Cal Poly hires Caroline Walters as head women’s volleyball coach

Posted at 4:49 PM, Dec 21, 2018

Caroline Walters, interim head coach at Cal Poly seven years ago and associate head coach the last two seasons, has been named head coach of the Cal Poly women’s volleyball program.

Announced on Friday by Mustang director of athletics Don Oberhelman, Walters replaces Sam Crosson, who resigned Wednesday after seven seasons as head coach of the Mustangs to accept the head coaching position at Cal.

“I’m very pleased to announce the promotion of Caroline Walters as our next head volleyball coach,” Oberhelman said. “Caroline has been at Cal Poly for 10 years, and I can’t think of a single person who has invested more heart and soul into Cal Poly volleyball.

“Coach Walters was part of the building process from the very beginning, and has been instrumental in getting this program to where we are today, which is competing for Big West Championships every year,” Oberhelman added.

Walters was an assistant coach for eight seasons at Cal Poly before being elevated to associate head coach prior to the 2017 campaign.

As interim head coach in 2011, Walters guided the Mustangs to 12 wins.

“She already has tremendous relationships with the women in our program, works very closely with our beach volleyball head coach, Todd Rogers, and knows everything there is to know about Cal Poly volleyball,” Oberhelman said. “She will be able to help continue the incredible momentum that we currently enjoy.

“Caroline has turned down a number of other opportunities over the years because of her loyalty to Cal Poly, and her belief that we are building something special here on the Central Coast,” Oberhelman added. “She is ready for this opportunity, and is by far the best candidate in the country for our university.”

Walters’ primary jobs with the program included working with serve receive passers and implementing defensive and blocking schemes as well as being in charge of scouting, budget, finance and travel. Her off-court focus was geared toward the coordination of recruiting efforts.

“I am extremely excited and thankful for this opportunity to continue implementing Cal Poly’s Learn by Doing motto,” said Walters. “Over the past 10 years, I have been fortunate enough to work both for and with some amazing volleyball minds and I look forward to blending the pieces to establish my identity as head coach.

“The framework is in place to keep moving forward with business as usual. Our program has been headed in the right direction for a while now and I eagerly await helping us achieve new milestones” Walters added. “I would like to thank Don Oberhelman for his encouragement and faith in me to step into this role, as well as President Armstrong, Keith Humphrey and Nick Pettit for their support and assistance along the way.”

During the summer of 2014, Walters helped compile’s 23rd-ranked recruiting class.

At Cal Poly, Walters has coached 27 All-Big West Conference selections as well as 2011 Big West Player of the Year Jennifer Keddy, 2015 Freshman of the Year Adlee Van Winden, 2017 Big West Player of the Year Taylor Nelson and 2018 Big West Player of the Year Torrey Van Winden.

Cal Poly has also finished among the Big West’s top five leaders in digs during three of the past four seasons and compiled a Big West-best 16.27 digs per set in 2015. This past season, Cal Poly led the Big West in kills, hitting percentage, opponent hitting percentage, assists and blocks.

“Sam has been an amazing teacher, mentor and above all friend to me over the past seven seasons,” Walters said. “His trust in me, especially over the last two years, has allowed me the confidence to step into this role rather seamlessly, and for that I cannot thank him enough.”

Walters was a four-year letterwinner and three-time All-West Coast Conference honorable mention selection at Santa Clara from 2003-07). She remains second in league history with 1,932 career digs and ranks first in Bronco program history with a 4.59 career digs-per-set average and career total digs.

A four-time team Defensive Most Valuable Player recipient as a Bronco, Walters owns four of the top five single-season per-set dig marks in Santa Clara history.

She started with the Mustangs volleyball program in 2009 following one year as an assistant with the 18-Blue squad of the Los Gatos-based Vision Volleyball Club. Walters also currently operates her own local club volleyball program, 805 Elite Volleyball Club, which she has run on the Central Coast since 2010.

During Walters’ two years as associate head coach of the Mustangs, Cal Poly posted a combined 52-6 overall record, including a 31-1 Big West mark and 18-0 home court record, a pair of conference titles and two appearances in the NCAA regionals.

“The community support our program has received over the past few years, and that I have felt in the recent days, has been overwhelming and confirms the exact environment that we strive to create for our student athletes,” Walters said.

Last spring. Cal Poly’s beach volleyball program finished with a record above .500 for the first time in the program’s young five-year history, going 27-7 and reaching its highest ranking ever at No. 4 in the nation. The Mustangs finished third in the Big West Tournament and Torrey Van Winden and Tiadora Miric claimed the conference’s first pairs title. Van Winden also teamed with Emily Sonny to finish third at the USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Pairs Championship.

“Cal Poly has the unique ability to offer two top-tier volleyball programs between Indoor and Beach,” said Walters. “I anticipate working closely with Todd Rogers to continue recruiting high-caliber athletes that have interest in pursuing both.”

-Provided by Cal Poly