Bringing A Wealth Of Experience, Matthew Botsford Named FGCU Volleyball Coach
Monday, February 10, 2014 | by Jason MacBain (@jabain)
Matthew Botsford joins FGCU from Colorado State
Matthew Botsford joins FGCU from Colorado State

FORT MYERS, Fla. – Matthew Botsford, who has served as an assistant coach at five different collegiate institutions and most recently at Colorado State University, has been named the new FGCU volleyball and sand volleyball coach, Director of Athletics Ken Kavanagh announced on Monday.

Botsford, who played at Tri-State University (now Trine University) from 1995-98, has been the top assistant at Colorado State since May 2012, and has helped lead the Rams to two of the most successful seasons in program history. CSU won the Mountain West Conference championship in 2012 and 2013, advancing to the NCAA Tournament each year and winning a school-record 27 consecutive games this past fall.

“I’d first like to thank Ken and the administration for giving me this opportunity,” Botsford said. “From the second I stepped foot on campus it was apparent to me that the successes at FGCU were a reflection of the people in the department and the passion they have, and that’s one of the things that attracted me to the position. Also, I’ve been extremely blessed to have worked with some great coaches in my career, and Tom Hilbert (current CSU head coach) is one of them. My time working with him has been invaluable because he’s shown me how to run a program beyond what just takes place on the court. He’s been a steward of the game, a valued member of the community and I’m extremely thankful for him preparing me to move into this position.”

The position Botsford inherits is from Dave Nichols, whose resignation is effective Feb. 22. Nichols led the Eagles to 99 win six years, five Atlantic Sun Tournament appearances and two A-Sun regular-season championships. The successful foundation on which Nichols built the program was one of the reasons Botsford accepted his first full-time head coaching position. 

“It’s a terrific situation for me to have the ability to inherit a program with a proven track record of success,” Botsford added. “My goal now is to build upon that and take the next step. One of the most attractive things about the position was that there are really no obstacles at FGCU from the standpoint of a coach, student-athlete and program. Going through the interview process there was nothing I could identify as being an obstacle, and there’s been a lot of successes in a variety of different sports which indicates that there’s nothing holding us back from continuing to build on the tradition.

In addition to his time at Colorado State, Botsford has also been an assistant coach at Notre Dame, Miami, IUPUI and the University of Indianapolis. Furthermore, he served as an interim head coach at his alma mater at the age of 21 and has international and national coaching experience.

“We are excited to have Matt joining our FGCU Athletics Family,” said Kavanagh. “Amidst a very strong field of candidates, we believe that his background and experiences were the best overall fit for FGCU volleyball at this juncture. We look forward to him coming on board and continuing the strong tradition of excellence for our program on and off the courts, in our pursuit of additional A-Sun championships and the NCAA Tournament.”

Botsford, 38, was the lead recruiter at Notre Dame from February 2008 until July 2011, and in 2010 and 2011 his classes were ranked 13th and 15th, respectively, in the nation by media outlets. The Irish advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2009 after winning the Big East title and going undefeated through the conference schedule (14-0). In total, Botsford coached two All-American winners and six All-Big East performers – including the 2010 Big East Freshman of the Year Andrea McHugh – during his time in South Bend.

Prior to 3+ years at Notre Dame, Botsford cultivated relationships with players and coaches throughout Florida as he served as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Miami for nearly four years from June 2004 to February 2008. He helped solidify two of the highest-ranked recruiting classes in the relatively short history of the program, signing at least one top-100 rated player in each of his final three years and the Hurricanes’ first top-50 recruit.

During his time with Miami, Botsford coached two All-Americans and five All-ACC players. In addition, he recruited Lane Carico, who was named the 2011 ACC Player of the Year. Carico supplemented a core group of starters Botsford recruited which led Miami to three straight appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

Botsford got his start in coaching by serving as the interim head coach for both the men’s and women’s volleyball programs at Tri-State from November 1998 through June 1999. He parlayed his experience in those roles into an assistant position at the University of Indianapolis where he was at for one year (June 1999-May 2000). Botsford’s final stop before heading to the University of Miami was as an assistant at IUPUI (Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis) from May 2001 until June 2004, coaching two-time Mid-Continent Conference Player of the Year Rebekah Pallikan.

Outside of the collegiate landscape, Botsford also has a vast array of experience. In the year between his stints at Notre Dame and Colorado State he was the head coach of Lindesberg Volley as part of Sweden’s Elite Series, leading the club to a first-ever league title and automatic representation in European Cup play. While with Lindesberg Volley from August 2011 through May 2012, Botsford coached four players who went on to play for Sweden’s National Team.

The foray into Sweden wasn’t the first for Botsford as he played professionally with the Vingaker Volleyball Club in the country in 2002-03, the final of his three professional stints. In the collegiate offseason he also played from 1998-2003 on beach tours with both the Midwest Professional Volleyball Association (MPVA) and the Extreme Volleyball Professionals (EVP), the latter of which named him the league’s Rookie of the Year in 2000.

Botsford was selected as an assistant coach for the 2007 USA Select Program, which trains elite volleyball players in preparation for the U.S. National Team. In his one year as part of the program, Botsford guided his team to a bronze medal in the HP Global Championships as the head coach of the USA Silver team.

A 1998 graduate from Tri-State with a degree in Social Studies Education and a minor in General Science, Botsford was a two-year captain who graduated as the program’s all-time leader in kills, digs and blocks and was named an All-American Scholar Athlete as a senior. In 2006, he was inducted into the Tri-State Hall of Fame. Botsford received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Indianapolis in 2004.

What They’re Saying About Matt

“Matt is an excellent hire for FGCU. He’s an incredible person, a hard worker and a great recruiter. He also has ties to the state of Florida while having recruited for Miami for several years which will bode to his advantage.”

-Nicole Lantagne Welch, University of California Santa Barbara Head Volleyball Coach & former University of Miami Head Volleyball Coach

“Matt is certainly ready to be a head coach. He’s got great presence, great energy and he’s at the time of his life that he can make this move and be very successful.”

-Tom Hilbert, Colorado State Head Volleyball Coach

“Matt is a very, very strong coach, a good teacher and someone who relates really well with student-athletes. He’s exceptionally organized and will bring a ton of energy and new life into the program. I have tremendous confidence that he will do an outstanding job and make an immediate impact at FGCU.”

-Debbie Brown, Notre Dame Head Volleyball Coach