Jaimie Lee remains the most decorated player in Notre Dame volleyball history (photo by Matt Cashore).

Tuesday Testimonial: Jaimie Lee Still Soaring As Pro Volleyball Player, New Mother And Aspiring Real Estate Agent

Sept. 27, 2005

By Pete LaFleur

The Monogram Club’s Tuesday Testimonial series returns this week, with former Notre Dame volleyball standout Jaimie Lee checking in from her current hometown of Austin, Texas. Lee – who remains one of the most decorated players in the history of the Notre Dame volleyball program – recently was back on campus for the ND-Texas volleyball match, as her husband Brian Hosfeld currently is an assistant on the Longhorns staff. Lee has remained active in pro-beach volleyball, in addition to being a new mom and entering into a real-estate career.

(Note: a Tuesday Testimonial schedule for the rest of 2005 has been finalized and will be posted soon on the Monogram Club website, with plenty of more great testimonials set to follow in 2006 as well. Also look for an upcoming Tuesday Testimonial button on the Monogram Club main page, providing a link to the archived entries and a future “best of” summary that will provide a quick read of highlights from the testimonials. Brothers Tom and Steve Whowell, former members of the Notre Dame swimming program, are expetced to file their unique testimonial next week).

Lee ended her career in 1997 as the only player in the Notre Dame record book who was ranked among the program’s career top-10 in kills (3rd; 1,446), digs (5th; 1,142), attack pct. (4th; .278), assists (9th; 740), aces (9th; 103) and blocks (10th; 293), still ranking 4th in kills, 6th in digs and 10th in aces and attack pct. The Spokane, Wash., native played in 136 of 139 matches during her career (missing two while competing at the World University Games) en route to helping the Irish win nearly 80% of their matches during the 1994-97 seasons (107-32).

In addition to remaining one of just six Notre Dame players ever to total 1,000 career kills and 1,000 digs, Lee still holds the Irish record for consecutive matches as the team’s kill leader (8, in ’95). The outside hitter’s all-around skills were on full diplay during her final two seasons, first serving as the team’s fill-in setter for a 14-match stretch in 1996 after classmate Carey May was sidelined due to injury. The ’96 season also saw Lee set the Notre Dame record for service ace/error ratio, with twice as many aces (30) as serve errors (15) during that season.


Jaimie Lee’s stellar career included serving as the team’s fill-in setter for half of the 1996 season (phoyo by Matt Cashore).



Lee returned for her final season in 1997 and fashioned a dominating all-around performance that helped earn her honorable mention All-America honors while repeating as the BIG EAST Conference player of the year (she remains one of two players ever to earn that honor in multiple seasons). The three-year all-BIG EAST performer averaged 4.55 kills per game in 1997- still 2nd-best in the ND record book – while racking up 482 kills, bested by just three players in the program’s history. Lee’s stellar final season included 26 matches with double-digit kills (5th in ND history) and six with 20-plus kills (3rd), adding 13 double-double matches (10-plus kills and 10-plus digs) to rank 6th in that career category.

The truly great players typically elevate their play in the postseason and that certainly was the case for Lee in 1997, ending her career in impressive fashion. She threw down 27 kills in the BIG EAST title match vs. Villanova – at the time the most ever by a Notre Dame player in a four-game match – and bested that mark a couple weeks later in an NCAA round-of-16 showdown at Wisconsin, erupting for 31 kills to help the Irish put a scare into the #4-ranked Badgers before falling 15-9, 12-15, 16-18, 11-15.


Jaimie Lee trained with USA Volleyball during the summer of 1997 and helped win the silver medal at the World University Games, ranking second on the team with 84 kills at that international tournament (photo by Pete LaFleur).



As mentioned in her testimonial below, Lee had her worries in the classroom early in her Notre Dame career. But the sociology major made a big commitment to her studies and ultimately graduated with a 3.43 cumulative GPA, earning a spot on the prestigious CoSIDA Academic All-America team. She also was one of five Notre Dame student-athletes who received Notre Dame’s Byron Kanaley Award (recognizing those who are exemplary as student and leaders) and was one of 27 female Division I student-athletes to receive an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship for the 1996-97 academic year.

Lee and fellow outside hitter Angie Harris remain atop any discussion of the top classmates in the program’s history. They share the Notre Dame record for consecutive matches with 20-plus kills (3, by Lee in ’95 and Harris in ’97). Their combined career kill total of 3,023 is the most ever by Notre Dame classmates and they were the program’s first set of teammates ever to each average 3.9-plus kills per game in a season, doing so in 1995 and again in ’97 (their feat has been matched just once, by Christi Girton and Kristi Kreher in 2000).


Angie Harris (left) and Jaimie Lee formed a potent 1-2 punch for the Irish volleyball team during the 1994-97 seasons.



In addition to her great leadership provided to the volleyball program, Lee also left a legacy for all future student-athletes at Notre Dame. She was one of the leading forces in petitioning for Notre Dame scholarship student-athletes to be given the option of applying for off-campus housing during their senior years. This act of advocacy came before the existence of the current Student-Athlete Advisory Council and paved the way for a wider variety of living experiences being available to Notre Dame student-athletes who meet certain requirements.

In many ways, there never will be another student-athlete at Notre Dame like Jaimie Lee, who now provides some words about her postgraduate life and discusses the many valuable life lessons she learned while a member of the Irish volleyball team:

Tuesday Testimonial – Entry #10, Jaimie Lee (volleyball, ’98); Sept. 27, 2005

“Being back on campus a few weeks ago caused me to reflect on my time at Notre Dame and the impact it continues to have on my daily life.

“Just to let you know what I have been up to in the past few years, immediately after graduating I headed to Colorado Springs and played briefly with the USA National Team. By January of 1999, I was playing professionally in Switzerland on a team called Franches Montagnes in the LNA division. I was fortunate enough to have Angie Harris (now Akers) as a teammate, so it made the overseas experience that much more fun. I then returned to the USA and joined the USPV, the pro league that was started here in the states but that has subsequently folded.

“I left the USPV in May of 2000 and moved to Waco, Texas, to be with my fiancee, Brian Hosfeld (he was the head coach at Baylor at the time). I spent four years in Waco, part of that time earning my master’s in sport management from Baylor and part of that time serving as an assistant on Brian’s staff.


Jaimie Lee was named rookie of the year on the 2003 AVP tour.



“I decided to try my hand at the AVP beach tour in 2003 and winning the Rookie of the Year award was not nearly as fulfilling as the fact that I merely carried the torch for Irish alums on the tour (Angie had won Rookie of the Year in 2002). I took the 2004 season off to have a baby (our daughter, Ella, was born Sept. 9, 2004).

“Amidst all of this, we wound up in Austin when Brian accepted an assistant job at Texas. So I played the 2005 season on the beach, commuting from Austin most of the time. And – as if the beach tour and motherhood aren’t demanding enough – I also now am involved in commercial and residential real estate now.


Jaimie Lee was one of the top players on USA Volleyball’s 1997 World University Games team and later played with the full national team in ’98 (photo by Pete LaFleur).



“Unlike a lot of students and student-athletes who attend Notre Dame, I was not a legacy, Catholic or a life-long Notre Dame fan. In fact, I look back on how I got to Notre Dame and think it might have been dumb luck.

“When I was being recruited in high school, I got a letter in the mail from Notre Dame and remember thinking to myself, “…is this THE Notre Dame? Where is Notre Dame?” Being from the west coast, I was much more familiar with universities and volleyball programs that were having success up and down the coast. So, when I flipped through the media guide and read that Notre Dame was in South Bend, Indiana, and had a volleyball program on the rise, it actually peaked my interest to learn a little more about it. I mean, after all, it was the ever-prestigious Notre Dame!

