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Sports / Recreation

Hilbert one win from history

November 3, 2010
By Tony Phifer

CSU volleyball coach Tom Hilbert needs one victory to set a school record for most coaching victories in any sport. Legendary men's basketball coach Jim Williams and Hilbert are tied with 352 career wins at CSU.

Coach Tom Hilbert can become CSU's winningest coach with a victory over UNLV Thursday night.

Colorado State University volleyball coach Tom Hilbert will attempt to eclipse one of the most hallowed records in the school’s history when the Rams face UNLV at 7 p.m. Thursday at Moby Arena.

Hilbert is the winningest coach in the volleyball program’s history with a record of 352-85 in 13 seasons. His next victory will eclipse the overall school record of 352 victories held by legendary men’s basketball coach Jim Williams.

Humbled to be tied with legend

Hilbert, who ranks 11th among active NCAA coaches with his .763 career winning percentage, said he’s humbled to have tied Williams’ record, adding that it’s difficult to compare the coaching records because they came in different sports. He got to know Williams, who died in 2007, early during his coaching career and has great respect for his legacy.

“It’s a great honor just to be mentioned in the same sentence with Jim Williams,” Hilbert said. “He was an awesome coach here, and a really great guy. He was a CSU Ram for life, and that’s what was so cool about him. He came to our matches, and he knew what was going on with our program. I really respected him for that.”

Williams helped put CSU on the map

Williams, below at right, won more games than any other Division I basketball coach in Colorado. He’s a member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame and was in the first class inducted into the CSU Sports Hall of Fame.

In addition to his coaching legacy, Williams also served as athletic director and was responsible for finding the funding to build Moby Arena and Hughes Stadium in the 1960s.

“What’s so impressive about Coach Williams is that he really was at the forefront of the transition when Colorado State became a quality Division I program. He was in the middle of everything,” Hilbert said. “In the long run, as a coach you hope to build a legacy that people will talk about and will make a difference in your sport. That’s what he did.”

Rams look to extend winning streak

The 14th-ranked Rams (20-2, 9-0 Mountain West Conference) come in riding an 11-match winning streak that includes a three-set sweep of UNLV earlier this season in Las Vegas. The Rams are coming off an impressive three-set sweep Saturday night at San Diego State.

“We’re really playing very well right now, and we’re getting better,” Hilbert said. “You can look at this last third of the season two ways, either as ‘let’s get through this’ or ‘let’s define our season with a great finish.’ That’s what I want them to do, especially for our four seniors. I want them to have a great finish.”

Tickets available

Tickets are available online, at the door, or by calling (970) 491-RAMS.

Most victories at CSU, by sport

  • Volleyball -Tom Hilbert, 352
  • Men’s basketball - Jim Williams, 352
  • Women’s basketball - Tom Collen, 129
  • Football - Harry Hughes, 125
  • Softball - Candi Letts, 160
  • Swimming - John Mattos, 212
  • Water polo - John Mattos, 65