Valerie (Cowan) Townsend joined Pomona-Pitzer as the Head Volleyball Coach in 2000, entering her 20th season at the helm in 2019. Townsend quickly built the Pomona-Pitzer program into a consistent winner after taking over the reins. 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.
Valerie is a graduate of the 2019 NCAA Women Coaches Academy class #47 that was held in Denver, CO. The NCAA Women Coaches Academy, hosted in partnership between WeCOACH and the NCAA, is a 4-day educational training available to NCAA coaches of all experience levels, and is designed for women coaches who are ready to increase their individual effectiveness by learning advanced skills and strategies that directly affect their personal and team success.
In the spring of 2019, Valerie was inducted into the Monache High School Athletic Hall of Fame, where she was a three sport athlete participating in Volleyball, Basketball and Track & Field. Since 2006, she has served as the Director of SCVA Girls High Performance and has coached teams at the USA High Performance Championships as well as internationally at the Global Challenge in Pula, Croatia for several years. She has served on the Board of Directors and Ethics & Eligibility Committee for the Southern California Volleyball Association (SCVA) since 2007.
Prior to Pomona-Pitzer, Townsend served as an assistant coach at the University of Evansville (Ind.) during the 1999 season. Before heading to Indiana, she took over Head Volleyball Coaching duties at Porterville College (Calif.) from 1995-1999, after serving a year as the assistant coach. While she was at Porterville, Townsend's team qualified for the Nor Cal Regionals, a first for the program.
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, Townsend worked several camps, including San Luis Obispo, UC Santa Barbara, CSU Bakersfield, and West Texas State while being a student-athlete at CSU Bakersfield.
As a student-athlete at CSU Bakersfield, Townsend was a 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. In her senior season, she was 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.