Poletto dominates as Rams improve to 6-0 in MW play
Cizmic tallies team-best 14 kills as Rams hit. 500 for the match
Poletto adds eight kills, eight blocks in win
Hanna, Poletto post double-digit kills in season-opening win
CSU has been ranked in 15 preseason polls under Coach Hilbert
Colorado State student-athletes interact with children at Ram Jam. Photos by Don Reichert.
2015 CSU Volleyball Banquet - Jan. 21, 2016
CSU Vs. Iowa State
The Colorado State women's volleyball program has become synonymous with consistent winning under the guidance and tutelage of Head Coach Tom Hilbert, who completed his 19th season with the Rams and his 27th overall as a collegiate head coach in 2015.
With nine Mountain West Coach of the Year awards to his credit in the league's 17-year history, it is clear why Hilbert's program has risen to the top of the league and has become a stalwart on the national stage as a perennial top-25 team.
Under Hilbert, who was inducted into 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 all 19 seasons. Overall, CSU has played in 21 consecutive tournaments dating back to 1995, which ranks seventh nationally. The stretch also includes six Regional Semifinals appearances (Sweet 16) and 13 first-round victories.
Through the 2015 campaign, Hilbert owns a career record of 662-185 (.782), including a 488-113 (.812) mark during his tenure at CSU. After leading the Rams to an unblemished 18-0 league mark in 2015, Hilbert boasts a 257-37 overall record in conference play since coming to Fort Collins in 1997.
Entering 2015, Hilbert ranked 10th among active Division I head coaches (14th all-time) for winning percentage (.778), and 17th for total wins (636). Of those ranked in the top 20 for wins, Hilbert had coached the fewest total matches, owning a career record of 636-181. With the Rams' win vs. Nevada on Nov. 9, 2013, Hilbert became just the 10th coach in NCAA Division I women's volleyball history to record at least 600 victories and a career winning percentage above .770.
On Nov. 4, 2010, he became the winningest coach in any sport in CSU history, earning a victory over UNLV, his 353rd in Fort Collins. The win surpassed former men's basketball coach Jim Williams' mark of 352 victories. A year prior, Hilbert eclipsed the 500-win mark for his career. At the time, he was one of just two active coaches with more than 500 victories and fewer than 22 years of head coaching experience. Also in 2009, the veteran coach earned his 300th career win at CSU, moving ahead of his predecessor, Rich Feller, who won 299 matches from 1983-96.
The Rams won a seventh consecutive Mountain West championship in 2015, also earning regular-season titles in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. CSU is the only school in the NCAA to win its conference each of the past seven seasons. In all, Hilbert has orchestrated 13 regular-season MW titles in 17 years, also adding five conference tournament championships in nine opportunities. The 18 total titles are more than all other MW teams -- past and present -- combined. CSU is 233-33 in MW action under Hilbert, never finishing lower than third. What's more, in 1998, CSU's final season in the WAC, the Rams won the Mountain Division. Of those who have played four seasons for the Rams under Hilbert, each has won at least two conference titles, with all but three winning three or more.
While at CSU, Hilbert has coached 10 players who have earned AVCA All-America selections, including five in the past five years. On four occasions, a Ram has been named a Volleyball Magazine All-American, and 25 times one of Hilbert's players has been named All-America Honorable Mention by either the AVCA or Volleyball Magazine. Under Hilbert, CSU has also earned 12 MW Player-of-the-Year awards in the league's 16-year history, and a total of 77 all-conference selections.
In addition to 14 total conference coach-of-the-year awards, Hilbert was named the 2013 AVCA Pacific North Region Coach of the Year, his second regional honor during a three-year period and fifth of his career. He was recognized at the NCAA Final Four in Seattle, Wash.
Hilbert has led his teams to 20 or more wins every season since 1992, a span of 24-consecutive seasons, including the final five at Idaho and first 18 at CSU.
Expected to be a rebuilding year after graduating four senior starters, the 2013 Rams rewrote the CSU and Mountain West record books, winning their first 27 matches and finishing the season with a .933 winning percentage -- a program record.
The Rams carried over the momentum to 2014, a year in which CSU went 31-3 and advanced the Regional Semifinals of the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009.
CSU switched to a 6-2 offense for the 2015 season, and did not miss a beat in league play, going 18-0 against Mountain West foes and reaching a peak national ranking of No. 9.
Hilbert has also turned CSU's home court, Moby Arena, into one of the most effective in the nation, compiling a 272-31 (.898) all-time home record. The Rams are 26-14 at Moby against ranked opponents, most recently defeating No. 19 Colorado in the second round of the 2014 NCAA tournament. Hilbert has 43 total wins against ranked teams, including upsetting No. 1 UCLA in 2000.
