By Chris Mitchell
Sports Information Director
Vanessa Walby was hired Dec. 23 as the sixth head coach in the 38-year history of the Washington University in St. Louis volleyball 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.
What does it mean to you to be named the head coach at Washington University in St. Louis?
I am very honored and excited to be named the next head coach at Washington University in St. Louis. 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.
How did the experience leading the University of Chicago, most notably the 2013 UAA championship team, prepare you for this next step in your coaching career?
The University of Chicago was wonderful for so many reasons. They took a chance on me when most schools maybe wouldn't have and they provided me with guidance and support to move the program into a positive direction.
Inheriting a program that had only won 13 matches the previous two seasons, how did you find success at Chicago in your first season?
I would have to credit most of the success to the players, support from the athletic department and location of the university. The student athletes at Chicago were eager to win and be successful, and they were willing to bend over backwards and buy into what our staff asked of them. They worked hard every day (in and out of season) to lay the groundwork for future teams to build for the future. The athletic department always tried to provide the best student-athlete experience so they were very generous and supportive in providing an environment that would make "winning" possible.
What are you most looking forward to as the new coach at Washington University?
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. 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 coach and departmental staff member.