Tia Brandel-Wilhelm and the Ferris State University women's volleyball program are deeply intertwined as the Bulldog head coach embarks on her 19th year at FSU for the 2014 season. She has also served as the department's Senior Women's Administrator at various times during her collegiate coaching career.
Since becoming the program's fifth head coach in June 1996,
Brandel-Wilhelm has resurrected the program by guiding the Bulldogs
to nine NCAA Division II National Tournament appearances,
which includes seven of the last 10 seasons. In the
2011 season, she directed the Bulldogs to the program's 10th GLIAC
Championship and 16th NCAA Tournament berth as FSU posted a 27-4
overall record. The Bulldogs also were 18-1 in league action
and earned runner-up honors while hosting the conference postseason
The Bulldogs followed up a highly-successful 2011 season by posting a 24-8 overall record in 2012 while reaching the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Semifinals for the second consecutive year. FSU also posted a 16-2 mark in GLIAC North Division play and came within a single victory of claiming a second-straight conference championship.
In the 2013 campaign, the Bulldogs captured the NCAA Division II Midwest Regional Championship and advanced to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight. She earned her 500th career coaching victory by topping archrival Grand Valley State in the regional final on the Lakers' home floor.
Success and Brandel-Wilhelm have become synonomous as Ferris State recorded the program's 16th consecutive winning campaign in 2013 as Bulldogs attained double-digits in victories for the 33rd consecutive year. In the 2010 season, Brandel-Wilhelm reached another personal coaching milestone by notching her 300th victory at Ferris State following a 3-1 conference triumph at Michigan Tech (Oct. 24). She became FSU's all-time winningest coach in the 2011 campaign.
In 2004, Ferris State claimed its ninth GLIAC Championship after winning the league's annual postseason tournament for the first-time ever under Brandel-Wilhelm.
FSU reached the NCAA-II Great Lakes Regional Tournament under
Brandel-Wilhelm in 2002. During the 1999 campaign (Nov. 5),
Brandel-Wilhelm registered her 200th career coaching victory in the
Bulldogs' 3-1 home league win over Grand Valley State. Ferris also
finished runner-up at the GLIAC Tournament for the third time in
the Brandel-Wilhelm era during the 2001 season.
She notched her 300th all-time victory in 2004 and enters the 2014 season ranked among the nation's Division II active coaches with a 500-201 (.713) career mark in 21 seasons as a collegiate head coach. Her 500 career wins also ranks on the Division II active coaches total victories list and Brandel-Wilhelm is among the leaders in victory percentage for the winningest all-time coaches in the Division II ranks who have a minimum 10 years serving as a Division II head coach.
Through her hard work and dedication, Brandel-Wilhelm continues
to earn her place among the nation's most respected collegiate
coaches. Faced with the task of rebuilding the Bulldogs'
tradition-rich program in her first season, Brandel-Wilhelm
proceeded to direct the Bulldogs to a 19-12 overall record and a
top 25 national ranking. In the last 13 seasons,
Brandel-Wilhelm has coached Ferris to an impressive 312-129 overall
record (.707). She was voted as the GLIAC's Coach-of-the-Year for
the third time in 2011 by her peers after leading Ferris to
the program's first divisional title since the GLIAC was split into
North and South divisions.
Brandel-Wilhelm's resume demonstrates a penchant for winning. Prior to joining FSU, she served as head coach for three seasons (1993-95) at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, W. Va. Under Brandel-Wilhelm's tutelage, the Bobcats racked up a 118-20 overall record, captured three West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WVIAC) and regional titles, made two NAIA national tournament appearances, and placed fifth at the 1995 NCAA Division II Championships.
Brandel-Wilhelm left WVWC with an active streak of 80 conference victories. In 1993, she was selected WVIAC and NAIA Mid-South Region Coach-of-the-Year after guiding her team to an impressive 40-11 overall mark in her initial campaign.
Prior to being named head coach at WVWC, Brandel-Wilhelm served as an assistant coach for one season and a graduate assistant for two. She also assisted with West Virginia Wesleyan's track and softball teams.
She earned a master's in business administration from WVWC after receiving her undergraduate degree in business administration and psychology from Alma (Mich.) College in 1990.
Brandel-Wilhelm, who competed in both volleyball and track at Alma, was an all-conference first-team scholar athlete. While attending Alma, she coached volleyball for two years at Alma (Mich.) High School.
A native of Whitehall, Mich., Brandel-Wilhelm is accredited as a level II coach by the United States Volleyball Association. Brandel-Wilhelm, who is a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), also has held positions on the NCAA National Volleyball and AVCA Division II Volleyball Coaches Committees.
Brandel-Wilhelm is married to Dale Wilhelm and the couple resides in Big Rapids along with their daughter, Ivie, and stepson, Allen. The newest addition to the family is a son, Isaac, who was born on July 16, 2007.
Brandel-Wilhelm Coaching Accomplishments -- By The Numbers
* Consecutive Winnings Season: 18
* NCAA Tournament Appearances: 10
* NCAA Championship Appearances: 2
* NCAA Regional Tournament Titles: 3
* GLIAC Overall Championship Titles: 2
* GLIAC Tournament Championship Titles: 1
* AVCA All-Americans: 8
* All-GLIAC Conference Selections: 61