Valerie (Cowan) Townsend joined Pomona-Pitzer as the Head Volleyball Coach in 2000 and is entering her 20th season at the helm in 2019. after recently guiding the Sagehens to the 2013 NCAA Tournament, Townsend quickly built the Pomona-Pitzer program into a consistent winner after taking over the reigns. The Sagehens finished second in the SCIAC in 2003 at 9-5, beginning a streak of eight straight seasons without a losing record (seven winning seasons, and one .500 season in 2005). In 2008, Pomona-Pitzer reached the 20-win plateau, finishing with a 20-9 overall record.
In 2013, the Sagehens earned their first NCAA Tournament bid since 1997, matching the 20-9 final record of the 2008 squad. Under Townsend's tutelage, junior Allie Frappier was named a first-team AVCA Division III All-American after leading the nation in kills per set (all divisions), two feats that she repeated as a senior in 2015.
Prior to Pomona-Pitzer, Townsend served as an assistant coach at the University of Evansville (Ind.) during the 1999 season and was also the Head Volleyball Coach at Porterville College (Calif.) from 1995-1999. While she was at Porterville, Townsend's team qualified for the NorCal Regionals for the first time.
Before making the transition to coaching at the collegiate level, Townsend coached at North High School in Bakersfield, and at Canberra High School in Australia. She has also had coaching experience with the Vintage Volleyball Club and with the San Luis Obispo Juniors. In addition to her coaching experience, Cowan has worked several camps, including San Luis Obispo, U.C. Santa Barbara, C.S.U. Bakersfield, and West Texas State.
As a player at CSU Bakersfield, Townsend was an NCAA Division II Second Team All America Selection (her school's first) and helped her team to the NCAA Division II National title in 1989. Townsend was also named to All-Tournament teams in the National Championships and the Air Force Premiere Tournament. In addition, she was a three-time First Team All West Region selection, and earned four straight All-CCAA honors.
Townsend continued her playing career past college in the USA Volleyball Championships, where she was a Gold Medalist in the Women's Open Bronze Division and an All-America selection in 1997, a Bronze Medalist (1998) and a Silver Medalist (2001) in the Women's 30s Division and a Silver Medalist in the Women's A Silver Division in 2006. In 2008, Townsend captured a silver medal in the Women's A Gold Division.