Olympic Athlete named Outstanding Former Student
Rita Buck-Crockett is San Antonio College’s Outstanding
Former Student for 2012-2013.
Ms. Buck-Crockett is a former two-time Olympian and
currently the assistant athletic director and head coach-sand volleyball at
Florida International University in Miami, Fla.
In 1975 she led San Antonio College to the National Junior
College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship in volleyball. At
the University of Houston she received All America honors from the Association
for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW).
A graduate of Marshall High School, Rita Crockett was
recruited to play volleyball by SAC and attended school on an athletic
scholarship. (SAC had an intercollegiate
volleyball team until 1981.)
In a 2012 interview for the FIU News she said:
“I never dreamt as a little girl of wanting to be an
Olympian. Living in San Antonio, we were a very poor family. I didn’t know that
there was an Olympic volleyball team. We didn’t really know all that stuff. I
did what my older brother did. He ran track, I ran track. He played baseball; I
was his catcher so that he’d have somebody to throw the ball to. In high school
I played basketball, was a cheerleader, ran track, played volleyball, was on
the dance team and played softball.
“I finished high school and I got a job. I had an apartment
with my best friend. (One day) a junior college volleyball coach and her
husband, who was a junior college basketball coach, knocked on my door. They
told me I needed to go to college because I was good academically and I was the
best athlete around.”
Transferring from SAC, Ms. Buck–Crockett played volleyball with
the University of Houston where she earned All-America Honors before joining
the U.S. Olympic Team in 1980. That was the Moscow Olympics that were boycotted
by the United States. Ms. Buck–Crockett went on to complete in the 1984 Olympics in
Los Angeles where the volleyball team won the silver medal.
In 2002 Ms. Buck-Crockett completed her bachelor’s degree in
liberal studies/communications at the University of Iowa.
In 1984 Sports Illustrated magazine dubbed her “the Rocket”
for her 42-inch vertical leap and her 100 mph kills. She played professionally and coached for a
number of years in Italy, Switzerland and Japan.
She has previously coached for Long Beach State University,
the University of Iowa, Florida State, the Swiss National Team and the U.S.
Olympic Training Center in Colorado. She
joined Florida International University in 2011.
In 1999, Ms. Buck-Crockett was inducted into the San Antonio
Sports Hall of Fame and the Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2011.