(Nashua, N.H.) Longtime Rivier University Head Volleyball Coach and Associate Athletic Director Craig Kolek recently reached a milestone that no other collegiate head coach has accomplished before. He entered this fall with an incredible 453-225 record after spending the past 21 seasons as the Head Coach for Men's Volleyball here at Rivier and recently, Kolek was able to capture win #400 with the Women's Volleyball program in his 19th season behind the bench. The magical win came against Skidmore College on September 2nd at the Springfield College Invitational (a 3-1 win).
He becomes the first coach in NCAA history across all three divisions to compile over 400 wins for the men and 400 wins for the women. Currently, Kolek is 404-180 as the Women's Head Coach (.692 winning percentage). His 453 wins on the Men's side ranks him as the second most winningest coach in NCAA Division III history and 9th all-time in NCAA MVB Division I, II and III history. The only coach who is ahead of Kolek in Division III history is Patrick Dorywalski of Stevens Institute of Technology who has 562 career wins over 27 seasons.
"I'm obviously very humbled about this milestone but there is also an enormous sense of pride and satisfaction." said Coach Kolek when asked about becoming the first coach in history to enter the 400-400 club. "There are not many coaches in the country that have coached two separate teams together for any sport for this amount of time. Looking back at all the years I can say the sacrifice to coach both teams was at times overwhelming and a huge chunk of my life was invested in Rivier to get the program where I wanted it to be but I also know how much my family and friends sacrificed as well. There is no way this would have happened without the support of my parents, my brother and his family, my athletic director, and of course my fiancée".
Over his time here at Rivier, which extends over 20 years, Coach Kolek has coached numerous All-Conference student-athletes, GNAC Players/Rookies/Liberos of the Year along with capturing six Great Northeast Athletic Conference Women's Volleyball Championships and seven GNAC Men's Volleyball Championships. He has coached the Men's program to the NCAA Division III Final Four and was ranked #1 overall in the AVCA Coaches Poll back on February 11, 2014. After the 2006 season, in which his Men's team captured the NECVA Championship, Kolek was selected as the AVCA National Coach of the Year.
"It's also important to note just how instrumental RIV Nation was in this as well." Kolek continued. "The character of all the players and assistant coaches that have represented Rivier volleyball over the years is even more humbling than the milestone. They are the reason why I have coached and continue to coach. I've had the opportunity to form lasting relationships with quality people while sharing our lives on and off the court. It's a relationship I take seriously and have enjoyed and I know Rivier as a whole has benefitted from being touched by such great people. Their loyalty has made Rivier Volleyball into a second family and it's awesome. There is nothing else out there like it and I couldn't be prouder".