Ryan Walthall is entering his first season as an assistant coach for the Marquette University women’s volleyball program in 2022.
Walthall was in his seventh season as an assistant coach with his alma mater, the Penn State men’s volleyball program, and previously was an assistant on the women’s side at Santa Barbara, Ohio University and North Florida. He joins newly named assistant coach Abby Gilleland on the MU staff and takes the place of RJ Lengerich.
“When RJ decided to step away from coaching, my first thought was to try and get Ryan Walthall on staff,” Theis said. “Walt is a tireless worker and committed to the study of volleyball. He has spent the last six years working with some of the best male volleyball players in the country at Penn State and we had the pleasure of working together two years at Ohio. The team of course made fun of the fact that I am only willing to hire Ryans, but I call it a coincidence. I look forward to working with him again.”
Walthall’s expertise helped the Nittany Lions become one of the best serve-receive teams in the nation and ranked as high as No. 3 in the AVCA Coaches Poll earlier this spring. In the six years since his return to State College, Penn State has accumulated an overall record of 110-62 (66-15 EIVA) under head coach Mark Pavlik, captured a pair of EIVA tournament championships in 2017 and 2021, and earned two trips to the NCAA Championship. PSU advanced to the second round last spring before falling to No. 4 Lewis University.
He returned to his alma mater in 2015 after coaching stops with the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club and as an assistant coach for University of California Santa Barbara. He served as the Gauchos’ offensive coordinator, helped with recruiting, and handled video analysis for both scouting and player development. Additionally, he was in charge of organizing team travel.
Walthall arrived in Santa Barbara from Ohio University where he served as an assistant coach for the women’s volleyball team alongside Theis. With the Bobcats, he was the team’s defensive coordinator and provided scouting analysis on Ohio opponents. Walthall found early success in Ohio, as his defense led the conference in both opponent hitting percentage (.172) and blocks per set (2.75), while also tallying the fifth-most digs (16.24/set).
Walthall spent three seasons as an assistant at the University of North Florida prior to his tenure at Ohio. As the top assistant for the Ospreys, Walthall helped UNF to the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament Championships in back-to-back seasons. In 2011, he coached a defense that boasted the league leaders in blocking, digs and opponent attack percentage.
He started his coaching career as a volunteer assistant coach for two seasons with perennial power Nebraska. While a member of the Cornhuskers’ staff, he assisted with video scouting, film breakdown and team training during practices while also helping with day-to-day administrative office duties.
Walthall was a four-year letterwinner at Penn State under head coach Mark Pavlik. With the Nittany Lions, he was a part of four national semifinal squads, including the 2006 season when the team competed in the National Championship match.
During his senior campaign in 2007, he ranked 15th nationally and led Penn State with a 2.33 digs-per-set average. While he served as a defensive and serving specialist during his first two seasons at Penn State, Walthall made the move to libero as a junior and helped the Nittany Lions to a 21-8 record and a national runner-up finish.
Walthall earned his bachelor’s degree in recreation, park, and tourism management at Penn State in May 2009.
The native of Bremerton, Washington attended Woodbridge High School where he was a Volleyball Magazine Fab 50 selection and team MVP as a senior. At the club level, he competed for the LBC, helping the team to the 2003 Junior Olympic National Championship.