Notre Dame opens the season this Friday against No. 1 UCLA in Lincoln, Neb.
A 29-year veteran head coach at Bowling Green State University, South Bend native Denise Van De Walle joined the Irish staff at the beginning of the 2012 season as a volunteer assistant coach after retiring from BGSU in 2011. She is entering her third season with the program in 2014.
During her first season with the Irish in 2012, Van De Walle helped assistant coach Robin Davis with the opponent's offense during matches. In 2013, she helped coach the setters in addition to assisting head coach Debbie Brown during matches with the Irish offense. In 2014, Van De Walle will continue to assist with the offense in addition to scouting opponents.
The winningest coach in Mid-American Conference history, Van De Walle compiled an impressive record on 527-378 at the helm of the Falcons.
While with the Falcons, Van De Walle won three MAC Championships (1989, 1991-92) and two MAC Eastern Division Championships (2000-01). She led the Falcons to winning seasons in 19 of her last 25 years with the program and put together 13 seasons with 20-plus wins, including a 30-win campaign in 1992.
She was named MAC Coach of the Year four times, winning it outright in 1986 and 1989 and sharing it in 1987 and 1992.
Off the court, she was on the USA Volleyball Board of Directors (1998-2003) and the AVCA Board of Directors (1995-2002) and was an AVCA Division I Representative (1995-2001). In 2001, Van De Walle was the President of AVCA and earned the title of Past President in 2002.
During the summer of 2012, Van De Walle was the lead administrator of the A2 program in Columbus, Ohio, and held the same position in Dallas during the summer of 2013.
In the spring of 2014, Van De Walle accepted a position as the director of volleyball at the ICE Athletic Center in Mishawaka where she will run camps and provide private lessons in addition to other tasks.
A true champion of the sport, Van De Walle was on the National Girls and Women in Sports Rules Committee (1997-2001) and was the head coach for several non-collegiate teams including the Athletes in Action International Tour (1984, 1995-96), the US Olympic Festival (1991, 1993) and the USA Volleyball Senior Elite Camp (1992). She was also an assistant coach with the Athletes in Action International Tour (1983).
Van De Walle is a former assistant coach on the USA Women's National Sitting Volleyball Team, winning a bronze medal at the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games and a silver medal at the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games.
Her many off the court awards include the Ball State University Alumnus Coach of the Year award (1977-78), the Bowling Green State University Honorary Alumnus of the Year award (2003) and the USA Volleyball George J. Fisher Leader in Volleyball Award (2007). Van De Walle was also the first female inducted into the Northwest Ohio FCA Hall of Champions.
Prior to coming to Bowling Green, Van De Walle had successful stints as an assistant at Ball State and Cal Poly. She got her career started at Northside High School in Muncie, Ind., as head coach from 1977-80, winning a state championship in 1977.
A 1976 graduate of Ball State, Van De Walle earned both a B.S. and M.A. in elementary education.