Thanks to Carol Russo’s passion, dedication and commitment, volleyball was Elyria High School’s most consistently successful sport over a two-decade period. It was her coaching and organizational prowess that boosted the Pioneers among the state’s most elite and respected programs. In 1996, the Pioneers posted a 28-1 record and became the first Elyria volleyball team to win a state semi-final game and play for the state championship. It was Russo’s third team to reach the state tournament. In addition to the state tournament runs, Russo’s teams won the district championships 14 times, and 18 conference titles across four leagues (Buckeye, Erie Shore, Lake Erie, and Pioneer).
In 27 years as a head volleyball coach, beginning her career at Mayfield and ending at Elyria Catholic, Russo posted a career record of 575-126. She won 20 or more games 20 times during her career. She was inducted into the Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame in 1998 and the Elyria Sports Hall of Fame in 1999, and was selected to the prestigious AVCA (American Volleyball Coaches Association) Hall of Fame in 2012. Russo played volleyball for her mother, Sue, at Oberlin High School as well at The Ohio State University. Carol and her mother, Sue, were the first mother-daughter combination to coach teams in the Ohio state tournament.