SMSU Vollleyball Camps
Head Coach Tery Culhane
Terry Culhane begins his 15th season as head coach at Southwest Minnesota State in 2018 as the program's all-time winningest head coach. A native of Marshall and a graduate of Southwest Minnesota State University, Culhane has cemented his status as an icon on the Minnesota volleyball scene with his success at both the prep and collegiate levels.
During his first 14 seasons as head coach, Culhane has directed the Mustangs to an overall record of 369-97 (.792), including 217-47 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference matches. SMSU has made 14 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances with 11 appearances in the NCAA region semifinals, three region championship appearances, and one national championship appearance.
Culhane helped SMSU to a second place finish in the NSIC in 2017 and led the Mustangs to the second NSIC Tournament Championship in program history with a sweep over top-seeded Concordia-St. Paul in the championship match. He coached the program's first ever Division II National Player of the Year in Taylor Reiss as the Mustangs made a 14th consecutive appearance while hosting the NCAA Central Region Tournament as the region's top seed.
Culhane led the Mustangs to a 13th consecutive NCAA Tournament in 2016 and was named the 2016 NSIC Coach of the Year. The Mustangs finished 2016 as AVCA's second ranked team in the country after posting SMSU's 14th straight season with at least 20 wins.
He began the 2016 season among the Top 10 in winning percentage among active coaches in NCAA Division II. He also began the season ranked in the Top 25 in all levels of NCAA in winning percentage among active coaches.
During Culhane’s tenure, the Mustangs have one NCAA national runner-up finish, two NCAA Central Region runner up finishes, have claimed two NSIC regular season championships, one NSIC tournament championship, have placed second five times in the NSIC standings and have played in three NSIC tournament championship matches.
Culhane, who has been named NSIC Coach of the Year four times, has coached 14 NCAA II All-American players, 19 first team all-region selections, one CCA All-Region Player of the Year, five AVCA Region Freshmen of the Year, four NSIC Players of the Year, five NSIC Freshman of the Year, 30 first team all-conference honorees, three CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and one NCAA Freshman of the Year.
Coach Culhane followed up the first National Championship appearance in program history by becoming the school's all-time winningest head coach in 2015. Culhane became the program's all-time wins leader with 309 victories, passing Deb Denbeck (1985-2002) after a sweep over Upper Iowa on Nov. 7. Culhane picked up his 300th career win on Oct. 10, 2015, versus St. Cloud State. Culhane led SMSU to its 12th consecutive season of at least 20 wins and its 12th straight appearance in the NCAA tournament. SMSU finished the season 26-6 overall and finished third in the NSIC with a 17-3 loop record. Culhane entered the 2015 season with 286 career wins in 11 seasons as head coach at SMSU.
The 2014 season was one of the most memorable in school history as Culhane led SMSU to the NCAA Elite Eight for the first time in program history and advanced to the NCAA national championship match before falling to the University of Tampa. In 2014, Culhane lead his team to its 12th straight season of at least 20 wins and its 11th consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament. SMSU finished the season 26-10 overall and recorded a fourth-place NSIC finish with a 15-5 conference record. The program reached new heights by capturing its first ever NCAA Central Region championship. SMSU also snapped Concordia-St. Paul's 43 post-season match win streak along with a streak of seven consecutive National Championship appearances.
The 2013 season saw the Mustangs win 30 matches, the highest win total since 1991. SMSU also held the No. 1 national ranking for four consecutive weeks and remained ranked in the top 10 all season. For his team’s performance over the course of the 2013 season, Culhane was named Coach of the Year by the NSIC for the third time.
In 2012, Culhane guided the Mustangs to a record-breaking season as SMSU won a school-record 19 straight victories, claimed the No. 1 ranking in the national poll for the first time in school history, earned a share of the NSIC title for the first time since 2001 and was crowned NSIC Tournament champions.
Culhane led SMSU to another first during the 2011 season, guiding the Mustangs to the NCAA region championship match for the first time in school history and finishing with a 25-7 record. SMSU ended the season ranked No. 8 in the country and had two players named All-American.
In 2010, SMSU finished 27-4, was ranked as high as No. 2 in the national poll and for the first time in program history hosted the NCAA region tournament at the PE Gym. SMSU began the season ranked No. 15 before moving to the No. 2 ranking during the week of Oct. 11. SMSU earned the top seed in the region and the right to host the NCAA Central Region volleyball tournament. Culhane produced four more All-America players in 2010 with Devin Diedrich being named to Daktronics All-America second team and AVCA All-America first team. Brooke Burmeister and Mary Groth were named to the AVCA All-America third team and Cara Carson was named AVCA All-America honorable mention. Diedrich was named the NSIC Offensive Player of the Year.
Culhane led the Mustangs to another winning record in 2009, finishing 25-8 and ranking No. 16 in the country and making its sixth straight NCAA tournament appearance. SMSU ended the season ranked in the top-10 nationally in three statistical categories, ranking second in the nation in assists per set with 14.06, third in kills per set (14.86) and sixth in digs per set (18.25). Culhane once again produced an AVCA All-America player in Devin Diedrich who was named to the third team, while freshman Mary Groth was named NSIC Freshman of the Year.
