The Colorado State women’s volleyball program has become synonymous with consistent winning under the guidance and direction of Head Coach Tom Hilbert, who enters his 23rd season with the Rams and his 31st overall as a collegiate head coach in 2019.
With 11 Mountain West Coach of the Year awards to his credit in the league’s 20-year history, it is clear why Hilbert’s program has risen to the top 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 in 2006, the Rams have developed into one of the top programs in the nation, qualifying for the NCAA tournament all 22 seasons under his guidance. Overall, CSU has played in 24 consecutive tournaments dating back to 1995, which ranks seventh nationally. The stretch also includes six Regional Semifinals appearances (Sweet 16) and 15 first-round victories.
Through the 2018 campaign, Hilbert owns a career record of 735-206 (.781), including a 561-134 (.807) mark during his tenure at Colorado State. Hilbert boasts a 280-40 (.875) record in conference play since coming to Fort Collins in 1997.
At the end of 2018, Hilbert ranks 8th among active Division I head coaches (13th all-time) for winning percentage (.782), and 10th for total wins (712). Of those ranked in the top 20 for wins, Hilbert has coached the second-fewest total matches, owning a career record of 712-198. With the Rams’ win vs. San Jose State on Oct. 13, 2017, Hilbert became just the 10th coach in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball history to record at least 700 victories and a career winning percentage above .780.
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. The seven-year streak was the longest of its kind in the NCAA through 2015. In all, Hilbert has orchestrated 15 regular-season MW titles in 20 years, also adding five conference tournament championships in nine opportunities. The 20 total titles are more than all other MW teams -- past and present -- combined. CSU is 280-40 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 13 players who have earned AVCA All-America selections, including five in the past eight years. On four occasions, a Ram has been named a Volleyball Magazine All-American, and 30 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 14 MW Player-of-the-Year awards in the league’s 20-year history, and a total of 92 all-conference selections.
In addition to 16 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 27-consecutive seasons, including the final five at Idaho and every year while 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 undefeated in conference play for the second time (2003) with a 18-0 record against Mountain West foes and reaching a peak national ranking of No. 9.
With six freshmen seeing playing time (including four regularly starting) and only having one senior, CSU went 21-9 (15-3 MW) in 2016, finishing second in the conference and reaching its 22nd consecutive NCAA Tournament.
Colorado State returned to its championship caliber in 2017, adding its 14th Mountain West Championship trophy to the case. The Rams finished 29-4 and 17-1 in the conference, while defeating a pair of opponents in No. 16 Michigan and No. 15 Florida State - both within a week of each other. CSU made its 23rd consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, rematching with Michigan in the first round. During the season, the Rams were ranked as high as 19 in the AVCA Poll set a program and MW record earning six conference selections.
Looking to win back-to-back Mountain West Championships, the Rams sat at 3-2 after the first two weeks of league action, losing a pair of road matches. CSU refocused and won the next 12 matches, including nine sweeps, to win it's 15th regular season championship and head to the NCAA Tournament for the 24th consecutive season.
Hilbert has also turned CSU's home court, Moby Arena, into one of the most effective in the nation, compiling a 313-38(.892) all-time home record. The Rams are 46-50 at Moby against ranked opponents, most recently defeating No. 16 Michigan on Sept. 8, 2017. Hilbert has 45 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 setting (at the time) a school- and conference-record 7,018 vs. Wisconsin on Sept. 6. Since, the Rams set a new program- and conference-record 7,745 in their 2018 season opener against No. 12 Illinois.
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). Losing a Mountain West match in Moby is also a rare occurrence - one that has happened only twice in the last eight seasons. The Rams' carried a 45-match MW home streak into the 2018 season, ended in the league finale against New Mexico on Nov. 17.
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.
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 best winning percentage 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.
Associate Head Coach
Emily Kohan enters her fourth season with the Colorado State volleyball coaching staff in 2019. The associate head coach was hired by Head Coach Tom Hilbert on Jan. 8, 2016 as an assistant before being promoted to associate head coach in August 2019. Kohan works primarily with the team's passing, defense and serving, in addition to handling a large portion of its recruiting.