With big wins come big crowds. The CSU faithful continuously rank in the top 15 nationally for annual attendance figures. The Rams ranked sixth in the NCAA in 2014, drawing 3,231 fans per match, including a school- and conference-record 7,018 vs. Wisconsin on Sept. 6. Between Sept. 18, 1998 and Nov. 18, 2000, CSU rattled off 44-consecutive home wins, a Moby Arena record for any sport. More recently, CSU has strung together streaks of 21 (2007-08 and 2012-13), 20 (2000-02) and 16 (2011-12).
CSU has been ranked in the AVCA top-25 poll more frequently than all but 12 Division I teams, with many of those rankings coming under Hilbert. In fact, Hilbert led CSU to its highest-ever ranking -- No. 3 for five weeks in 2000. On two occasions (2000, 2001), CSU has finished the year ranked in the top 10, and between Sept. 1, 1999 and Sept. 23, 2002, CSU was ranked 51 consecutive weeks. Through the 2015 season, the Rams have been ranked in 45 consecutive polls.
Away from the court, Hilbert's teams have set the tone academically. During his tenure, two players have earned Academic All-America honors - Angela Knopf in 2000 and 2001 and Dana Cranston in 2012. Additionally, the Rams have earned 85 academic all-conference nods under Hilbert's guidance, including 43 over the past five seasons. His team's cumulative GPA continues to be well above 3.0.
Before coming to CSU, Hilbert accumulated a 174-72 (.707) record at Idaho -- which remains the most wins by a coach in Idaho history. He helped the Vandals to the Big West Eastern Division title in 1996, and in the Big Sky, his teams won either the regular season or tournament championship every year from 1992-95. In each of those seasons, Hilbert's Vandals played in the NCAA tournament - posting first-round wins in 1993 and 1994 - and Hilbert was named the Big Sky Coach of the Year.
In his first season in Moscow, the Vandals went 15-14, a drastic improvement from the program's combined 16-41 mark from the two prior seasons. Just five years later, in 1994, Idaho recorded a program-record 31 victories (31-3). Hilbert coached the Big Sky's first All-American in Mindy Rice. He also guided Idaho to its first national ranking - the first-ever ranking by a Big Sky team. In addition to Rice, Hilbert tutored nine AVCA All-Region selections, four Big Sky MVPs and 20 all-conference recipients.
Prior to Idaho, Hilbert spent five seasons as an assistant at his alma mater, Oklahoma, from 1984-88. The Sooners went 115-56 (.673) in Hilbert's five seasons in Norman, including two trips to the NCAA tournament and an appearance in the 1988 Regional Finals.
Away from the college game, Hilbert has coached several international trips through Bring It Promotions, including winning the Global Challenge in 2009 in Croatia and coaching a USA Select Team in Argentina in 2005.
A native of Norman, Okla., Hilbert earned his bachelor's degree in business administration and marketing in 1984 from Oklahoma. In 1993, he received a master's degree in sports and recreation management from Idaho. Hilbert has resided in Fort Collins since 1997 with his daughter, Myles.
AWARDS & HONORS
- 2013 AVCA Pacific North Region Coach of the Year
- 2013 Mountain West Coach of the Year
- 2011 AVCA West Region Coach of the Year
- 2011 Mountain West Coach of the Year
- 2009 Mountain West Coach of the Year
- 2007 Mountain West Coach of the Year
- 2003 Mountain West Coach of the Year
- 2002 Mountain West Coach of the Year
- 2001 Mountain West Coach of the Year
- 2000 Mountain West Coach of the Year
- 1999 Mountain West Coach of the Year
- 1998 WAC Coach of the Year (Mountain Division)
- 1995 AVCA Northwest Region Coach of the Year
- 1995 Big Sky Coach of the Year
- 1994 AVCA Northwest Region Coach of the Year
- 1994 Big Sky Coach of the Year
- 1993 AVCA Northwest Region Coach of the Year
- 1993 Big Sky Coach of the Year
- 1992 Big Sky Coach of the Year
|1997-Present||Colorado State||Head Coach|
|1987||Oklahoma||Assistant Coach||NCAA Tournament First Round|
|1988||Oklahoma||Assistant Coach||NCAA Tournament Regional Finals|
|1992||Idaho||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament First Round|
|1993||Idaho||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament Regional Quarterfinals|
|1994||Idaho||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament Regional Quarterfinals|
|1995||Idaho||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament First Round|
|1997||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament Regional Quarterfinals|
|1998||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament Regional Quarterfinals|
|1999||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinals|
|2000||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinals|
|2001||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinals|
|2002||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament First Round|
|2003||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinals|
|2004||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament First Round|
|2005||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament Regional Quarterfinals|
|2006||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament First Round|
|2007||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament Regional Quarterfinals|
|2008||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament Regional Quarterfinals|
|2009||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinals|
|2010||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament Regional Quarterfinals|
|2011||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament Regional Quarterfinals|
|2012||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament First Round|
|2013||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament First Round|
|2014||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament Regional Semifinals|
|2015||Colorado State||Head Coach||NCAA Tournament First Round|
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