Yesterday, Bowdoin named Erin Cady as the school’s next women’s volleyball coach. The position was left vacant after Karen Corey stepped down immediately following the end of the team’s 2014 season. 

For the past four seasons, Cady served as the head coach of the College of Holy Cross volleyball team. Before her time at Holy Cross, she played D-I volleyball at the University of New Hampshire and then professionally for the SWE-Volley team in Erfurt, Germany.

Cady will be the Polar Bears’ fourth coach in the 29 years of the volleyball program. After having only four winning seasons in its first 20 years, the team thrived under Corey’s leadership.

In her nine seasons as Head Coach, the team never had a sub-.500 record, and from 2007-2012 the team boasted a home win streak of 40 matches. She led the Polar Bears to a NESCAC championship in 2011 and three appearances in the D-III NCAA tournament—including two trips to the regional finals.

Cady inherited a Holy Cross team that had eight total Patriot League wins in the four years before her arrival. In her first year as coach of the Crusaders, she tied the program’s single-season conference win total with six, but only earned three, seven and seven total wins in her last three years at the helm, respectively.

Despite Cady’s relative lack of success, the team and school are encouraged by the hire. 
“[Holy Cross’ record] was definitely something that we thought about,” said captain and one of the members of the search committee, Hailey Wahl ’16. “But there are a lot of factors that go into having a winning season and often times it doesn’t necessarily speak to your qualities as a coach. Holy Cross is a lot more focused on other sports and does not pay as much attention to volleyball as they may to say hockey.” 

“We are excited to welcome Erin to the Bowdoin community as the leader of our volleyball program,” said Ashmead White Director of Athletics Tim Ryan in yesterday’s official press release. “It is evident that she cares deeply for the student-athlete experience and her track record of developing athletes on the court, supporting them in their academic endeavors and leading them in the community make her the ideal person to lead our volleyball program.”

While her record as a head coach may not have been her strongest attribute as a candidate, Cady’s passion for the sport and her commitment to her team’s players helped separate her from her competing applicants.

“We clicked very easily with her,” said Wahl. “She was very willing to be honest with us about her techniques and theories as a coach and it fit a lot with some of the qualities we wanted—open mindedness and a lot of emphasis on playing, as opposed to talking about things, [which is] different in a way [from Corey].”

Although the coach may be changing, the rest of the program should be in familiar hands. Next year’s team expects to return all 12 members of this year’s squad that made it to the NCAA regional finals—three wins away from the national championship game.

“We’re excited for her to work with and analyze the skills we already have and help support us in a lot of the things we are already successful with,” said Wahl. 

“Any change is really helpful because we are all working with the same basic skills and a new energy would be helpful.”

“Hopefully the respect that I’ve gained last year [as captain] will be helpful if there are certain challenges we face,” she added.