Schweihofer brings new beginning to NU volleyball


Photo courtesy Northeastern Athletics

Schweihofer comes to Northeastern after five years in charge of LaSalle women’s volleyball.

Jordan Baron, sports editor

A new coach means a new beginning for a program. Northeastern women’s volleyball is leaving behind a long-time veteran coach for a new, lively head coach who hopes to turn the program on its heels.

Northeastern faced a problem it hadn’t faced in 19 years when women’s volleyball head coach Ken Nichols announced his retirement in December 2018. After weeks of searching and interviews, the university hired Caitlin Schweihofer to replace Nichols. Schweihofer was successful as the head coach of LaSalle women’s volleyball and was named Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year after her last season there.

“I’m extremely excited to be here,” Schweihofer said. “When this opportunity presented itself to me, it was a coaching move that I jumped at, not only because of the academic reputation of Northeastern, but also the fact that I feel that athletically we are in a position to be super successful, not only within the CAA, but also nationally.”

Northeastern’s interest in Schweihofer was significant from the start. Schweihofer was able to take LaSalle, which owned a 1-31 record the year before she took over, and turn it into a successful program.

“Caitlyn rose to the top because of her proven track record in being successful at a Division I program that is of a similar size to Northeastern’s, and showing that she could take a program that had a lot of room for growth when she took it over and making it hugely successful on the court as well as providing a strong student experience where athletes had a chance to learn and grow both in volleyball and outside of volleyball,” said Regina Sullivan, NU’s deputy athletics director of internal affairs, who was a member of the team responsible for hiring coach Schweihofer.

Schweihofer already has plans for the team. She wants to focus on national recruiting while creating technical practice environments in which players will improve over the four or five years they spend on the team.

During her time at LaSalle, she turned a team that was regarded as an afterthought into a contender.

“The year before I started they were a 1-31 team,” Schweihofer said. “Over the last five seasons, my staff and I grew the program very organically, in the sense that we didn’t have anyone transfer. We recruited and just took our time to get to a point where we finished third in the Atlantic 10 last year.”

Schweihofer also wants to focus on building an environment in which relationships are naturally formed.

“I’m a big relationship person, so I want to make sure that my players know that myself and my staff members, we care about them as much off the court as individuals and their mental, physical, emotional well being and academic life as much as we care about them on the court,” Schweihofer said. “I think that if you can create that environment, it results in having a team dynamic where one party potentially feels like they are letting the other party down if they are not performing to their fullest.”

Schweihofer is stepping into the shoes of previous head coach Ken Nichols, who was at Northeastern for 19 years before stepping down last year.

“I think it is something new and it takes time to develop the same type of relationships that he probably had with his athletes, but going day by day and year by year, hopefully over time it can turn into as strong as he had with them,” Schweihofer said.

Schweihofer wants to make Northeastern volleyball a memorable experience for the athletes that make it all possible.

“Winning, and being competitive on the court but also graduating on-time well-rounded individuals who know they can continue and want to continue to have a relationship with me,” Schweihofer said.