For many sports teams, the transition between head coaches can be tumultuous. Newly-named volleyball head coach Caroline Walters might be an exception to the rule.
“This transition will be rather seamless,” Walters said. “I feel like I have a good grasp on things and I’m very excited for the future.”
Walters, who was named head coach after Sam Crosson left to take over the head coaching job at California, was an assistant head coach to the team since 2009. In between that time, she witnessed firsthand the program’s rise to become a nationally-ranked program and the ups-and-downs along the road.
“I think you learn more from the down seasons, honestly. It was the time where we really put our heads down and worked,” Walters said. ” I think it’s a testament to those hard years [and] all of our success that we’ve had the past two seasons and we look forward to continuing that as we move forward.”
Walters trek forward began with making her first call as head coach to bring back Jason Borchin as an assistant coach to the program. Borchin, who was an assistant coach at Notre Dame during the 2018 season, played a factor in Walters’ seamless transition to her position.
“Bringing Jason back was a huge part of that because he did recruit a lot of these kids,” Walters said. “I thinking having that continuity between the things has been really special, especially with our incoming recruits.”
Borchin attributes his return to his and Walters’ mutual respect for the sport and their shared goal of taking the volleyball program to the next level.
“I respect Caroline a lot,” Borchin said. “We have the same views and beliefs for the program and when she got [the head coaching position], I just felt like coming home.”
Although the team is losing graduating seniors Adlee Van Winden and Katherine Brouker, many of the this season’s players will be returning to the squad for next season. Their departures created holes in the squad that Walters will be looking to fill this upcoming season.
“Some kids that haven’t been on the court for us a ton, I think, will have the ability to step in some roles very nicely that were created and that Katherine and Adlee set the tone for,” Walters said. “They really have taken this program to the next level, and I think all of our kids are ready to step into those roles as well.”
Crosson advised Walters to make the program her own, knowing that she can add her own unique flavor to the team after building the program over their tenure together. For Walters, this means setting the team’s bar higher for the next season, and preparing them for postseason play through tougher non-conference opponents than in seasons prior.
“I would love to take us to the second round, third round,” Walters said. “I think Sweet 16 is something that will be achievable with this group. We have a lot of time between now and then, so it’s really gonna be about getting the most out of every day between now and that time.”