In the world of volleyball, the name Suzanne Winkler stands as a beacon of inspiration and achievement. Her passion for the sport, dedication to her students, and unwavering commitment to faith have earned her not one, but two distinguished awards this year, making 2023 a truly remarkable year for the esteemed head volleyball coach of Bishop Kenny High School in Jacksonville, Florida. Winkler is in her 21st year coaching indoor and beach volleyball, along with teaching anatomy full time at BK. She is a humble warrior who always demonstrates her dedication to academics, athletics, and faith through her interactions with her students, players, and peers.
Winkler was recently inducted into her high school alma mater, Holy Name (Berks Catholic) Hall of Fame. Winkler was a standout player receiving many academic and athletic awards during her four-year high school career playing varsity volleyball, basketball, and soccer. She attended a Catholic University “Marymount” in Virginia on an academic scholarship. Winkler had a stellar volleyball career at Marymount and earned a place in the university’s Hall of Fame, solidifying her status as an elite athlete.
Coach Winkler was recently awarded the Florida Coaches Coalition Beach Volleyball Coach of the Year. The awards banquet was held August 19th, 2023, at the Avanti Palms Resort and Conference Center in Orlando, Florida. Winkler started the beach volleyball program at BK in the spring of 2019 and the David D. Williams beach courts were built in 2019. Beach volleyball has been an official FHSAA sanctioned sport for three years and Winkler has had three consecutive regional final appearances and three consecutive state playoff appearances with an overall record of 62-7.
Winkler has been a dominant influence on the volleyball community and her passion is to coach to win and mentor players to become future coaches. Her indoor record is 432- 175 is a considerable feat translating to a 71%-win record. She is the only coach in the City of Jacksonville to run three sports team’s freshman, junior varsity, and varsity in the same season for 21 consecutive years, winning 20 Consecutive District Championships, 6 Regional Runner-up, 14 Regional Championships, 14 State Final Four appearances, 3 State Runner-up, 2 State Championships (2014, 2020), having 32 players go on to play in College or at a University for indoor volleyball.
Despite her numerous accolades, Coach Suzanne Winkler remains grounded and humble, cherishing her greatest accomplishment: her family. She has been happily married to Mr. Bradley Winkler for 21 years and is the proud mother of four children, including her eldest daughter Ava 16, Bradley J. 14, Grace 11, and John 8. As she reflects on her journey, Suzanne said, "The best gift I have been given is the ability to pay it forward in life. I was blessed with incredible coaches, mentors, friends and family and every day I get to do a job that I love that allows me to work with amazing students, players, friends and families."
In a world that celebrates achievement and perseverance, Suzanne Winkler's story is a shining example of what one can accomplish through unwavering dedication, a passion for one's craft, and a deep commitment to family and faith. Her legacy as a coach, mentor, and inspiration in the world of volleyball is sure to continue for many generations to come.