“Between Notre Dame’s head volleyball coach, Debbie Brown, her former assistant, Steve Schlick, and the release of the movie, “Rudy,” I was sold on the school. It stood for everything I was hoping for in a college experience: top-notch academics, nationally-renowned atheltics and a community of spirituality.


Jaimie Lee (center) helped Notre Dame win nearly 80% of its matches during her career (photo by Matt Cashore).



“So, off I went from Spokane, Washington, to South Bend, Indiana, with no real clue how I had already fallen in love with Notre Dame but sure in my heart that I had never wanted anything more.

“So that’s how I got TO Notre Dame. But when I reflect back on the memories of my years AT Notre Dame, they almost seem surreal. It happened in the blink of an eye. I remember pre-seasons, various matches throughout my career, late-night study sessions at the library, football Saturdays, baking brownies in my dorm kitchen, going to the grotto in the middle of winter (to pray for myself during finals!), SYRs, SYTs, summer school, and time spent with friends.


Jaimie Lee ended her career as the only player in the Notre Dame record book ranked in the career top-10 for kills, attack pct., digs, blocks, aces and assists (photo by Matt Cashore).



“But, all in all, I’m suddenly overwhelmed by the feeling of regret. I regret that I didn’t appreciate every moment that I spent at Notre Dame. I certainly didn’t always love double-day practices during preseason or every class I ever took. And I am sure there were plenty of times when I cursed the winter weather under my breath. … But, in retrospect, I am regretful for not appreciating my four years even more than I did. Notre Dame challenged me in so many ways and was an era of real growth for me as an athlete, as a student and as a person.


Angie Harris (#6) and Jaimie Lee (#4) celebrated more than 3,000 combined kills during their Notre Dame careers (photo by Matt Cashore).



“Notre Dame forced me outside of my comfort zone. I was pushed athletically and forced to adapt to different roles, at times making me question myself or my desire to even participate in college sports. And I was pushed academically, over and over again. I sat in my coach’s office and warned her several times that this was the semester I would fail out of school. But I hung with it; I figured out a way to grow from the ways I was pushed as an athlete. And, for the first time in my life, I really challenged myself to raise the bar academically. I look back now and know that being forced outside my comfort zone was exactly what made me grow.

“I’m thankful for the opportunities that I’ve had in my life because of Notre Dame and certainly appreciate the places I’ve gone and the people I’ve met. But Notre Dame holds a place in my heart that is irreplacable and perhaps, at some point in my life, if the opportunity presented itself, I would return to Notre Dame in a capacity OTHER than that of a student-athlete (unless…and I’m keeping my fingers crossed here…the NCAA grandfathered in a few more years of eligibility for those wanting to earn graduate or doctoral degrees while continuing to play!….).


Jaimie Lee capped her career with a 31-kill effort at 4th-ranked Wisconsin, in an NCAA round-of-16 matchup (photo by Matt Cashore).



“In the meantime, my occassional visits to campus, my die-hard loyalty on football Saturdays from my living room, and my constant gloating about Notre Dame to my husband will have to suffice as the connection to my alma mater, the untouchable Notre Dame.”

Tuesday Testimonial #1: Rosella Guerrero

Tuesday Testimonial #2: Brian & Rory Walsh

Tuesday Testimonial #3: Carrie Nixon

Tuesday Testimonial #4: Kevin O’Shea

Tuesday Testimonial #5: Kim Pacella

Tuesday Testimonial #6: Pat Steenberge

Tuesday Testimonial #7: Todd Rassas

Tuesday Testimonial #8: Sara Liebscher

Tuesday Testimonial #9: Lizzy Lemire

Do you have a recommendation of a former Notre Dame student-athlete to participate in the “Tuesday Testimonial” series? If so, please pass on the individual’s name and contact info. (if available) to Monogram Club archivist/publicist Pete LaFleur at lafleur.4@nd.edu.