The NECC Family Mourns the Passing of Volleyball Coach David Hildebrandt

The NECC Family Mourns the Passing of Volleyball Coach David Hildebrandt

The NECC Family Mourns the Passing of Volleyball Coach David Hildebrandt

CHICOPEE, Mass. -- On Sunday, August 3, 2008, Newbury College, Elms College and the New England Collegiate Conference tragically lost a friend, colleague and coach, David Hildebrandt. David passed away in a tragic drowning accident in the Swift River, during a camping trip in Albany, New Hampshire. The native of Glidden, Wisconsin was 29 years old.

Coach Hildebrandt was well respected, sincere, generous and kind. He will be forever missed by his teammates, coaches and the university communities. David was the head men's and women's volleyball coach at Newbury College for the past seven years and recently joined the Elms College staff this past May.

"David was a talented young man, full of promise, ready to bring his passion and enthusiasm to our campus community as men and women's volleyball coach and director of intramurals. His passing is a great loss to the Elms College family," said Walter Breau, Ph.D., interim president, Elms College.

At Newbury, he earned the 2008 New England Coach of the Year for the first time after leading the Nighthawks to a 10-1 divisional record and the New England title for the first time ever. Newbury, the No. 6 seed in the NECVA Tournament, advanced to the championship final for the first time under his leadership.

"David Hildebrandt has been a valuable member of the Newbury College community for the past seven years and his impact on the College will be felt for many years to come," said Paul N. Martin, Vice President of Student Affairs at Newbury. "While he was immensely successful as a coach he will be missed more for the character of his personality and the extra effort he put forth in helping the student athletes of Newbury College reach their academic and athletic goals."

He was one of four finalists for the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Division III Men's Coach of the Year award after leading the Nighthawks to a program-record 33 wins (33-10) and a national ranking of sixth in the final 2008 AVCA Division III Top 15 Coaches Poll.

Peter Centola, Director of Athletics at Newbury added: "David was an unbelievable professional who held two hats both as the head the volleyball coach and one of Newbury's admission staff members," said Peter Centola, Director of Athletics. "His work ethic and dedication to the program was evident in all aspects of his coaching career. David lead by example both on and off the court and was a terrific mentor to fellow coaches. His legacy lives on among the student-athletes that crossed his path and they continue to aspire to the bar that he has set."

Elms College was so looking forward to his talent and experience in guiding the Blazers' men and women's volleyball teams in the coming years as well as their intramural program.

"We were excited to hire someone of David's caliber, and we are sure that with his talent, experience, and passion for volleyball, he would have set a wonderful example for our student athletes." Louise T. McCleary, director of athletics noted. "We are greatly saddened that we will not have an opportunity to get to know and work with him. David's passion for life was infectious and we are so grateful for the short time we knew him."

David's success with the Nighthawk's was stellar. His teams' winning percentage was the best of any coach in any sport in Newbury's history.  He won a combined 242 matches and posted a .565 winning percentage at the helm of both programs - best of any coach in any sport in school history.

In 2006, Coach Hildebrandt was honored as Association of Division III Independents Women's National Coach of the Year after leading the Nighthawks to their first-ever independent tournament title.

Hildebrandt helped build Newbury's men's program into a perennial national contender, as the Nighthawks have been ranked in the AVCA Division III Top 15 Coaches Poll in each of the last four years.

Two of his former student-athletes had this to say about Coach Hildebrandt's legacy:

Ken McNeeley - Class of 2007, Newbury College
"Dave Hildebrandt was the first person I met as I stepped onto Newbury's campus and the first to help me on my way out into grad school.  He supported me not only as a coach, but as a friend through 4 years of college.  His office door was always open and he was always ready to jump at the opportunity to help any of his players or students that came to him.  Dave will be greatly missed on and off the court, and hopefully the volleyball teams will continue in his winning tradition, just the way he left us."

Katie Hawkes - Class of 2007, Newbury College
"Coach Dave was huge influence on why I had the opportunity to attend Newbury College and play the game of volleyball, the sport that I love so much. He gave me and so many others the chance to live out our dreams. He will be sadly missed by all because he has touched our lives in such a profound way."

Hildebrandt was a four-year member of the men's volleyball program at Johnson & Wales University (RI) where he earned his bachelor's degree in 2001.

Please check back for news on funeral and memorial services for Coach Hildebrandt.

The memorial service for our friend and colleague, David Hildebrandt, will be held on Friday, August 8 at 7 p.m.

Newbury College Student Center
129 Fisher Avenue
Brookline, MA

Other tributes to Coach Hildebrandt:

Newberry College:

North East Collegiate Volleyball Association:

Elms College: