(Photo by BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah — Brigham Young University director of athletics Tom Holmoe today announced the appointment of Heather Olmstead as the new women’s volleyball head coach at BYU. She takes over from Shawn Olmstead, who guided the program from 2011-14.
Heather joined the BYU women’s volleyball staff as an assistant coach in 2011 and was later promoted to associate head coach in January 2014. Over the past four seasons she helped guide the Cougars to four straight Deseret Duel titles, two WCC championships, three trips to the round of 16 at the NCAA Championships, and coached five AVCA All-Americans.
“We are pleased to announce Heather as our new women’s volleyball coach,” said Holmoe. “She has been an integral part of the continued success and development of our nationally recognized women’s program over the past four seasons. Heather is passionate about volleyball and has an incredible desire to help our student-athletes improve. As a former collegiate volleyball player and coach for three different programs over a 13-year period, she understands the profession well and knows what it takes to be successful. We are excited to have her lead our women’s volleyball program.”
This past fall Olmstead helped lead BYU women’s volleyball to its most successful season in school history, going 30-5 and advancing to the national championship match at the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history. In doing so, the Cougars became the first unseeded team in NCAA history to make it to the final match, upsetting No. 11 Arizona, No. 6 Florida State, No. 14 Nebraska and No. 2 Texas along the way.
BYU also went 16-2 in conference play to win the WCC title for the second time in the past four seasons. In addition to all the team success, three Cougars — Jennifer Hamson, Alexa Gray and Amy Boswell — were named AVCA All-Americans.
“I’m humbled and excited to lead the BYU women’s volleyball program into the future,” Olmstead said. “I would like to thank President Worthen, Vice President Richardson and Tom Holmoe for the confidence they have in me to continue the rich women’s volleyball tradition both academically and athletically at BYU. I’m extremely honored to continue to develop relationships with the wonderful young women on our team. I’m excited to get in the gym and continue preparing for the 2015 season.”
Before coming to BYU, Olmstead served as an assistant coach at Utah from 2006-11, where she helped guide the Utes to two NCAA tournament appearances and an overall record of 103-51 over five seasons. Prior to that she was an assistant coach at Utah State from 2003-06. She also coached the Intermountain Volleyball Association High Performance team at the 2006 Global Challenge in Maribor, Slovenia, and served as head coach of the IVA HP Select Team in Florida in July 2010.
A native of Carpinteria, California, Olmstead prepped at Carpinteria High School where she was a four-year starter and earned team most valuable player honors in 1997 after leading the Warriors to the Tri-Valley League Championship.
Olmstead attended Utah State from 1998-2001, where she was a four-year starter on the women’s volleyball team. In both 2000 and 2001, she helped the Aggies advance to the NCAA tournament and earn top-25 national rankings. As a senior in 2001, Olmstead was named Big West Female Scholar Athlete of the Year and received all-conference honorable mention recognition. She finished her career with the second-highest dig total (891) in school history and also set a new single-season record for most digs (340). Olmstead graduated from Utah State in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer science.
Olmstead was recently selected as an assistant coach of Team USA for the 2015 Pan American Games, held in Toronto, July 16-25. Olmstead will assist head coach Dan Fisher of the University of Pittsburgh. The Pan American Games are the third-largest international multi-sport games in the world. More than 40 countries and 5,000 athletes compete in the event held every four years.