• Publisher:
  • Published:
  • Categories:
    • University News
    • Athletics

Rivier University’s Craig Kolek selected to GNAC Hall of Fame

Craig Kolek, Head Coach for Men's Volleyball, to be honored for his career accomplishments.

Craig Kolek - Head CoachCraig Kolek, Head Coach for Men’s Volleyball and Associate Athletics Director at Rivier University, has earned induction into the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2023.

One of the most decorated NCAA Division III volleyball coaches of all time, Kolek became the first in NCAA history across all three divisions to reach 400 career victories coaching both a men’s and women’s team in 2017. Through the 2022-23 season, he has posted 542 wins with the Rivier men’s team and 516 victories guiding the Rivier women’s team.

“Coach Kolek has dedicated the past 26 years of his career to Rivier volleyball and the holistic development of his student-athletes,” said Director of Athletics Jonathan Harper. “He has built his programs on the concepts of character, family, dedication, and tradition and has done so with a tremendous amount of success.”

Within the GNAC, Kolek is a six-time conference postseason champion at the helm of the women’s program and has also secured nine titles as the mentor for the men’s team. Kolek has been voted GNAC Coach of the Year on 11 occasions since joining the Rivier community in 1997.

“Coach Kolek has long been a staple, not only within the GNAC but across the Northeast volleyball landscape,” said league Commissioner Joe Walsh. “His success at Rivier, with more than 1,000 combined career victories, speaks for itself. His recognition as a GNAC Hall of Famer is a well-deserved honor amidst an illustrious coaching career.”

On the national stage, Kolek’s teams have appeared at the NCAA Division III Women’s Volleyball Championship on six occasions and the Men’s Volleyball Championship five times. In 2013, the Raiders made it all the way to the Men’s Volleyball Final Four.

“Eclipsing the 1,000-win mark is an incredible feat when one considers the amount of effort it takes to lead two teams in opposite seasons with completely different rosters,” said Harper. “Despite this workload, each of Craig’s student-athletes, current and former, share the same passion for the sport of volleyball which has enhanced their overall Rivier education.”

A mainstay on the sideline for over 25 years, Kolek is the first individual from Rivier honored by the GNAC since two-sport standout and present-day member of the University’s Board of Trustees Aaron Dufoe ‘97/98 was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2019.