Longtime Dorman Volleyball Coach Paula Kirkland Selected to NFHS Hall of Fame

Kirkland is one of 11 total inductees in the 2024 NFHS Hall of Fame Class

Indianapolis, Ind. (March 11, 2024) – Dorman High School’s longtime girls volleyball coach, Paula Kirkland, has been selected to the 2024 National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) National High School Hall of Fame, as announced by the NFHS Monday, March 11, 2024. Kirkland is one of 11 total inductees in the 2024 NFHS Hall of Fame Class.  Included in this year’s class are four former athletes, four highly successful high school coaches, two former state association administrators and one contest official.

The 11 honorees will be inducted July 1, 2024 during the 41st induction ceremony of the National High School Hall of Fame, which will be held at the 105th NFHS Summer Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts. 

“I was shocked when I learned of my selection and I had no idea I was even on their ballot,” said Kirkland who recently completed her 43rd season as girls volleyball coach at Dorman High School in Roebuck, SC. “I had to read the email twice and then I got the phone call from the NFHS.” Kirkland continued, “All of the wins and titles are the direct result of their contributions. In addition, our program has had the opportunity to flourish because of the unwavering support from Dorman High School and School District Six. I am blessed beyond belief and honored to my core. I am pleased to represent Dorman and the South Carolina High School League (SCHSL).”

“Coach Kirkland is definitely deserving of this honor,” said Dr. Jerome Singleton, Commissioner of the SCHSL. “We are extremely proud of Coach Kirkland and all she’s done as a coach in the SCHSL.”

In November 2024, Kirkland won her 15th SCHSL State Volleyball Championship. She became the volleyball coach at Dorman – her alma mater – in 1980 and won her first state title in 1990. She won three consecutive titles from 1990 to 1992 and won back-to-back-to-back championships from 1995 to 1997, followed by four titles in five years from 2000 to 2004.

Three years ago, Kirkland passed the 1,000-victory mark and currently stands at 1,088-173-3 – an amazing winning percentage of 86.3. She is second all-time in victories in South Carolina and 11th nationally among active coaches according to the NFHS’ National High School Sports Record Book.

Kirkland’s teams have come through in the clutch as the 15 state titles have been accomplished in only 18 trips to the state finals. She also has claimed 32 regional titles in 40 years.

After graduating from Winthrop University in 1980, Kirkland applied for a job at her alma mater and received an offer with one caveat – she had to coach volleyball, a sport she had never played. She took a squad that was 4-12 the previous season and recorded a 14-4 mark in her first season and the rest is history.

Kirkland has been Region Volleyball Coach of the Year 13 times and South Carolina Athletic Coaches Association (SCACA) Volleyball Coach of the Year three times. She previously was NFHS National Volleyball Coach of the Year, Spartanburg Herald-Journal Volleyball Coach of the Year 12 times, and she was inducted into the South Carolina Coaches Hall of Fame in 2004. Three years ago, Kirkland was named to MaxPreps’ list of the 50 greatest female high school coaches from all 50 states. She was South Carolina’s representative.

For eight years during the 1990s, Kirkland doubled as the school’s girls basketball coach. She posted a 122-68 record in eight years with a best mark of 25-3 in 1993-94. In 1994-95, her team lost in the SCHSL Upper-State finals.

Kirkland has been active in the American Volleyball Coaches Association and was volleyball chairperson of the SCACA. She assumed leadership of the Tournament of Champions a number of years ago and has kept the tournament going strong. Among her many successful players at Dorman is Thayer Hall, who played at the University of Florida.

Nationally, Kirkland just concluded a four-year term on the NFHS Volleyball Rules Committee.

For a complete list and bios of the 2024 NFHS Hall of Fame Class visit


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