Coley Pawlikowski recently completed her third season as Stony Brook head volleyball coach. A rising star in the collegiate volleyball coaching ranks and a tenacious recruiter of student-athletes, Pawlikowski is a three-time recipient of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Thirty Under 30 award. Pawlikowski was hired on January 16, 2013.
In her first year at Stony Brook, Pawlikowski guided to Seawolves back to the America East Championship and mentored a pair of all-conference picks in Kaitlin Costello (first team) and Stephanie McFadden (second team). Melissa Rigo was named to the All-Academic Team. Stony Brook consistently ranked near the top of the country in aces per set, finishing the year 10th at 1.69. The Seawolves are also excelling off the court under her watch and earned the first two AVCA Team Academic Award honors in program history for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
The Seawolves have re-written multiple parts of the program record book under Pawlikowski’s guidance. Stony Brook has qualified for three consecutive America East Championships for the first time since 2005-07. In 2015, Lo Hathaway set the program’s all-time dig record after setting the single-season record in Pawlikowski’s first season at the helm in 2013. The Seawolves also set single-match program records for hitting percentage (.558) and digs (122) during the 2015 season. Senior Kathy Fletcher was named to the America East all-conference first team, senior Nicole Vogel was tabbed as a second-team and all-academic selection, while freshman McKyla Brooks earned all-rookie honors.
Pawlikowski and the Seawolves continued to build in 2014, finishing in a tie for second in the final regular season conference standings. Stony Brook won 17 matches in 2014, marking the highest win total for the program since 2007. SBU’s seven-match winning streak in September and October was the longest for the team since 2009. The Seawolves received six end-of-year America East awards, tied for the most in the conference. Evann Slaughter placed on the first team, and Kathy Fletcher and Nicole Vogel were named to the second team. Cydney Bowman earned All-Rookie recognition, and Taylor Gillie and Rigo were honored for their work on the court and in the classroom with All-Academic accolades.
Pawlikowski spent 2012 as the top assistant coach at Wisconsin, serving as recruiting coordinator and working as the defensive position coach. She also was responsible for seeking out and signing 2013 Under Armour High School All-American Haleigh Nelson. Her on-court work helped Wisconsin lead the Big Ten in digs per set as a team and boast the individual digs champion, Annmarie Hickey, who averaged 4.93 digs per set.
Pawlikowski also served as Wisconsin’s academic and strength & conditioning liaison, assisting camp director, assistant scheduling coordinator and represented the team in post home match radio interviews.
Prior to the one season at Wisconsin, Pawlikowski was the top assistant coach at her alma mater Northern Illinois from 2009-12, where she helped lead the Huskies to the 2011 Mid-American Conference (MAC) regular season championship and an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament, NIU’s first NCAA tournament berth since the 2001 team that featured Pawlikowski on the court for the Huskies. The Huskies went 14-2 in the MAC and 28-7 overall, which included a 15-match winning streak.
At Northern Illinois, Pawlikowski was the program’s recruiting coordinator and was responsible for the recruitment of Lauren Wicinski, NIU’s first-ever high school All-American recruit who went on to become a two-time MAC Player of the Year and four-time All-American.
In addition to successfully building a national recruiting base, Pawlikowski also served as the team’s defensive position coach, fundraising coordinator, assistant camp director and alumni liaison. As defensive position coach, she worked with Maddie Hughes, who went on to become the 2009 MAC Defensive Player of the Year.
Not only did Pawlikowski have a successful run as a Div. I assistant coach, but she also has head coaching experience at the Div. III level, having served as head coach at North Park University in Chicago for three seasons from 2006-08. At North Park, she handled all aspects of the program, including recruiting, training, scheduling, budgets, equipment and academics, turning a program around that was 6-26 the year before she was hired to 19-12 in her final season. She earned her first AVCA Thirty Under 30 award for her efforts in turning the North Park program around.
Pawlikowski also has over a decade of experience working club volleyball. She was club administrator/head coach for the Kane County Jrs. VBS in Batavia, Ill., where she was responsible for recruiting, scheduling and hiring.
Pawlikowski played three seasons at Northern Illinois, where she was a three-year defensive specialist starter and helped the Huskies win the 2001 MAC title and advance to the NCAA Tournament. After leaving Northern Illinois due to medical hardship, she played her final year of eligibility at Aurora University in Aurora, Ill., captaining the 2003 team and earning All-Conference and Team MVP honors. Pawlikowski then returned to Northern Illinois, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Studies in 2004.
What They Are Saying about Coley Pawlikowski
"I look for great things in the future of Stony Brook volleyball with the hiring of Coley Pawlikowski as head coach. I have admired her enthusiasm and passion for the game since she was a player and know that her experiences have prepared her to make a big splash in America East." - Russ Rose, Head Volleyball Coach at Penn State University
"Coley will do a great job at Stony Brook. She has an amazing energy level that is only matched by her work ethic and passion for women's volleyball. She will be a tremendous motivator and will find ways to get the most out of the student-athletes she coaches. She has great connections nationally and will make a significant impact on recruiting. Most importantly, Coley is committed to providing the total student-athlete experience and will be genuinely interested in the academic, athletic and social success of her student-athletes." - Christian Spears, Deputy Director of Athletics at Eastern Michigan University
"I have known Coley since I recruited her and have watched her grow up. She is one of the great up-and-coming young coaches in the nation. Coley will have great success at Stony Brook and will make it a championship program. She has a competitive edge that separates her from most people." - Robby Pulliza, Assistant Coach of Puerto Rican National Team; Former Head Volleyball Coach at University of Arkansas
"Coley is truly one of the great up and coming young coaches in the country. I think she will do a great job and bring a lot of excitement to the community of Stony Brook volleyball." - Pete Waite, Former Head Volleyball Coach at the University of Wisconsin (14 years)
"I am extremely excited for Coley as well as Stony Brook. Coley has worked hard to prepare herself for her first Div. I head coaching opportunity, and I am confident she will do a great job! She has had great success throughout her career, and I have complete confidence that she will bring that level of success to Stony Brook." - Mark Rosen, Head Volleyball Coach at University of Michigan
"Coley sees potential in people. When she recruited me, I had only played in high school, and a lot of people did not believe in me. She did, and she taught me everything about being a libero. Coley is an energetic person who does not give up on people." - Amber Walker, played volleyball for Pawlikowski at North Park University and Northern Illinois University. Named All-MAC in 2011.