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The Colorado State women's volleyball program has become synonymous with consistent winning under the guidance and tutelage of Head Coach Tom Hilbert, who enters his 16th season with the Rams and his 24th overall as a collegiate coach in 2012.
With eight Mountain West Coach of the Year awards to his credit, in the league's 13-year existence, it is clear why Hilbert's program has risen to the top of the MW and become a stalwart on the national stage as a perennial top-25 team.
Video: Coach Hilbert's Philosphy
Under Hilbert, who was inducted in the CSU Athletics Hall of Fame as the Hall of Honor recipient in 2006, the Rams have developed into one of the top programs in the nation, qualifying for the NCAA tournament each year. Overall, CSU has played in 17 straight tournaments, a school record for consecutive postseason appearances in any sport. The stretch also includes five Sweet 16 appearances in Hilbert's 15 seasons
A deeper look inside Hilbert's coaching record reveals some remarkable achievements. The head coach has amassed a 169-28 record in Mountain West play and has led the Rams to nine regular-season conference titles and five conference tournament championships, including both in 2011.
He ranks 10th among active Division I head coaches in winning percentage (.768), and in 2010, Hilbert became the winningest coach in CSU history, in any sport, with his 353rd win Nov. 4 vs. UNLV. The win surpassed former men's basketball coach Jim Williams' mark of 352 victories. In 2009, Hilbert eclipsed the 500-win mark for his career, becoming one of 20 active head coaches with 500 or more victories. At the time, Hilbert also ranked as one of just two on that list with fewer than 22 years of head coaching experience. Entering 2012, Hilbert ranks 20th on the active list for most victories, and of those in the top 20, Hilbert has done so in the fewest games. His 353rd win to become the winningest CSU coach came just more than one year after Hilbert distinguished himself as the winningest volleyball coach in CSU annals, surpassing the 300-win mark as a Ram and moving ahead of Rich Feller, who won 299 matches from 1983-96.
Hilbert has coached seven players to AVCA All-America honors, and two to Volleyball Magazine All-America. In 2011, when senior Katelyn Steffan and junior Megan Plourde were both named to the AVCA All-America third team, it marked the third time in program history that two players were selected in the same season. During 2011, Hilbert also earned the AVCA West Region Coach of the Year, his first since taking over the Rams in 1997, and was honored at the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.
While at CSU, Hilbert has an overall record of 382-96 (.799), and is 569-168 (.768) overall in 23 seasons as a head coach. He has led his teams to 20 or more wins every season since 1992--a span of 20 straight years--with the 1999 Rams setting the school's single-season record for winning percentage after going 30-3 (.909). He has also turned CSU's home court, Moby Arena, into one of the most hostile in the nation, compiling a 211-27 (.887) all-time record in Fort Collins, in addition to bringing in attendance figures that set a MW single-match record in 2011 (6,750) and continuously rank in the top 15 nationally. Hilbert also has 38 wins against nationally ranked teams to his credit, including defeats against No. 5 Nebraska and No. 13 Oregon in 2011, and No. 1 UCLA in 2000.
Before coming to CSU, Hilbert led Idaho to the Eastern Division title in 1996 (its first season in the Big West), and in the Big Sky Conference his teams won either the regular season or the tournament championship from 1992-95.
Hilbert accumulated a 174-72 (.707) record at Idaho, and he coached the Big Sky's only All-American in Mindy Rice. Hilbert also guided Idaho to its first national ranking, and the Vandals were the first Big Sky institution to ever be nationally ranked.
Prior to Idaho, Hilbert spent five seasons as an assistant at his alma mater, the University of Oklahoma, from 1984-88.
A native of Norman, Okla., Hilbert earned his bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing from OU in 1984. He also received a master's in sports and recreation management from Idaho in 1993.
Hilbert has resided in Fort Collins for 15 years and has a daughter, Myles, who will be 12 in September.
Brook Coulter joined the Colorado State women's volleyball coaching staff on Jan. 26, 2012, as associate head coach. She will work will all aspects of the volleyball program.
"We're very excited to have Brook on our staff," Head Coach Tom Hilbert said. "She's going to make an immediate impact at CSU. She's a great coach, and she can relate very well to players."
By coaching at CSU, Coulter is able to return to her hometown. A 1996 graduate of Rocky Mountain High School in Fort Collins, Colo., Coulter spent her childhood watching CSU volleyball. She attended matches at Moby Arena and beginning at the age of 14, even kept a three-ring binder full of newspaper clippings about the program.
Coulter spent one season as an assistant coach at Georgia, training the outside hitters and liberos, as well as coordinating camps, planning freshman transition and working with academics.
Prior to her time in Athens, Coulter was an assistant coach at the University of Denver for four seasons (2007-10). There, she worked with the team's outside hitters and defensive specialists, in addition to many off-the-court aspects of the program. The Pioneers went 77-54 during her tenure, including a program-best 25-7 mark in 2008.
