WUSTL hires Walby as head volleyball coach

Washington University in St. Louis has named Vanessa Walby as its new volleyball coach, Director of Athletics John Schael announced. Walby is the sixth head coach in the 38-year history of the program.

Walby arrives on the Danforth Campus after a six-year stint as the volleyball coach at the University of Chicago. She compiled a 163-71 (.697) record at Chicago and led the Maroons to the NCAA Tournament the past four seasons. Walby earned 2013 University Athletic Association (UAA) Coaching Staff of the Year honors for the second-consecutive season after leading Chicago to a 27-11 record and the school’s first conference championship.

“Coach Walby is a wonderful fit for Washington University and the Bears volleyball program,” Schael said. “Her six years of head coaching experience within a private university setting at the NCAA Division III level, her familiarity with the UAA, and her ability to communicate and connect with gifted student-athletes will make her a great leader for Washington University, the team and student-athletes.”

Walby engineered a dramatic turnaround at Chicago after inheriting a program that had won only seven matches the year before and built it into a nationally competitive program. She led Chicago to a 19-17 mark in her debut campaign in 2008, and followed with a 28-13 record in 2009, including a third-place finish in the competitive UAA.

In 2010, Walby guided Chicago to a 30-13 overall record and its first appearance in the NCAA Division III Tournament. The Maroons also made their first appearance in the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) coaches’ poll, ranking as high as No. 17 midway through the campaign. Chicago’s 30 victories in 2010 matched the most in the program’s history.

In 2011, the Maroons posted another 30-win season (30-6) and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Walby posted a 29-11 record in 2012 and earned UAA Coaching Staff of the Year honors after guiding the Maroons to their third-straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament, reaching the second round.

Walby’s teams have been ranked in the AVCA top-25 poll each of the past four seasons, and she has coached one AVCA All-American, two all-region and 22 all-conference selections. Off the court, Chicago maintained a team GPA of 3.35 with 21 Academic All-UAA selections in six seasons.

“I am very honored and excited to be named the next head coach at Washington University,” Walby said. “Washington U. has always had a reputation of excellence and success. I really look forward to being a part of this notable program and to continue to help guide its path to excellence.”

Before her arrival at Chicago in the spring of 2008, Walby spent three seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater after serving as a graduate assistant for the Warhawks in 2004. UW-Whitewater reached the NCAA Division III semifinals in each of Walby’s three seasons as assistant coach. The Warhawks won the national championship in 2005, finished second in 2007, and placed third in 2006. During those three seasons, Wisconsin-Whitewater compiled a combined record of 111-15.

Walby played two seasons at Wisconsin-Whitewater in 1999 and 2000. As team captain in 2000, she was selected to the NCAA All-Tournament Team after helping lead the Warhawks to a NCAA second-place finish. Walby earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in coaching/health and physical education from Wisconsin-Whitewater in 2002 and 2005.

“I am really excited to work for John Schael and Joe Worlund. I respect both of them a lot and believe that they provide an environment for success. Their support and confidence in this transition is greatly appreciated,” Walby added. “I am also looking forward to working with and learning from so many successful coaches. It is a wonderful opportunity for me to learn and grow as a coach and departmental member.”