Liz Kritza Named Head Volleyball Coach
BOULDER - Colorado native Liz Kritza has been named the fourth head volleyball coach in University of Colorado history, athletic director Mike Bohn announced Tuesday.
Kritza comes to Colorado after a successful four-year stint at Tulane, where she led the Green Wave to a record of 76-39 and 41-21 in Conference USA action.
"I think what really stood out for us in the end with Liz is not only the fact she is a Colorado native, which I think is awesome, but also just her high energy, her passion, and the fact that she dealt with adversity at the highest level as an intercollegiate coach," Bohn said. "That her first year after one match, the hurricane hits New Orleans and she rallies her young team and since has gone on to be the American Volleyball Coaches Association Midwest Region Coach of the Year twice in the last two season among other high accolades."
Kritza has agreed to a five-year contract, the effective date upon approval of CU's Board of Regents and that expires on Dec. 31, 2013. The position carries a base salary of $105,000, with performance incentives that incrementally can total to a maximum $65,500 if CU wins the Big 12 Conference regular season title and the national championship and Kritza earns both conference and national coach of the year honors. And as with CU's other head coaches, there are also incentives for performance objectives in academics and community service, which can reach $20,000 annually, along with sponsorship support (Nike), camp income and a car allowance, the latter three of which total $37,200.
"I have to thank the University of Colorado, the Board of Regents, Chancellor Petersen, the Athletic Director Mike Bohn and as he mentioned the search committee, but Ceal Berry and Tom McGrath for heading this up," Kritza said. "I grew up playing volleyball in Colorado?I'm a Colorado kid. I grew up learning the game from some of the game's best, I spent a lot of time in the U.S. Olympic Training Center and it is an honor and professionally an absolute great move for me. It's an honor to come back and lead this program to the heights I know the university is committed to and to the heights I know we will achieve.
"This current group of players that I am inheriting are a wonderful group of student-athletes, they are highly principled young women; I will continue to add into that and you need to know that the players I bring into my program anywhere I am, particularly here, I will take great pride in holding them to a really high standard conduct wise as far as their academics and being able to compete with anybody on the volleyball floor."
She replaces Pi'i Aiu, who stepped down as head coach last month after 12 seasons at the reins of the program. He compiled a 199-154 record and took the team to the NCAA tournament on nine occasions, though CU did not go the last two seasons.
The Green Wave won its first conference championship in 2008 and tied a C-USA record with 15 wins. Tulane earned its first berth to the NCAA Tournament in after winning both the C-USA regular season and tournament championships. Tulane advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament after defeating Tennessee Tech in four sets but fell to Western Michigan in the second round.
In 2007 and 08, Kritza was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association's (AVCA) Midwest Region Coach of the Year after guiding Tulane to 28-6 record both years. The Green Wave recorded its first win over a ranked team in over a decade by defeating then-14th-ranked Middle Tennessee in five sets in 2008. In the process, Tulane also set a school record with 17 straight victories and increased the program's home winning streak to 24 straight at Fogelman Arena. The Green Wave has not dropped a home match since Oct. 29, 2006.
The 2008 season also brought other recognition to Kritza. She was named the C-USA Co-Coach of the Year and the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Coach of the Year, both for the second straight season.
Kritza took the over the reins of the Green Wave program in 2005 and had played just one match before Hurricane Katrina hit. The team had to relocate to College Station, Texas and had to cancel 10 non-conference matches due to the pending arrival of Hurricane Rita. Despite finishing with a 3-15 overall record, the Green Wave got it together at the C-USA Tournament and advanced to the semifinals for the first time since the 1997 season.
Under her tutelage, Kritza had four players earn eight AVCA All-America honors. Three athletes were also named the AVCA Midwest Freshmen of the Year. Sara Radosevic, who was named an All-American all four years, was the first Tulane volleyball player to be named the C-USA Player of the Year in 2008.
Kritza became the seventh head coach at Tulane in 2005. She served as the top assistant/recruiting coordinator from 2001-04. Kritza was a volunteer assistant for one season (2000) and served as a student assistant (1999).
As a player for the Green Wave, Kritza led C-USA as a junior with 1.41 blocks per game. That season she set a single-season school record with 154 block assists and led the team to its first C-USA semi-final appearance. Kritza was voted the team captain as a senior and led the Green Wave once again with 121 blocks. She finished her career at TU ranking fifth in blocks (319) and eighth in hitting percentage (.222).
Kritza graduated from Tulane in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in finance and cell biology and is pursuing a master's in business administration.
Kritza was born in Colorado Springs and graduated from St. Mary's High School in 1995; the same school that senior setter Kaitlyn Burkett graduated from in 2006. Her brother, Ted, played on the CU basketball team for two seasons from 1994-96 before transferring to Tulane. Prior to transferring, he had started in 19 games and averaged 6.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game as a sophomore.
The Kritza File
Born: Oct. 10, 1977
Hometown: Colorado Springs, Colo.
High School: St. Mary's, 1995
College: Tulane University, 2000, B.S. Finance & Cell Biology
Tulane University (1995-98)
Boulder Volleyball Club (1994-95)
St. Mary's High School (1991-94)
Head Coach, Tulane (2005-2008)
Top Assistant/Recruiting Coordinator, Tulane (2001-04)
Volunteer Assistant, Tulane (2000)
Student Assistant, Tulane (1999)
Head Coach, USVBA/Colorado Elite (1994-95)
Assistant, Divine Redeemer Middle School, Colorado Springs (1991-93)
Year School Overall C-USA
2005 Tulane 5-16 2-13
2006 Tulane 15-11 11-5
2007 Tulane 28-6 14-2
2008 Tulane 28-6 15-1
Career 76-39 (.661) 41-21 (.661)