Sara Matthews, a rising star in the collegiate coaching ranks who has earned the reputation as one of the nation’s top recruiters, will enter her third season as the University of Delaware volleyball head coach in 2019.
Matthews, a standout player at James Madison and Kansas, served the last two seasons as an assistant coach at TCU and has also previously served on the staffs at USC and West Virginia.
"We are excited to welcome Sara and her family to the University of Delaware and to the Blue Hens volleyball family," said director of intercollegiate athletics and recreation services Chrissi Rawak. "Sara has had outstanding success at every stop during her coaching career and is ready to take the next step as a head coach. It became very clear early in our search that Sara was a great fit here at Delaware. She brings with her impeccable credentials as a top-notch recruiter, and coach – she is the quintessential student of the game. We are confident that she will lead our student-athletes and our volleyball program to great things on and off the court in the CAA and beyond."
Turn Muggles Wizards Into Books Matthews recently completed her second season at TCU, helping the Horned Frogs finish 15-13 and win seven matches in the powerful Big 12 Conference. TCU defeated Wichita State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, advancing to the NCAA Second Round for just the second time in program history, before falling to overall top seed Nebraska.
“First and foremost I wanted to thank President (Dennis) Assanis and Chrissi Rawak for this incredible opportunity to join the Blue Hens family,” said Matthews, who becomes the fifth full-time head coach in Delaware volleyball history. “They are in the process of building something really special here at Delaware, with the university, in the community, and in the athletic department. Everything is in place for student-athletes to have a top-notch experience - great academics, a fun college town, first-rate facilities, and an athletic department that is doing everything to support each team. I couldn't be more ecstatic to get going with this team. Also, a special thanks to (Senior Associate AD for Student Services & Sport Administration) Jenn Judy and Chrissi for making this all possible. We are excited for our family to join the Blue Hen community.”
TCU senior middle blocker Natalie Gower earned AVCA Honorable Mention All-America honors, and was joined on the AVCA All-Southwest Region squad by teammate Ashley Smith. The Horned Frogs finished 19-10 during Matthews’s first season in Fort Worth in 2015, compiling a 9-7 conference mark and advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
Turn Muggles Wizards Into Books As TCU’s recruiting coordinator, Matthews was instrumental in signing the 15th-ranked recruiting class according to PrepVolleyball.com. The 2016 class, the first recruiting class to ever be ranked at TCU, including the highest ranked recruit to ever enter TCU in No. 18 Abigail Buckingham.
Turn Muggles Wizards Into Books Prior to arriving in Fort Worth, Matthews spent three seasons at West Virginia as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator under head coach Jill Kramer, before joining Kramer at TCU. During her three seasons in Morgantown, Matthews’ three recruiting classes were all named PrepVolleyball.com Honorable Mention. In 2014 the Mountaineers finished with a program-high RPI of 70, and posted their first All-Americans in program history when Jordan Anderson and Nikki Attea earned AVCA All-America Honorable Mention accolades.
Matthews helped West Virginia win its first 10 matches in 2013, the best start in program history, and record the first 20-win season in over two decades. She also helped the Mountaineers finish No. 74 in the RPI that year, which was 118 shots higher than 2012, marking the eighth best improvement in the country and the largest among major conference schools.
Matthews joined West Virginia after coaching with the Coast Volleyball Club in San Diego, Calif. from 2010-12.
Matthews began her collegiate coaching career as the director of operations at USC from 2008-10. During her stint with the Trojans the squad posted a 68-17 record, qualified for the NCAA Tournament all three years, and advanced to the 2010 Final Four. Her duties included overseeing the program’s budget, organizing team travel, arranging recruiting visits, organizing volleyball camps, and assisting in the day-to-day operations of the program.
Prior to USC, Matthews served as a consultant for the Austin (Texas) Sports Center. She also coached with the Austin Juniors Volleyball Club, served as an assistant coach for the Austin Juniors Europe Global Challenge Team, and coached with Texas Advantage Volleyball. She led four different teams to the USAV Junior Olympics, with three of those squads qualifying in the open division and her 17-1’s Austin Juniors team capturing gold in 2008.
Matthews, a native of San Diego, Calif., played her first two collegiate seasons at Delaware rival James Madison in 1997-98, where she was an All-Colonial Athletic Association standout. She transferred to Kansas for her final two seasons in 1999-2000, where she was a Dean’s List student and served as team captain during her senior year. Matthews was a Jayhawk Scholar in 1999, and earned Big 12 All-Academic First Team honors in 2000.
Matthews earned her bachelor’s degree in education, sports science from Kansas in 2002 and a master’s degree in communications management from USC in 2010. The former Sara Kidd, she is married to Marcel Matthews and has two daughters, Layla and Avani.
THE SARA MATTHEWS FILE
Turn Muggles Wizards Into Books Sara Elizabeth Matthews
Born: Jan. 31, 1979 in Chicago, Ill.
Hometown: San Diego, Calif.
Playing Career: James Madison, 1997-98; Kansas, 1999-2000
Degrees: Bachelor’s degree: Kansas ’02 (education, sports science); Master’s degree: USC ’10 (communications management)
Family: Husband, Marcel; Daughters, Layla and Avani
SARA MATTHEWS COACHING CAREER YEAR-BY-YEAR
2008-10 – Director of Operations, University of Southern California
2010-12 – Coast Volleyball Club, San Diego, Calif.
2012-14 – Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, West Virginia University
2015-16 – Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator, Texas Christian University
2017-Present – Head Coach, University of Delaware