Sabrina King, a member of five Princeton Ivy League championship teams as either a player or assistant coach, returned to her alma mater in a new role. She was named the fourth head coach in program history, and she led Princeton to a second-place finish in the Ivy League during her first year.
During her first season, 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.
"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.
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
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
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
“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.”
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.