Sabrina King, a member of five Princeton Ivy League championship teams as either a player or assistant coach, will enter her third year as head coach during the 2013 season. She was named the fourth head coach in program history, and she has led Princeton to second-place finishes in the Ivy League in each of her first two seasons.
During her first year (2011), Princeton went 18-8 overall and 11-3 in the Ivy League. The Tigers, who finished one match out of a first-place tie with Yale, were the first Ivy team to defeat Yale during the season. Under King's guidance, three players earned All-Ivy honors, including first-team selections Cathryn Quinn and Lydia Rudnick.
Making the year all the more impressive was Princeton's youth, as the Tigers started three freshmen for most of the season. Setter Ginny Willis was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week three times and earned second-team All-Ivy honors after ranking second in the league in assists.
Last season, Princeton went 9-5 in the league and earned four All-Ivy League honors, including first-team selections for both Rudnick and Kendall Peterkin, who was one of two Ivy freshmen named to the first team. Both Tiana Woolridge and Willis also made the All-Ivy squad.
King, who has been an invaluable member of the Princeton Volleyball family for more than 15 years, had her first full recruiting class earn High Honorable Mention by PrepVolleyball.com.
"The entire Princeton volleyball community is genuinely excited to welcome back one of our own, Sabrina King '01, who was a terrific player and coach at Princeton,” Walters said during King's hiring. “Her knowledge of Princeton, the Ivy League, our players and our alumni suggest that she will be a great fit as our new head coach of women's volleyball.
“She also understands the vital role that 'Education Through Athletics' plays in the holistic development of our student-athletes, because she herself experienced and benefitted from that uniquely Princeton-centered process," Walters added.
King, who had been a member of the Princeton volleyball program for 11 of the previous 14 years before her hiring, led the Tigers to an Ivy League title as a player in 1997, 1999 and 2000, as well as to titles in 2004 and 2007 as an assistant coach.
“I am so excited for this opportunity and I thank Gary Walters and the committee for trusting me with this responsibility,” said King, who has worked with a non-profit educational organization during her brief time away from the program. “When I started to think about the possibility of becoming head coach, I couldn’t help but get excited. Nothing in my life has been as meaningful or fulfilling as coaching volleyball at Princeton.”
King was a standout as both a player and coach under legendary Princeton coach Glenn Nelson, the winningest coach in University history. The 1999 Ivy League Player of the Year, King is well versed in what it takes to succeed both on the court and in the classroom at Princeton.
“I absolutely believe in the ‘Education Through Athletics’ philosophy, because I have lived it and breathed it,” King said. “Being a student-athlete on this team and winning three Ivy League titles was such an important piece of my overall education at Princeton.”
After graduating in 2001, King returned to the bench as Nelson’s lone assistant coach in 2002 and took over the duties as recruiting coordinator. With Nelson also serving as the head men’s coach, King assumed all responsibilities for the women’s program in the spring. She helped guide the Tigers to two titles, including a 2007 championship run that featured the first, and so far only, perfect season in Ivy League volleyball since double round-robin play began in 2001.
“I think all of my experiences in seven years as an assistant coach will have me ready to go immediately,” King said. “From recruiting to handling the offseason and preparing for matches, I believe I am ready for this challenge, and I can’t wait to begin.”
In her seven years as an assistant coach, Princeton averaged 18.7 victories per season. In her final three seasons, which included the terrific Class of 2009 that was led by three-time first-team All-Ivy League selections Lindsey Ensign and Parker Henritze, the Tigers went 37-5 within the Ivy League and never finished below second place.