In 2017, CSU went 29-4 overall and 17-1 in the Mountain West earning its 14th Mountain West title and eighth of the last nine seasons. The Rams set a record with six players earning All-Mountain West honors, including Player of the Year and All-American-HM Katie Oleksak. Kohan guided new libero Amanda Young to help lead the Rams' defense to the top of the conference in holding opponents to a .182 hitting efficiency. Colorado State also led the conference in aces/set and tied the modern-scoring record for aces in a single season. Kohan also represented the conference as an assistant coach for the Mountain West All-Stars in the European Global Challenge.
In her first season Colorado State went 21-9 and 15-3 in the conference, qualifying for the NCAA tournament for the 22nd consecutive time. The Rams received five All-Mountain West honors and freshman setter Katie Oleksak was named an honorable mention All-American.
Kohan is also instrumental in the program’s academic success as CSU has had a Mountain West leading 10 Academic-All-Conference selections and the program’s all-time high cumulative GPA during her tenure. The Rams also received one CoSIDA Academic All-District honor during her time on staff.
Kohan was named to the 2015 American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Thirty Under 30 list, an award created to honor 30 of the up-and-coming volleyball coaches under 30 years old in the sport at all levels of the game. Of the recipients, 11 come from the Division I level. The honor is intended to recognize the sport’s up-and-coming coaches.
Kohan joined the Rams from Oregon State, where she started as a volunteer assistant coach in 2011 before becoming an assistant coach in 2012. In 2015, Kohan helped Oregon State’s freshman libero Kayla Ellis to an All-Freshman Honorable Mention season in the Pac-12, ranking second among the league’s rookies in digs. Libero Darby Reeder set the OSU single-season record for digs in 2014 with 615, placing third in the Pac-12. Kohan also mentored libero Becky Defoe for three of her four seasons at Oregon State (2011-13), which were perhaps the finest defensive seasons in program history. Defoe, who ended her career in 2013, broke the school’s record for digs in a career and is one of just 10 players in Pac-12 history with 2,000 or more.
Kohan was also the head coach of the Colorado Junior Volleyball Club for two years (2009-11), and also served as the head coach of the Boss Volleyball Club in Albany, Oregon (2011-15).
As a four-year captain at Iowa from 2005-08, Kohan finished second all-time in digs (1,929) and 12th in service aces (97). She also earned Academic All-District honors twice and Big Ten Academic Honors three times. Kohan graduated from Iowa in 2009 with a Bachelor of Business Administration, majoring in finance and marketing, while earning a minor in Spanish.
Emily married her husband Patrick Kohan in 2017.
Adrianna Culbert enters her first season with Colorado State volleyball in 2019. The assistant was hired by Head Coach Tom Hilbert June 17, 2019. Culbert works primarily with the team's middle blockers and blocking strategy, in addition to assisting with social media, recruiting and opponent scout.
The former Rams All-American had a remarkable career, earning more than 25 awards and honors from 2012-15. As a senior, she recorded the NCAA's first quadruple-double in more than five years, collecting 10 kills, 11 blocks, 20 assists and 13 digs against San Jose State. She was named the Mountain West Player of the Year and a third-team AVCA All-American at the conclusion of the season, and was named the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame female collegiate athlete of the year.
"Dri is one of the top three pure all-around volleyball players I've ever coached," Hilbert said. "Her talents are due to her drive and her incredible eye for the game. These traits also make for a great coach. She has proven herself at Northern Colorado and I feel confident she will be an immediate contributor on our staff. Culbert's knowledge and expertise as a player and coach should allow for a smooth transition for her return home to CSU."
