Entering her eighth season as the head coach at UCF, Meg Colado has created high expectations for the Knights volleyball program. The high expectations are justified, as during her time at UCF, Colado has built a nationally recognized program that has made three trips to the NCAA Championship and has posted three 20-victory seasons in the last five years.
Colado has high expectations for her players as well. She demands hard work and intensity on and off of the court and the results have paid off. Her UCF teams have won at least 19 matches in a season on five occasions and she has guided the Knights to three conference championships.
Maintaining success is never easy, but Colado has been part of winning teams dating back to her days as a star player at the University of Florida in the 1990s. Combined as a player and a coach, she has been a part of seven teams that have claimed conference crowns and seven squads that have qualified for postseason play.
After missing the 2004 season while on maternity leave, Colado returned to the bench a year ago as UCF entered its first campaign as a member of Conference USA after moving from the Atlantic Sun. She enters 2006 with a 135-100 (.574) overall coaching record.
In 2003, her team advanced to the round of 32 in the NCAA Championship for just the second time in school history. Along the way, the Knights earned a pivotal first round victory over C-USA champion Cincinnati.
UCF rolled through the A-Sun with a perfect 10-0 mark and won the league tournament title for the third consecutive season. Overall, the team finished the year 23-7.
Senior Jenny Frank became the first UCF player to garner national recognition, earning AVCA Honorable Mention All-America status while also receiving A-Sun Player of the Year honors. In addition, Lindsey Whalen was named the A-Sun Libero of the Year.
Colado directed the Knights to their second-straight 20-win season (22-13) in 2002, along with another conference crown and a spot in the NCAA Championship. UCF defended its conference title by going 10-1 in the league and earning its second consecutive league title in front of the home crowd at the UCF Arena.
A pair of Colado's players garnered A-Sun first team honors in addition to having the conference regular season and championship player of the year on the roster. An outstanding recruiter, Colado had two newcomers earn positions on the 2002 A-Sun All-Freshman Team.
During her tenure at UCF, Colado has mentored nine first-team all-conference honorees. In six years of A-Sun competition, her teams lost just eight regular season league matches (50-8).
UCF concluded the 2001 campaign at 20-7. That season, Colado guided the Knights to their eighth A-Sun championship and the program's fifth appearance in the NCAA Championship.
Colado's teams at UCF have also excelled off of the court. Following the 2004 season, her squad was honored by the UCF Athletics Association for its community service work. That same year, Emily Watts earned ESPN The Magazine Academic All-District III honors. In the last four years, Colado's players have earned all-conference academic recognition 33 times.
In her first season at UCF, Colado was named A-Sun Coach of the Year and four of her players took home first-team all-league honors. After winning just five contests in 1998, the team rebounded in Colado's first year (1999), going 19-12 overall and 9-0 in the A-Sun.
A native of New Orleans, Colado came to UCF after a one-year stint as head coach at Rollins College in nearby Winter Park. Colado took over a team that had posted only 21 total victories in the previous two seasons and led it to a 15-16 record and a 7-7 mark in the Sunshine State Conference.
As an outside hitter for the Florida volleyball team from 1992 to 1995, she was a two-time All-Southeastern Conference selection (1993 and '95) and a member of four SEC Championship squads. Under head coach Mary Wise, the Gators appeared in the postseason during all four of Colado's seasons and reached the Final Four in 1992 and 1993. In 1993, Colado captained a team of elite college players at the United States Olympic Festival. As a senior, she was selected as captain of the Florida team.
Colado comes from a family with great athletic success. Her father, Billy Fitzgerald, played baseball and basketball at Tulane University (1967-69) and is a member of the school's athletic hall of fame. He is currently a prominent high school baseball coach and a retired basketball coach in New Orleans, where he and Colado's mother, Peggy, reside.
Edmond, Colado's older brother, played basketball at the University of Mississippi (1992-94). He is currently an anesthesiologist in Greensboro, N.C., where he and his wife Thea reside with their two children.
Her younger sister Lizzy was a standout volleyball player at Wisconsin, where she earned two All-America honors. She spent three years with the United States National Team before playing professionally overseas. Lizzy is currently an assistant coach at North Carolina. The youngest of the Fitzgeralds, Robert, played baseball at the University of Tennessee and was a member of the Volunteers' 2005 College World Series team.
Colado earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Florida in 1996. She and her husband Ray, a local banker, are the proud parents of Dickson, Cole and Merrell, who were all born on Dec. 31, 2004.