Bill Walton Joins Rise as Associate Head Coach

Bill Walton Joins Rise as Associate Head Coach

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Rise on Thursday announced the hiring of Bill Walton as associate head coach for the Pro Volleyball Federation franchise.

Walton joins the Rise after serving as head coach for the Texas Tornados, a club volleyball team, from 2018-22. He spent 24 seasons as head coach at the University of Houston from 1986-2009, totaling a 458-319 record (0.589) with 14 20-win campaigns. Walton had the fourth-longest tenure of any head coach in the history of Houston’s athletic program, leading the Cougars to 11 NCAA Tournament appearances and winning the 1990 National Invitational Volleyball Championship. He also led Houston to a 1994 Southwest Conference championship and an Elite Eight berth. A two-time AVCA South Region and Southwest Conference Coach of the Year (1994, 1992), Walton produced 63 All-Conference players and 27 All-Region selections. In 2005, he picked up his 600th career victory and became just the 11th coach in NCAA history to reach that milestone.

“Bill is an analytical mind that pursues and researches information to bring that knowledge to the game, the players, and the coaching staff. We are looking forward to him bringing that wealth of experience and expertise to our program,” Rise head coach Cathy George said. “He has had a very long career in coaching, both at Elmhurst and Houston, where he coached the Cougars for 24 seasons. Bill also played at a high level, earning All-American honors in college, and competing for the U.S. National Team. We are very excited to add Bill to our staff.”

Walton began his coaching career at the NCAA Division III level with Elmhurst College in 1981. In five seasons from 1981-85, Walton compiled a 215-58 ledger (0.788) and won national titles in 1985 and 1983. Walton never lost a regular-season conference game with Elmhurst (21-0) and compiled a 23-8 mark in postseason play. In his first year as head coach in 1981, Elmhurst won the Illinois State Championship and finished the campaign ranked No. 4 nationally. In a combined 29 seasons between Elmhurst and Houston, Walton notched a 673-377 record (0.641).

Walton played at George Williams College from 1970-74 and was named a two-time NAIA All-American. During his senior season, he helped George Williams claim the 1974 national championship. Walton was also a member of the 1976 and 1980 USA National Teams.

The Rise will begin their inaugural season in January. Fans can reserve their season tickets now by clicking here, with single-game tickets set to go on sale later this fall.

Photo by the University of Houston