Cora Thompson
Cora Thompson
Title: Head Coach
Phone: 617-627-5471
Email: cora.thompson@tufts.edu

A seven-time New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Coach of the Year and three-time American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Northeast Region Coach of the Year, Cora Thompson runs one of the top women's volleyball programs in New England.

Coach Thompson guided the team to the 2019 NESCAC Championship. The Jumbos hosted the conference tournament after posting a perfect 10-0 league record during the regular-season. Tufts finished with a 28-2 record overall and ranked #16 in the final AVCA national poll. Thompson was selected both NESCAC and AVCA Regional Coach of the Year.

Now in her 19th season as head coach at Tufts, Thompson's teams have compiled a 394-132 overall record during her tenure. The .749 career winning percentage ranks her 16th on the NCAA’s winningest active coaches list for Division III. It’s the 23rd-best winning mark among Division III coaches all-time.

Thompson has directed the Jumbos to nine NCAA Tournament berths overall, including two "Elite 8" appearances. Among the team's 394 wins during her career are a 31-5 mark for 2009, a 29-4 record in 2008, a 29-7 finish in 2005, the 28-2 record in 2019, a 28-6 season in 2004 and 2016's 27-4 finish.

A 1999 graduate of Tufts who played for the Jumbos, Coach Thompson’s Tufts teams have hosted NCAA Regionals in Cousens Gym in 2008, 2009, 2016 and 2019. They won the Regional title and advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals in 2009 and 2016. Thompson's first NCAA team in 2005 played into the Regional final.

Thompson has now received the NESCAC Coach of the Year honor three times in the last four seasons (also 2016 and 2017). She was also the 2014 honoree, received it in back-to-back seasons for 2008 and 2009 and won for the first time in 2004. Six times she has directed Tufts to the #1 seed in NESCAC for the regular-season, and her teams have played in eight conference championship finals. Tufts has an outstanding 136-34 record in conference play (.800 winning percentage) since Coach Thompson took over, including 10-0 marks in 2008, 2016, 2017 and 2019.

In addition to receiving AVCA Regional Coach of the Year in 2019, Thompson was the organization's Northeast Coach of the Year for 2016 and 2017 as well. She has also been recognized as the New England Women's Volleyball Association (NEWVA) Coach of the Year four times (2019, 2016, 2008 and 2004).

Student-athletes recruited to Tufts by Thompson and her staff have excelled athletically and academically. Maddie Stewart, a 2020 Tufts graduate, became the first Jumbo ever to earn AVCA first team All-American honors in 2019. She was also the AVCA Northeast Region and NESCAC Player of the  Year. Four Jumbos in all - including Brigid Bell, Cate Desler and Christina Nwankpa - received All-American honors for the 2019 season. Rachel Furash, a 2020 Tufts grad, was on the Academic All-District® Volleyball Team selected by CoSIDA. Tufts received the United States Marine Corps / AVCA Team Academic Award for 2020-21, which honors volleyball teams that maintain a year-long grade-point average of 3.30 or better. The Jumbos achieved an outstanding 3.75 cumulative GPA for the year.

Coach Thompson's Jumbos are also actively involved in the community. In 2020, the team helped assemble and deliver nearly 400 thank you care packages to COVID front-line workers on the Tufts campus on behalf of the Athletics Department during the holidays.

Thompson has been associated with the volleyball program for more than 25 years since enrolling at Tufts from Half Moon Bay, California in 1995.  She was a defensive specialist for the Jumbos, and was a sophomore on the 1996 Tufts team that was the first to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.  She also played in three NCAA Tournaments as a four-year starter at shortstop on the softball team.  Graduating in 1999, Thompson went on to earn her Master's Degree in Education from Tufts in 2001. After three seasons as an assistant coach with the Jumbos, she was promoted to head coach of the volleyball program in 2002.

Cora and her wife Kendra live in Stow, Massachusetts with their daughter Taedyn and their son Tucker.