GUNNISON, Colo. – The 25th class of the Mountaineer Sports Hall of Fame will be forever enshrined at the annual induction banquet and ceremony on Oct. 25 in the Mountaineer Field House. The highest distinction awarded by Western Colorado University Athletics, the 2019 class includes volleyball coach Darin Weber.
Weber, a Dakota Wesleyan graduate, has resided with his family in Brookings for 13 years and is a business consultant with American Family Insurance.
He is now a volunteer coach for the South Dakota State volleyball team.
In five seasons, Weber turned the WCU volleyball program into a powerhouse. In just four seasons, Weber earned 82 wins and his winning percentage of .526 ranks best in program history.
Weber came to Western in 1994 as an assistant coach. He took over the head position in 1995 and coached three players to All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference honors. The team won just nine matches but ranked third in the conference for average digs per game at 17.41.
In his second season at the helm, the Mountaineers took a dramatic leap forward. The team won 21 matches and finished fourth in the RMAC Tournament. At the time, 21 victories were the most in program history.
The 1996 team featured four All-RMAC honorees and Jessica Whyde was twice named the RMAC Player of the Week.
The following season, Western again had four players named to All-RMAC teams. Kam Heger also became the first Mountaineer to earn AVCA All-Region honors.
The 1997 team made it to the quarterfinals of the RMAC Tournament and once again recorded a double-digit win total against conference opponents.
In his fourth season as Western’s head coach, Weber had four more players earn All-RMAC honors. In his five seasons at the helm, Weber had no fewer than three players earn all-conference selections in each and every season.
Already holding the single-season records for wins, Weber guided the Mountaineers to a record breaking 25-win season in 1999. Western won the RMAC’s West Division and made the NCAA Division II Tournament for the first time in program history.
The 1999 team ranked in the top four of the RMAC in hitting percentage, blocks, kills and assists. The team had four All-RMAC honorees and Kristy Jacovetta was named the RMAC Defensive Player of the Year.
Currently, the 1999 team sits atop the Western record book in five categories, including most consecutive home victories with 12. The team also earned its first victory over a nationally ranked conference opponent and ended the season 18th in the national poll.
For his efforts, Weber was named the 1999 RMAC and Division II Southwest Region Coach of the Year.
Tara Miller became the program’s first All-American, earning AVCA All-America honors in 1999 and was inducted into the MSHOF in 2006. Miller was also selected to the RMAC Volleyball All-Century Team.
“I have never seen a coach that, without trying, gets so many around him to play ‘for him’,” Tara (Miller) Olding said. “He has a gift or skill set that brings people of various personalities together and gets them to play for him. He has never asked for that, but they do.”
Joining Miller in the MSHOF was teammate Kam Heger, who entered the hall in 2005.
Following the 1999 season, Weber left Western to take a head coaching position at South Dakota.
“Coach Weber has influenced his players both on and off the court,” Darci Haueisen said in her letter of support. “He pushed us to be the best students, athletes, teammates and all-around people we could possibly be.”
In 2000, all five starters and a total of 10 players returned to Western. The 2000 Mountaineers won 24 games the program’s only RMAC title.
With a solid core group still intact, the 2001 Mountaineers won a school record 29 matches and reached the NCAA Elite Eight. The 2001 team was inducted into the MSHOF in 2013.
“Darin Weber is the true essence of what the Mountaineer Sports Hall of Fame is all about,” Weber’s successor at Western, Shawn Back, said in his nomination letter. “He represented the athletic department, the school and his team with the upmost professionalism. He brought Western Athletics national recognition, never seen before in the volleyball program.”