Upon finishing her undergraduate degree, Culbert attended the University of South Carolina as a graduate student, playing one season on the beach volleyball team and earning a spot USA Volleyball Collegiate Beach Pairs Championship in 2017. During the indoor season, she served first as a graduate student manager, then was elevated to an assistant coach. She was then hired as an assistant coach at Northern Colorado in January of 2017, and spent two years as a coach with the NORCO Volleyball Club.
A chance to return to her alma mater was too enticing to pass up.
"My experience at CSU was filled with so many wonderful memories and growth opportunities, and when I look back at why that is, it's because of the amazing people I was surrounded by. The community and the Ramily that CSU volleyball is surrounded and immersed with is so special," Culbert said. "To have the opportunity to help impact the team and program the way I was as a player is an incredible blessing. I am so thankful I get to help the players create memories, experiences, and lessons that will be able to last a life time. I'm extremely excited I get to once again call CSU home!"
Director of Volleyball Operations
Former Rams standout Bri Olmstead enters her 13th season as a full-time member with the Colorado State staff in 2019, and eighth as the program's director of operations. She is responsible for all off-the-court duties, including scheduling, travel logistics and the organization of CSU's summer camps. She is the program's first-ever director of operations, a position which was created prior to the 2012 season.
Olmstead, formerly Bri Frech, first joined the Rams as a player in 2003 after spending her freshman and sophomore seasons at Salt Lake City Community College. During the 2003 and 2004 seasons, Olmstead was a consistent starter for the Rams, earning All-Mountain West (2004) and MW Championships honors (2003, 2004) while leading CSU to NCAA bids both years and a combined 56-9 record (.862). As a junior, CSU advanced to the NCAA Regional Semifinals, and during Olmstead's senior season, the Rams were ranked as high as No. 9 nationally. Olmstead was a rare six-rotation middle blocker due to her exceptional serving and passing ability.
Today, she still ranks first in CSU volleyball history with 0.41 aces per set, totaling 92 over her two-year career. Her 1.22 career blocks-per-set average ranks eighth, and her .956 reception percentage ranks seventh. In 2003, she recorded 51 service aces, the sixth-most in CSU single-season history. Olmstead holds several of CSU's top individual single-match marks, as well, including a .654 hitting percentage (19-2-26) against Florida A&M on Aug. 30, 2003 (fourth-best for five-set matches), seven aces vs. New Mexico on Nov. 15, 2003 (tied-second for three-set matches) and 10 block assists on two occasions (tied-second for three-set matches).
Off the court, she was an outstanding student-athlete, something she's been able to carry over as a member of the Rams staff. Olmstead was a two-time Mountain West Academic All-Conference selection, and in 2003-04 became the program's first-ever Mountain West Scholar-Athlete.
In 2005, Olmstead served as a student-assistant for the Rams while completing her degree. She then played professionally in France for MVS La Rochette during the 2006 season. Her club finished second in the French league that year.
Olmstead returned to Fort Collins in 2007 to pursue a career in coaching. She was the team's video and statistics coordinator during the 2007 season, before joining the staff full-time as an assistant coach from 2008-11. As an assistant, her emphasis was on first-contact defense, serving and scouting.
She tutored the school's top libero, Katelin Batten (2006-09), who holds the CSU record for career digs (1,783). On the serving end, CSU set a program record for serve percentage in 2011, effectively serving at a 92.4 percent rate. The statistic began being tracked in 2001, and from 2009 to 2011, all under Olmstead, CSU had its top three percentages at the time.
From 2008-11, CSU won three conference titles and advanced as far as the 2009 NCAA Round of 16. CSU's overall record with Olmstead on the bench as an assistant coach was 98-24 (.803), including at least one NCAA tournament victory each year. Of Olmstead's 12 seasons with CSU, in any capacity, the Rams have won 10 regular-season conference titles, in addition to three conference tournament championships in four tries. CSU has played in the NCAA tournament all 12 seasons with Olmstead.
A native of Eschwege, Germany, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from CSU in 2005. She is married to Charlie Olmstead and has two daughters Lilly and AJ. Olmstead resides in Loveland, Colo.