Paula Kirkland began her collegiate career at Anderson Junior College and transferred to Winthrop in 1978. She completed a BS in Physical Education at Winthrop in January of 1980 and returned home to Dorman High School, where she had been a three year lettermen on the high school basketball team. She completed a MS in Physical Education in 1985 at Garden-Webb University.
Coach Kirkland attended Anderson on a basketball scholarship. She was recruited by Annie Tribble and played for Frankie Porter. In her freshman year, Anderson won the Junior College NAIA National Championship. She continued her athletic career at Winthrop playing basketball and softball for two years. She began teaching at Dorman High School upon her graduation and has been there ever since.
Although she coached both basketball and volleyball at Dorman High School, it is clear that volleyball is her passion. She has been named Region Coach of the Year 13 times, the SCACA Volleyball Coach of the Year three times, the High School Sports Report Volleyball Coach of the Year twice, National Federation of High Schools Volleyball Coach of the Year once, and the Spartanburg Herald-Journal Volleyball Coach of the Year 12 times. In 2004, she was inducted into the South Carolina Coaches Hall of Fame.
She is active in the American Volleyball Coaching Associations and was on the Executive Board of the South Carolina Coaches Association of Women‟s Sports as the Volleyball chairperson for over 20 years. She has won 11 Four A state volleyball titles, which is the most by any individual coach in South Carolina. Her Dorman teams have been Region II-4A champions 21 of the last 29 years. She was selected twice to coach the North All-Star team in the annual North-South Volleyball match (won both ).
Paula Kirkland has been a teacher and coach at Dorman High School for 29 years. She currently serves as an Assistant Athletic Director and teaches on the Dorman Freshman campus. We would like to support the movement founded on Gilmer‟s Gospel Home, we too believe that the playing court at Dorman High School be named “Coach K Court.” She has indeed won that honor. Coach Kirkland has dedicated her life to teaching and coaching and touched thousands of lives.