Coulter has also spent her time coaching away from the college venue. In 2011, she was an assistant coach for a USA Volleyball Junior A2 team, and in 2009, she was the head coach for USA Volleyball's high performance A3 camp. The year prior, in 2008, she was an assistant to the bronze medal-winning USA Volleyball Open Adult Championship team. She also founded the Green Valley Ranch 12-and-under Starlings Club program. In June 2009, the Starlings captured the bronze medal at the Starlings National Championship in San Diego, Calif.
Prior to her coaching career, Coulter was a standout player. She played professionally in Europe from 2002-07, competing for teams in Austria, Spain, Germany and Slovenia. She was also employed by Bring It Promotions, where she directed and organized international tours throughout Slovenia and Eastern Europe.
In 2002, before playing overseas, she was an assistant coach at the University of Nevada, where she organized summer camps and maintained a recruiting database.
In college, Coulter was a four-year starter and three-year captain at the University of California. The outside hitter was named to the all-Pac-10 freshman team in 1996 and was a two-time member of the Pac-10 honorable mention squad. Today, she still ranks first all-time in Cal's record book in service aces (162), and ranks eighth in attempts (3,066) and ninth in digs (1,121). She recorded 56 aces during the 1998 season (third all-time at Cal) and set a Cal single-match aces record with nine against Oregon in 1998. She also coached the Golden Bear Volleyball Club while playing at Cal.
Coulter completed her bachelor of arts in integrative biology in May 2001 and was a physical therapy aide at the Nevada Physical Therapy-Orthopedic and Sports Rehabilitation Clinic upon graduation. Her parents still live in Fort Collins.
Colorado State volleyball Head Coach Tom Hilbert hired Matthew Botsford on April 26, 2012, completing his 2012 staff. He works primarily with CSU's blockers and middle attackers.
Botsford, who has 13 years of collegiate assistant coaching experience under his belt, not to mention several stints internationally, both as a coach and player, joins the CSU staff after one season as the head coach for the Swedish club team, Lindesberg Volley.
In his first season with Lindesberg, Botsford led his team to its first-ever appearance in the finals of Sweden's top league. There, Lindesberg knocked off the defending champions in the semifinals, before sweeping the championship match to win the Swedish Elite Series. With the title, Lindesberg qualified for the CEV Volleyball Challenge Cup. Botsford coached players from all over the world, including athletes from Poland, America, Ukraine and Sweden.
Botsford has spent more than a decade as an assistant at the collegiate level, coaching several universities, including Notre Dame and Miami.
From 2008-10, Botsford coached three Fighting Irish All-Americans--Jamel Nicholas, Christina Kaelin and Serinity Phillips--and dealt with the development of the outside hitters and middle blockers, and the coordination of off-campus recruiting and scouting. During his stint, he also helped sign a pair of top-25 recruiting classes. Notre Dame won the Big East regular-season title in 2009, advancing the NCAA tournament.
In four years (2004-07) as an assistant for Miami, Botsford tutored a trio of All-Americans in Val Tipiana, Frannie Savage and Karla Johnson. He also helped recruit Arielle Cook, Miami's first-ever Fab 50 recruit.
Prior to 2004, he was an assistant for three seasons (2001-03) at IUPUI, helping lead a number of players to success on the court, including two-time Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Year, Rebekah Pallikan. He also was the interim head coach at his alma mater, Tri-State University, for the both the men's and women's teams in 1998, followed by a one-year stint with the University of Indianapolis (1999).
Aside from the college game, Botsford has spent time as a coach with Circle City Volleyball Club (Ind.) and Prairie Heights High School (Ind.). He also served on the coaching staff of the USA Volleyball Girls Select A1 Team for the 2007 USA Volleyball High Performance Championships in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. He returned to help lead the program in 2008 and 2009, as well.
Botsford played collegiately at Tri-State University from 1995-98, and led the Thunder to its first NAIA/MIVA championship. He was a four-time all-conference and academic all-conference selection, and finished his collegiate career as the school's all-time leader in kills, blocks and digs. In 2006, he was inducted into the Tri-State University athletic hall of fame.
His playing career continued overseas, as he spent three years on the Midwest Professional Volleyball Association (MPVA) beach volleyball tour. In 2000, he was named the Extreme Volleyball Professionals Rookie of the Year, and a year later was named to the MPVA "Dream Team", which consisted of the top six players on the tour. Botsford won a bronze medal at the 2002 USAV Open Championships in Dallas, Texas, and was selected to the all-tournament team while competing for the Surf City Volleyball Club.
In 2003, he played for the Vingaker Volleyball Club in Sweden, and was one of the team's most prolific players, leading the squad in blocks and hitting percentage throughout the playoffs. He guided Vingaker to the finals of the Swedish Elite Series and a berth in the European CEV Cup for the first time in the team's 30-year history.
He graduated from Tri-State University in 1998 with a degree in social studies education. He received his master's degree in business administration from the University of Indianapolis in 2004.