Through her first six seasons at the helm of the Yale volleyball
team, Erin Appleman has already established herself as one of the
most accomplished coaches in the history of Ivy League volleyball.
She has won two Ivy League Championships and is the only volleyball
coach in league history to win an NCAA Championship match, a feat
she accomplished in 2004 and 2008. The second-winningest coach in
Yale history at 107-44, her .709 winning percentage ranks her in
the top 30 among active coaches in all of Division I.
In 2008, Appleman led Yale to its best season in program history. The 2008 Bulldogs posted a record of 21-6, won the Ivy League Championship outright with a 13-1 league mark and went on to defeat Ohio University in an NCAA Championship First Round match. Already the only Ivy League volleyball coach to win an NCAA Championship match (Albany, 2004), the win over Ohio also made Appleman the first coach to do so away from her team’s home court. Including the postseason victory over Ohio, Yale defeated three NCAA Championship participants in 2008. Additionally, five of Yale’s six losses came at the hands of NCAA Championship participants, including two setbacks at Penn State, the eventual undefeated National Champions. Appleman coached a trio of first team All-Ivy selections in 2008, including Cat Dailey, the unanimous Ivy League Player of the Year.
“Yale is a tremendous place to coach because of the personal makeup of our players -- the student-athletes on our team know what it means to compete and set high goals or else they wouldn’t be here,” Appleman said. “Our players are dedicated and committed to each other and, because they love this institution, I have no doubt we will play to our potential and improve as a team every single year.”
The Bulldogs have won at least 10 league matches in each of the last five seasons and have been .500 or better in the Ivy League in every season under Appleman. Overall, Yale boasts a record of 65-21 (.756) against Ivy League opponents during her tenure. Her most recent graduating seniors posted a winning percentage of .730 (73-27), the highest winning percentage for any Yale volleyball class to have played four varsity seasons.
“Our volleyball team is surrounded by loyal supporters throughout the campus -- the chemistry between the athletic and academic departments is positive, and our administrative staff encourages our players and coaches to maintain high standards,” she said. “Volleyball at Yale plays a vital role in the development of the total person, and we continually emphasize to our players the importance of positive energy, pride and commitment.”
Appleman spent eight years as an assistant coach at Penn State. During her tenure, the Nittany Lions reached the NCAA Final Four five times (1993-94, 1997-99) and won five Big Ten championships. In addition, she served as an assistant coach for the USA Youth National Team in 1995 and 1996. Prior to Penn State, Appleman served as an assistant coach at Cal State-Northridge and the University of San Diego.
Appleman is a 1990 graduate of San Diego State, where she served as volleyball captain and was voted the team’s Most Valuable Player in 1989. Despite playing just two seasons for the Aztecs, she currently sits fourth on the university’s all-time list with 3,144 career assists. Before transferring to San Diego State, she competed for two years at United States International University. In addition, she was a member of the Asics Tiger Junior Volleyball Club for six years and was selected as MVP at the Junior National Tournament in 1985, when her team won the title.
Her husband, Christian Appleman, is the assistant coach for the Yale men’s tennis team and the assistant director of tennis operations at the university’s Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center. They have two children: Justin, 8, and Emma, 6.