Per tradition, Culhane put together an even better season in 2008, leading SMSU to a 28-6 overall record and a second place finish with a 16-4 mark in a newly expanded NSIC. The Mustangs also matched the 2006 squad's record of a 12-match winning streak. Another NCAA tournament appearance was added to the books with SMSU advancing to the region semifinals. The Mustangs were mainstays on the national poll, claiming a spot there every week and checking in as high as No. 3 on Oct. 27--the highest at the time--in school history. Culhane had a pair of players land on the AVCA All-America team as senior Kasey Loeslie was third team honoree and freshman Devin Diedrich received an honorable mention accolades.
The 2007 season saw even more success as Culhane coached the Mustangs to a 26-8 overall record and a second place finish in the NSIC. After opening the season ranked 25th nationally, the Mustangs jumped to 11th on Sept. 4 and were ranked in the top-15 the remainder of the season, including as high as fourth on Sept. 24. Highlighting the season was SMSU’s 3-2 victory over eventual national champion Concordia-St. Paul, ending CU’s 69-match conference winning streak. For the fourth season in a row, Culhane’s squad advanced to the NCAA tournament before falling to Concordia in the region semifinals. Senior Erin Contons was named first team All-America following the season, SMSU’s first since joining NCAA.
In 2006, SMSU set a school record with a 27-9 overall record as well as setting a school record with a 12-match winning streak. The Mustangs finished third in the NSIC standings and made their third NCAA tournament appearance. SMSU was ranked in the NCAA II national poll 11 times throughout the season.
In 2005, SMSU had a 26-8 overall record, advanced to the NCAA tournament and won the program’s first ever NCAA tournament match as the team advanced to the regional semifinals. The 26 victories was the most ever by an SMSU team since moving to NCAA Division II in 1995 and the highest by an SMSU squad since the 1991 team won 30 matches. SMSU also appeared in the AVCA Top 25 national poll for three weeks, becoming the first Mustang squad to do so in school history. For his efforts, he was named the NSIC Co-Coach of the Year.
In his first season as head coach in 2004, Culhane led SMSU to a 22-10 overall record and a second place finish in the conference standings. The squad also advanced to the conference tournament championship match and qualified for the NCAA tournament, just the second NCAA appearance in school history at the time.
After enjoying unparalleled success coaching high school volleyball for 22 seasons, Culhane returned to his alma mater on Jan. 22, 2004, when he was named the fourth head coach in the program’s history.
Culhane came to SMSU after spending four seasons as head volleyball coach at Marshall High School, where he guided the Tigers to a sixth place finish at the 2003 Minnesota Class AAA state tournament and a No. 1 ranking in the final regular season state poll. During his tenure at Marshall, the Tigers made three Minnesota Class AAA state tournament appearances, including a runner-up finish in 2002. Culhane, who led Marshall to an overall record of 95-32 in his four seasons as head coach, was named the 2002 Minnesota Class AAA Coach of the Year.
A five-time Minnesota State Volleyball Coach of the Year honoree, Culhane finished with an impressive record of 519-112 in 22 seasons as a volleyball head coach. He also compiled 15 state tournament appearances and won six state championships.
He started his coaching career at Milroy High School in 1979. While at Milroy, he coached the Scrappers to a sixth place finish in the state tournament in 1983 and a fifth place finish in 1984.
In 1986, he was named head coach at Tracy-Milroy High School and in the next 11 seasons, guided the Panthers to 10 state tournament appearances, including state championship squads in 1990, 1992, 1994, 1995 and 1996. Tracy-Milroy also finished as state runners-up in 1991 and earned third place finishes in 1986, 1988 and 1993. He was named Minnesota Class A State Coach of the Year in 1992, 1994, 1995 and 1996.
An inductee into the Minnesota Volleyball Coaches Association Hall of Fame and Minnesota Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame, Culhane has also had tremendous success as a high school girls’ basketball coach. Named head coach at Marshall High School in 1997, he led the Tigers to three state tournament appearances, including a pair of state championships in 2001 and 2002. He was named Minnesota Class AAA Coach of the Year in 2000, 2001 and 2002.
Before taking over at Marshall, he led Tracy-Milroy High School to a pair of Minnesota Class A state championships in both 1992 and 1996. Prior to Tracy-Milroy, he was head girls’ basketball coach at Milroy High School where his 1985 squad placed second at the state tournament while he earned Minnesota Outstate Coach of the Year accolades.
He has also had an outstanding career as a Junior Olympic volleyball head coach, leading the Southwest Minnesota Juniors to a fifth place finish at the National Open Division Tournament in 1998 and an eighth place finish at the 1999 Club Division National Tournament. On the basketball court, he led the North Tartan AAU squad to the Division I National Championship in 2003, while his North Tartan team finished in third place in 2002.
Culhane is a 1978 graduate of SMSU with a degree in elementary education, physical education and health. While at SMSU, he spent time on both the Mustang baseball and basketball squads. He earned his master’s degree from SMSU in 2000 in education leadership.
Terry and his wife Sandy live in Marshall and have two daughters, Ashley and Allison.