Sports

VOLLEYBALL: Head coach’s 24-year tenure ends after disappointing season


Five days after the women’s volleyball team was eliminated from the Conference USA Tournament, head coach Bill Walton resigned.

The move, which was announced Wednesday, comes after Walton’s squad had one of its roughest seasons during his tenure. The Cougars finished this year with a 9-23 record after losing to Southern Miss in the first round of the conference tournament.

Walton said he was disappointed that seniors Alik Cardoso de Sa and Kinsey Cave, who played on a 20-win team last season, were unable to enjoy the same success this year.

Whatever he does from here, Walton has paid his dues and his coaching resume and career record at UH of 458-319 speaks for itself.

He began his coaching career in 1981 at Elmhurst and led the Division III school to national championships in 1983 and 85.

In 1986, Walton arrived at UH and served as head volleyball coach for 24 seasons. His term is the fourth-longest tenure for a UH coach, ranking behind golf’s Dave Williams (1952-87), basketball’s Guy V. Lewis (1956-86) and football’s Bill Yeoman (1962-86).

In those 24 years, Walton had 17 consecutive winning seasons (1986-2002). He was named Southwest Conference Coach of the Year in 1992 and 1994.

Perhaps Walton’s best season was in 1994, when the Cougars were still in the Southwest Conference. UH went 26-7, won the conference title and advanced to the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament before falling to UCLA.

In 1990, Walton led the Cougars to a No. 1 seed in the National Invitational Volleyball Championship. The ranking proved to be accurate, as UH claimed the tournament’s title.

Under Walton, the Cougars appeared in the NCAA Tournament 11 times and won 20 games on 14 occasions. Walton also produced 63 All-Conference players, including Cave, who was named to C-USA’s 2009 squad.

No replacement candidates have been identified yet.

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