Cal Poly Volleyball Coaching Staff
Sam Crosson, Head Coach
Phone: (805) 756-2878
Sam Crosson enters his second season at the helm of the Cal Poly volleyball program after serving as an assistant coach at the University of California for two years.
Crosson helped guide the Golden Bears to the program’s most successful season ever, winning a share of the Pac-10 title and advancing to the NCAA Championship match during the 2010 season. During that season, Cal tallied the most wins in school history (30) and produced two first-team All-Americans.
During the 2011 season, Cal posted a 26-7 overall record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament while concluding Pac-12 play with a 16-6 record.
His duties at Cal included responsibility for video and statistical analysis as well as designing the offensive and defensive systems. Additionally he served as the point person on player development, specifically setters and middle blockers.
Prior to his joining California, Crosson spent the previous five years as the top assistant coach at Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, Calif.
While at Saint Mary’s, he helped guide the Gaels to consecutive 20-win seasons including the second-best record in program history at 23-5. Saint Mary’s posted a perfect 13-0 mark at home and set school records with an 11-match winning streak and a 13-1 record in West Coast Conference matches, earning the program’s first-ever WCC title.
Crosson’s responsibilities as the top assistant with Saint Mary’s included serving as the recruiting coordinator, planning and executing practices, coordinating the offense, providing video and statistical analysis of practice and matches, and player development, including technical training for setters and middle blockers.
During his tenure as assistant coach with the Gaels, his recruiting classes were selected for high honorable mention by PrepVolleyball.com and included some of the top talent in the country.
At Saint Mary’s, the Gaels led the WCC in blocking each year and were second in the nation in blocks per set (3.82 bps) in 2005. In each of his first three seasons, a middle blocker under his direction was selected to the WCC All-Freshman Team (Shannon Lowell, 2007; Megan Burton, 2006; and Brittany Barker, 2005).
Prior to his time at Saint Mary’s, Crosson spent the 2004 season as a volunteer assistant with the Santa Clara women’s volleyball team. Before joining the coaching ranks in collegiate women’s volleyball, Crosson spent five years as the top assistant coach for the men’s program at his alma mater, University of the Pacific.
While at Pacific, Crosson was responsible for recruiting, player development, video and statistical analysis and assisted in academic support.
As a player at Pacific, Crosson was part of four of the most successful seasons in Pacific volleyball history. He was a four-year letterman and earned team co-MVP honors in 1997. He is ranked in the top 10 in every statistical category and holds the number two spot in career digs (689), digs in a single season (274), and service aces (86).
After his collegiate career, Crosson played one season as a professional for Herentals Volleyball Club in Belgium.
Crosson received a bachelor’s degree in sports sciences at Pacific in 1997 and later earned a master’s degree from Pacific in sports sciences in 2005.
A native of Santa Cruz, Crosson and his wife, Courtney Miller, have two daughters, Makenna and Logan.
Chris Tamas, Assistant
Phone: (805) 756-2850
Head volleyball coach Sam Crosson announced the hiring of Chris Tamas on Jan. 10, 2013 as an assistant coach at Cal Poly. Tamas, an assistant with the University of Minnesota the last two years, will join the Mustang staff as the recruiting coordinator and will be involved in all aspects of the program.
"I am excited and thankful that Chris is a part of our program here at Cal Poly,” said Crosson. “He brings with him a tremendous amount of experience, having competed at the highest level as a coach and player. He has the motivation, dedication, and knowledge of the game that will have a significant impact on our program.”
“Having the opportunity to coach Chris throughout his collegiate career and watch his development as a coach, I am fully aware of his principles, values, and his desire for excellence. His core values will match that of the Mustang Way,” added Crosson
During his tenure at the University of Minnesota, the Gophers advanced to the Sweet Sixteen during the 2011 season and an Elite Eight appearance in 2012. While at Minnesota, Tamas oversaw the training of setters and scouting. With his help, the Gophers had the top-ranked offense in the Big Ten and was ranked eighth in the nation in kills per set in 2012. Tamas worked under two-time Olympic medal coach Hugh McCutcheon in the 2012 season.
"I am blessed to have the opportunity to join the program,” said Tamas. “Cal Poly's academic and athletic mission is one I firmly believe in.”
Tamas added, “Having played for Sam, I know he has the drive and coaching ability to make Cal Poly one of the top-programs in the country and, on top of that, my wife and I have lived and traveled all over the world and this is truly one of the most beautiful areas that we have traveled to and it gives us a chance to be near family."
Prior to Minnesota, Tamas coached in the Big West Conference at UC Riverside under Ron Larsen (gold medal assistant coach, USA men's volleyball, 2008). For two seasons, Tamas was in charge of training the setters, scouting reports and recruiting duties.
Tamas brings a wealth of volleyball knowledge built throughout his collegiate and professional playing career. The 2003 University of the Pacific graduate was a four-year starter and team captain for the Tigers and played for Coach Crosson. He earned his bachelor’s degree in sports sciences in 2003.
