Women's Volleyball Frequently Asked Questions | The Official Site of BYU Athletics

Women's Volleyball Frequently Asked Questions

What is BYU women's volleyball? 

BYU women's volleyball is one of the most successful and tradition-rich programs in the history of women's collegiate sports. BYU’s winning tradition was developed and shaped under the guidance of one of the nation’s top all-time coaches, Elaine Michaelis, who retired from coaching in May 2002 after guiding the Cougar program for 40 years. 

In the 42 seasons of its recorded history, the Cougars have only suffered two losing seasons and have won 20 or more matches in 32 of the past 33 seasons for a total of 1,082 victories. The Cougars have won 24 conference titles and appeared in 33 of 38 national championship tournaments, including 23 of 31 NCAA Tournaments. BYU has finished in the top five of the AIAW National Championships four times, made the round of eight at the NCAA Tournament eight times and reached the NCAA Final Four once. 

Individually, 23 Cougars have received 62 All-America awards, including nine AVCA/CVCA First Team, six Volleyball Magazine First Team and four Academic All-America First Team honors. 

Fourth all-time in Division I women’s volleyball victories, Michaelis achieved an 886-225-5 (.792) mark over the 33 seasons that records were maintained at BYU beginning in 1969. She guided her teams to a dominating 356-37 (.906) conference record and has the distinction of winning the inaugural conference title in five of BYU’s six leagues. In 1999, the Cougars won the regular-season championship in the first season of the Mountain West Conference and in 2000 placed second before upsetting No. 4 Colorado State on its home court to win the MWC Tournament title. BYU again took home the MWC regular-season crown in 2005. 

BYU’s national tournament record is 75-47 (.615). The Cougars have had 10 top-five and 19 top-10 national placements. BYU’s best finishes were second place in 1973, fourth place in 1978 and an NCAA semifinal appearance in 1993. In BYU’s 23 trips to the NCAA Tournament, the Cougars have placed third once, fifth seven times, ninth six times and 17th seven times. 

During Michaelis’ tenure as head coach, her peers honored her as conference coach of the year eight times. She was named the Tachikara Northwest Region Division I Coach of the Year in 1987 and NCAA District 7 Coach of the Year in 1996. For her years of dedication, Michaelis received the Volleyball Festival Distinguished Service to U.S. Volleyball Award in 1993. She also accepted the AVCA Founders Award in 1996 and USA Volleyball’s All-Time Great Coach Award in 2001. Most recently Michaelis was part of the inaugural class that was inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame, on Dec. 18, 2003. BYU’s home court in the Smith Fieldhouse was renamed in her honor in 2005 and she was inducted into the West Coast Conference Hall of Honor in 2012. 

Jason Watson began a new era in BYU women’s volleyball history when he took the reins in 2005. During that time, the Cougars returned to the ranks of national contenders, going 50-10 in that two-year span and winning the MWC title in 2005 while receiving back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths. 
Shawn Olmstead led the Cougars in their inaugural season as members of the WCC. Slated to finish the 2011 season near the bottom of the conference, Olmstead guided the Cougars to a 21-9 season (10-6 in conference play) and a third-place finish, proving to the league BYU was there to compete.

How has BYU fared in the West Coast Conference?

In 2013, the Cougars finished in second place in the West Coast Conference with a 15-3 league record. Coach Shawn Olmstead led his team to a 24-7 overall record and a second-consecutive trip to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament. Alexa Gray was named an AVCA Third-Team All-American and Whitney Young was named WCC Freshman of the Year. Additionally, four other Cougars received WCC postseason accolades.

Named West Coast Conference and Pacific Region coach of the year for 2012, Olmstead led the Cougars to their first conference title since 2005 and best season record (28-4, 13-3 WCC) since 1998. Olmstead and the Cougars hosted the first two rounds of the 2012 NCAA tournament before losing in the round of 16 to No. 5 seeded Oregon. (Oregon went on to play for the championship againsts Texas.) All-American Jennifer Hamson raked in awards, including two All-America honors, All-Pacific Region First Team and WCC Player of the Year. Four of Olmstead's starters received All-America awards and All-Pacific Region awards, and five Cougars received postseason conference recognition.

Olmstead led the team to a 21-9 overall record and 10-6 league record in BYU's first year in the West Coast Conference in 2011. Two Cougars were named to the post season all-conference team and two were named to the academic all-conference team.


How did BYU fare in the Mountain West Conference (1999-2011)?

The Cougars had a 125-55 (.694) regular-season record in 11 years of MWC play after finishing second in 2006 with a 13-3 mark. 

BYU won the inaugural regular-season title in 1999 with a 13-1 record and finished second in 2000 with a 12-2 mark. BYU appeared in the MWC Tournament title match in each of the first two seasons, winning the title over Colorado State in Fort Collins in 2000 after losing the 1999 title to the Rams in Provo. The Cougars also appeared in the title match in 2005 after winning the regular-season crown, losing to Utah in Las Vegas. The Utes also won the 2001 and 2002 crowns in Provo and Fort Collins, respectively, while Colorado State captured the 2003 title in San Diego, the 2004 crown on its home court and the 2006 Championship in Las Vegas. 

Six of the nine MWC programs have competed in postseason action in the eight years since the league was formed. In 2006, three MWC teams earned NCAA bids, including BYU (at-large), Utah (at-large) and Colorado State (automatic). Overall, BYU has made 23 NCAA appearances, followed by Colorado State with 18, SDSU with 13, Utah with nine, New Mexico with seven and Wyoming with four. 

In 2006, BYU was ranked as high as No. 16 in the CSTV/USA Today Top 25 poll while Utah finished the season ranked 15th. 

BYU had a winning record over every MWC team when it moved to the WCC in 2011.

How can I get a media guide? 

Media guides are only available online. Volleyball media guides are no longer printed, but can be viewed for free on the media guide page.

How can I buy tickets? 

Visit BYU's online ticket office at www.byutickets.com, or call the Marriott Center ticket office at 378-BYU1 or 1-800-322-BYU1. General admission tickets are available at the Smith Fieldhouse ticket office generally an hour and a half prior to game time. Student All-Sport Passes are valid for general admission. 

How do I get to the match and where can I park?

BYU women's volleyball matches are played at the Smith Fieldhouse, located on BYU's lower campus at 1050 North 150 East in Provo. Parking is available in the lots across from the indoor practice facility (northwest of the Fieldhouse) and on the other side of the tennis courts to the south. For more information and directions to the venue, visit www.byutickets.com and click on the Venues link on the left menu. 

How long has the women's volleyball program existed at BYU?

Women's volleyball was first formally organized at BYU as one of four women's sports to compete against other four-year Utah schools beginning in 1949 with "Sports Days." In 1956, a bigger push was made to increase participation of women's sports in regional tournaments. With the push, BYU hired JoAnn Calderwood to coach the volleyball squad and other women's programs, which she did until leaving BYU in 1961. The women's program was taken over by one of her former players, Elaine Michaelis, who prepared the Cougars for national competition, which began in 1969. In 2002, Michaelis retired from coaching and one of her former players, Karen Lamb, was appointed as the third head women's volleyball coach in BYU history. Jason Watson became the first male head coach of the program in 2005, winning MWC Coach of the Year honors in his first year. Shay Goulding became head coach in 2008, followed by the second male head coach, Shawn Olmstead, who began his time at the helm of the team in 2011.