Puget Sound ’99
Years At Notre Dame:
Katie Wilson, a veteran prep head coach in the Seattle, Washington area, joined the University of Notre Dame volleyball program as an assistant coach in April 2015.
She enters her third year with the program in 2017. Wilson helped the Irish improve from a 7-25 record in 2015 to a mark of 22-10 in 2016, the biggest turnaround in the ACC for that season.
“I got to observe her coach and I got to know her while we were both in Seattle and she’s a great person. She’ll be a great role model for the ladies of this team,” said McLaughlin. “She works extremely hard — she has an incredible work ethic. Those are the two things that I always look for — good people that work hard. She fits the core values of Notre Dame. She lives her life the right way. I think that’s really important. We aren’t just teaching volleyball. We are going to impact these ladies over the course of 40 or 50 years.
“The unique thing about Katie is that I met her at some coaching clinics and she was in our practices and I loved the questions she was asking and I liked how her teams played. You don’t study coaches, you study teams and you learn about the coach through how the team plays and she was adopting the methods, the mechanics, the motivation and the systems that we had in place at Washington and she won a state championship. And then I had her work our camp and I saw the kids change in just a four-day period. I loved her process with people. The comfort of knowing what I’m going to get with her is a huge deal.”
Wilson, who led Lakeside School in Seattle to its highest state finish in school history in 2014, boasts a wealth of experience from the high school and club ranks and has a proven track record of rebuilding programs.
“Notre Dame has always been a school that I wanted to coach at and be at,” said Wilson. “Plus the opportunity to work with Jim and Mike made it a dream fit. “I’ve been at two schools where I’ve worked to rebuild programs so I think I have a pretty good insight into the steps necessary to do that. It will be interesting to take some of those skills I learned at the high school level and try to implement them at the college level. I’m so excited to get back in the gym and start working with the student-athletes.”
A 1999 University of Puget Sound graduate, Wilson comes to Notre Dame from Lakeside, where she was the volleyball program director and head coach for three seasons (2012-14). In her final year at Lakeside, she led the Lions to their first Sea-King District title in program history and their first Metro League championship in 28 years before claiming their highest finish (fourth place) at the 3A State Tournament in program history. For her efforts, Wilson was named the Metro League Coach of the Year for the third time overall and the second time in her three years at the school.
Joining Lakeside in 2012 following a year as an assistant at Seattle University, Wilson took over a program that went 3-9 in the Metro Mountain Division a year before. She quickly led them to a ninth-place showing (best in school history at the time) at the 3A State Tournament during her first year to earn Metro League Coach of the Year honors for the second time in her career.
Before assisting at Seattle University for a year in 2011, Wilson spent five seasons as the head coach at Seattle Preparatory School, turning around a program that was near the bottom of the Metro League the year before she arrived. All her efforts culminated in a 3A state championship and Seattle Times Coach of the Year accolades in her last year at the school (2010).
In 2009, she led the Panthers to Sea-King District and Metro League titles before taking fourth place at the 3A State championships. She earned her first career Metro League Coach of the Year award following the campaign.
Wilson started her prep coaching career at Bellarmine Preparatory School — her high school alma mater — in Tacoma, Washington, coaching the C Team from 1997-99 before returning in 2001-02 as an assistant coach.
She also brings years of club coaching experience, spending time with several elite clubs in Washington as an assistant or head coach for a variety of age groups. Most recently, she was the head coach of the Sudden Impact Volleyball Club U-15 team in Bellevue, Washington.
Wilson’s husband, Ryan, and their children, Kira and Jacob, join her in South Bend.