Tamas is Pacific’s all-time record holder for assists (5,086) and third all-time for sets played (378). He is ranked in the top ten in service aces (84), digs (498), and block solos (31). Tamas was a unanimous first-team AVCA All-American selection in his senior season (2003) and was team MVP.
Tamas spent four years with the USA Men's National Team (1999, 2003, 2005-06) and played in 34 international matches. In 1999, Tamas helped the team to a silver medal at the World Junior Championships in Havana, Cuba. In 2003, he was selected team captain and helped the team to a bronze medal at the World University Games in Daegu, South Korea.
In 2005 and 2006, Tamas was a part of the training squad which went on to win a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China. In his two years with the team, he helped the squad to a silver medal in the 2005 World Grand Champions Cup in Japan, and as the setter, led the team to a gold medal in the 2006 NORCECA Championships in Mexicali, Mexico.
Tamas played professionally for six seasons (2003-09), including: Protect Eye Orion Volley in Doetinchem, Holland; Antigos Alunos Volley in Ponta Delgada, Portugal; Reyal Grupo Volley in Guadalajara, Spain; Erdermir Volley in Eregi, Turkey; Dionysos Volley in Pafos, Cyprus; and Isku Volley in Tampere, Finland. Tamas twice led his teams to the National Cup Final (Cyprus and Finland).
He is a native of Santa Barbara, CA and is married to Jennifer (Joines), who was a four-time All-American middle blocker at Pacific (2000-03) and a silver medalist in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. She is finishing her professional volleyball career in Baku, Azerbaijan.
Caroline Walters, Assistant
Santa Clara '08
Phone: (805) 756-2850
The West Coast Conference’s all-time leader with 1,932 career digs and a three-time All-WCC honorable mention selection, Caroline Walters is in her third season as a member of the coaching staff and was namned interim head coach in 2011. Also the Santa Clara program’s career leader with a 4.59 assists-per-game average.
Walters’ primary on-court responsibilities with the
Mustang program include working with Cal Poly’s serve
receivers and down defenders while her off-court focus is geared
toward the coordination of recruiting efforts and a role in both
internal and external operations.
A three-time All-West Coast Conference honorable mention selection, Walters is owner of four of the top five single season per-game dig marks in Santa Clara history. Walters enjoyed her top collegiate campaign as a sophomore in 2005 when as her conference-leading 516 digs – the third highest single-season total in Santa Clara history – helped propel the Broncos to a program-record 27 victories, a West Coast championship, a berth into the NCAA Tournament national semifinals and a final No. 4 ranking in the AVCA Coaches Top 25 Poll.
Statistically, Walters’ 4.93 digs-per-game mark recorded as a freshman in 2004 stands as the top single-season mark in Santa Clara history.
With Walters in the lineup, Santa Clara posted an 84-34 aggregate record, a 41-15 combined West Coast mark and failed to finish lower than third in the conference standings during any of her four seasons. Walters, a four-time program Defensive MVP selection and three-year captain, appeared in 421 of a possible 428 sets during her career. A native of Los Gatos, Calif., Walters earned a B.S. in accounting from Santa Clara last year.
Walters arrived on the central coast following a year stint as an assistant coach with the 18-Blue squad of the Los Gatos-based Vision Volleyball Club, where she helped with practice planning and on-court techniques and strategies.
Jen Tamas, Volunteer Assistant Coach
Jennifer Tamas (Joines), a four-time
All-American and Olympian, has joined the Cal Poly volleyball
program as a volunteer assistant coach.
After spending the past eight years playing for Team USA and professionally in five countries (Japan, Italy, Russia, Azerbaijan and Puerto Rico), Tamas will join her husband, Chris Tamas, on the coaching staff.
"Jen comes to Cal Poly after completing a phenomenal career as a player, having been named a four-time All-American in college and Olympic medalist in 2008," said second-year head coach Sam Crosson. "Her time with the US National team will have a significant impact on the development of our student-athletes and we welcome her to the Cal Poly program."
Tamas was an eight-time member of Team USA as a middle blocker, winning a silver medal at the Beijing Olympics, playing in over 60 matches while serving as captain the past four years.
In 2012 she helped lead the US to a gold medal at the Pan-American Cup for the first time since 2003. She completed her collegiate career as a four-time AVCA All-American at the University of the Pacific. She remains atop Pacific's all-time list in kills (2,225) and attack percentage (.350) and is second in total blocks (639).
As a senior she was named the 2003 Big West Conference Player of the Year and all-conference first team for the fourth time when she averaged 5.63 kills, 2.09 digs and 1.20 blocks per set.
As a junior (2002) she averaged 4.99 kills and 1.32 blocks per set and as a sophomore (2001), she led the Tigers and Big West with 601 kills, 4.73 kills per set and a .313 hitting percentage.
Her freshman year (2000), she broke a 15-year-old record for single-season hitting percentage (.402) and was named the Big West Freshman of the Year.
Born in Santa Clara, Tamas earned her degree in communications and business at Pacific. She married fellow Pacific graduate, Chris Tamas, in August of 2009.