SAN DIEGO — Before Brent Hilliard became San Diego State University’s head women’s volleyball coach, he was an Olympian.
“You feel like you’re playing for your country, that’s a unique thing,” Hilliard told FOX 5. “Great time in my life for sure, fond memories.”
These are memories he shares with his 1992 Olympic teammate, Steve Timmons. The two-time gold medalist is now learning from the bronze medalist as an assistant coach.
“The script is kind of flipped for us. I’m absorbing everything he’s learned in his 20 years of successful coaching,” said Timmons. “I am picking up stuff from him and learning everything I can now.”
The knowledge doesn’t stop at the staff. Elly Shraeder, a former Torero, transferred to SDSU last season to gain wisdom from these former Olympians.
“That’s what brought me to this school, because I knew the coaches were going to take care of me. They knew what they’re talking about,” said Shraeder. “They’ve coached at the highest levels, they’ve played at the highest levels, and they bring that to the gym everyday.”
The coaches are hoping their high-level of experience will help give the Aztecs the edge they need to turn the program around.
“It’s always fun to try to build something, to try to start from ground zero, and try to make something out of what you have,” Timmons explained. “I feel like we’re starting to get to that point, where we’re starting to gain some traction.”
After winning seven out of their last 11 games last season, the Aztecs are aspiring to reach the postseason. This is something SDSU Women’s Volleyball hasn’t achieved during Hilliard and Timmons’ tenure.
“We were capable to beat all the top teams in our conference. We talk about competing for championship and we feel we’re in a good place to do that,” said Hilliard.
The Olympians have no doubt their team can go all the way.
“We’re as gifted as anybody in our conference right now, so we’re excited. There’ going to be some great days ahead for Aztec football,” said Hilliard.