title.
After two very successful seasons to begin her head coaching career, Ehman guided the program to new heights in 2015. Covenant won the South Division of the USA South and then went on to claim the USA South Tournament championship and a berth to the NCAA Tournament. Ehman's team finished 19-13 overall with a 13-3 mark in the USA South, marking a third straight year in which the program increased its conference win total.
In 2016, Ehman's team won a second straight USA South regular season title as the Lady Scots finished first in the eight-team West Division with a 12-3 record. The team also was voted as the USA South Team Sportsmanship Award winner for volleyball for a second consecutive season.
Ehman was chosen as the USA South Coach of the Year in 2015 and coached three players to All-USA South honors. Senior Chelsea VanDyk also earned honorable mention All-America accolades, becoming the first player in program history to be named an All-American. The team was also voted as the USA South Team Sportsmanship Award winner for the sport. Finally, 13 of the 16 team members earned USA South All-Academic honors.
Over her first five years at the helm of her alma mater, Ehman is 111-55 overall with a 60-15 USA South record. She won her 100th career match with a 3-1 victory over Piedmont on Oct. 14, 2017.
In 2014, her second season as head coach, Ehman directed Covenant to a historical year. The program won a program-record 27 matches, finishing 27-10 overall, and advanced to the USA South Tournament championship for the first time. It was the fourth straight season of 20 or more victories, a program record. Ehman's team tied a program record with a nine-match win streak and had three separate win streaks of at least six matches. Additionally, four players earned All-USA South honors.
Before being named head coach, Ehman served two years as an assistant under former Lady Scots head coach Heather Taylor, helping Covenant to 47 wins over those two seasons.
"I feel blessed to be able to take on this role. Coach [Heather] Taylor has poured so much into the team during her time here and has built a successful volleyball program. Now, after playing for her and coaching under her, I have the opportunity to continue to build on what she established," said Ehman at the time of her hiring. "Coach Taylor not only has a passion for the game, but a heart for ministering to her players. I am thankful for the example she has set for me as well as the team, and I am excited to move into this role after being mentored by her."
In her first season, Ehman continued the success of her predecessor as the Lady Scots finished 21-11 overall and 11-5 in their first year as members of the USA South Athletic Conference. Ehman’s team advanced to the semifinals of the USA South Tournament before being eliminated by eventual champion Maryville. Two players (Chelsea VanDyk and Stephanie Kirkpatrick) were selected to USA South All-Conference teams. Additionally, she had five players earn USA South All-Academic honors and her team was an AVCA Team Academic Award winner.
Ehman’s playing experience started when she was a child and continued all the way through college, where she was a setter for the Lady Scots from 2006 to 2009. Her collegiate career defined her as one of the best setters in conference - both the AAC (2006-2008) and GSAC (2009) - and Covenant history. Heather Taylor noted Ehman to be a true student of the game and consequently named her captain of the team during her junior and senior years. She finished her career with 1,759 assists, 699 kills and 1,213 digs in 126 career matches. Additionally, Ehman is second in program history with 191 service aces.
During her high school years, Ehman was a setter and outside hitter for the Lady Eagles of North Cobb Christian School in Kennesaw, Georgia. In 2009, she was inducted into the NCCS Hall of Fame for her efforts on the court.
Ehman's coaching experience began in 2008 when she led a 16-year-old club team for Dig-to-Win, a volleyball club operating out of Chattanooga. She gained further coaching experience with Choo Choo City Volleyball Club, prior to taking an assistant coaching position at Bryan College for the 2010 season. As the top assistant at Bryan, Ehman was able to stake her first collegiate victory during a medical absence taken by head coach Leo Sayles. For the season, the Lady Lions went 22-15 before being eliminated from the semifinal round of the AAC Tournament.
Ehman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in business from Covenant College. She is married to Doug Ehman (Covenant, ‘09) and the couple has two young children.
Year-by-Year Coaching Records (at Covenant)
2013: 21-11 (11-5 USA South) - USA South Tournament semifinals
2014: 27-10 (12-4 USA South) - USA South Tournament championship round
2015: 19-13 (13-3 USA South) - USA South South Division champions; USA South Tournament champions; NCAA Tournament appearance
2016: 19-13 (12-3 USA South) - USA South West Division champions
2017: 25-8 (12-0 USA South) - USA South West Division champions; USA South Tournament champions; NCAA Tournament appearance (2nd round)
2018: 15-13 (12-2 USA South) - USA South West Division champions
Total: 126 wins, 68 losses in six seasons