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Question & Answer With Coach Van De Walle

Coach Denise Van De Walle instructs the volleyball team during a timeout at a match.

Throughout the Spring 2020 season, we will be sharing some question and answer sessions with our Athletic Department staff. We hope you enjoy getting to know more about us as we work to stay together from far apart.

Our latest installment features head volleyball coach Denise Van De Walle.


1. What is your go-to beverage?

My preferred beverage is flavored water, carbonated and non-carbonated. I really like HINT Black Cherry and Lemon. I also like ICE and Bubly. If I'm at work I love the green smoothie and have it every day that I'm there!
2. What hobbies do you enjoy outside of coaching?
Playing and teaching pickleball. I love the competition of tournaments and ladder leagues. However, I love teaching people who have never played the sport and watching them fall in love with the game. It happens over and over.
3. What are the best experiences you've had professionally so far?

Wow, I have so many.  
  • Winning my first Indiana State Championship as a youngster. (I was only 23, with a 29-1 record)
  • Winning my first MAC Championship at BGSU. We snapped WMU's 98 consecutive conference match win streak and gave BG its 1st MAC title.
  • Being the DI Rep for the AVCA and then President of the AVCA
  • Starting and coaching the USA National Women's Sitting Team... winning a Bronze medal in Athens and a Silver Medal in Beijing
  • Beating Hope at their gym in 2017 in 3! Unbelievable feeling! 
  • Watching our players get 1st and 2nd team all-conference recognition in this very tough MIAA conference (Katie, Meaghan, Kaylin, Rachel, Marielle, Audrey, Nicole, Megan)

4. Who is someone you find inspirational?
  • Corrie Ten Boom- she hid the Jews from the Nazis in her home in hopes of sparing them from the death camps. She was caught and sent to a labor camp and was tortured herself. She never lost her faith in Jesus and led many people to Christ. Later when she was out she started a ministry. She wrote a book called The Hiding Place and it became one of my most favorite movies ever!!
  • Mother Teresa- for her constant help for the poor and suffering and her self-sacrifice. She is amazing!

5. Why Saint Mary's?
Saint Mary's is special. There is a sense of family that is like no other place. The campus is beautiful and the people are very friendly and helpful. The ring is the most beautiful ring I've ever seen!

6. Is a hot dog a sandwich? Please explain your answer.
Nope, not for me. I don't eat meat.

7. What is your hype song?
Uptown Funk :-)

8. What are your favorite sports moments - either as a spectator or an athlete?
  • Winning my first Gold Medal in Pickleball in 2016. It was the first PB tournament I ever played in and the first time I had competed in any sport in a very long time. 
  • Winning a Gold Medal in pickleball this past summer at the 4.0 level
  • Watching the Olympic Volleyball matches in LA in 1984 was pretty spectacular.
  • Watching ND men's basketball beat Duke here cool!