Denise Van De Walle began her tenure as the head coach for the Belles in 2015.
In her first season with the Belles, Van De Walle led the squad to a 15-13 overall record as the team was one win away from finishing fourth in the highly-competitive MIAA. She coached individual student-athletes to conference player of the week honors, all-tournament accolades, and a First Team All-MIAA honoree. The 2016 season was among the best in the history of the program in terms of conference wins as the Belles matched the all-time school record for MIAA victories (11) while finishing third in the conference. Multiple Belles earned all-tournament and MIAA Player of the Week honors, and the team had a student-athlete on both the First Team and Second Team All-MIAA lists.
The 2017 Belles put together their fourth-consecutive 15+ win season and made their second straight MIAA Tournament appearance. The Belles had three All-MIAA honorees, including two First Team selections and the Freshman of the Year. In 2018, the Belles had 12 wins and had a Second Team All-MIAA honoree.
Van De Walle came to the College with a wealth of coaching experience, which included working with Ball State University, Bowling Green State University, USA Volleyball, and the University of Notre Dame.
With more than 30 years of experience in NCAA Division I volleyball, she served as the head coach at Bowling Green from 1983 to 2011. During her tenure, the Falcons won over 500 matches while claiming Mid-American Conference (MAC) Championships three times. In 1991, Van De Walle led Bowling Green to the MAC Tournament title and their first NCAA tournament appearance in program history. Her squad was crowned MAC East Division Champions twice. Van De Walle was named MAC Coach of the Year four times in her career. She coached three MAC Players of the Year and had 23 student-athletes earn All-MAC First or Second Team honors 39 times. Moreover, her teams earned American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) academic honors 13 times.
During her time at Bowling Green, Van De Walle also served as the AVCA president in 2001 and sat on the association’s Board of Directors from 1995-2002. Additionally, she was on the USA Volleyball Board of Directors from 1998-2003.
Van De Walle was instrumental to the development and early success of the USA Women’s National Sitting Volleyball Team. While serving as an assistant coach in the first years of the program, she helped guide Team USA to a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games before leading the team to a silver medal in 2008 at the Beijing Paralympic Games.
Van De Walle is a graduate of Ball State University and earned both her bachelor of science and master of arts in elementary education from Ball State. A four-year letter winner for the Cardinals, she was part of a record-setting squad which still holds the program record for wins in a season (35).