Lightning speed. That's the only rate at which Jeff Walz operates. It's also the pace at which University of Louisville women's basketball burst into the national spotlight under his tutelage as one of the most competitive and successful programs.
In seven seasons, the women's basketball program boasts a quite astounding résumé: five trips to the NCAA Sweet 16, two of which culminated in NCAA runner-up finishes; two highly decorated All-Americans; 16 all-conference selections; and five WNBA Draft picks.
Not to mention, Louisville possesses an impressive record under Walz of 181-70 - or an average of nearly 26 victories per season. For a school that had yet to win 30 games in a season in its previous 32 years, Walz directed Louisville to a program-record 34 victories in 2008-09 and then 33 wins in 2013-14.
Walz and the Cardinals also have been privy to play in the nation's finest facility in the KFC Yum! Center, a 22,000-seat state-of-the-art arena. Since opening in 2010, the Cardinals boast a 58-8 record at home. That might be in large part to the heavy support Louisville receives. Since the 2010-11 season, Louisville has ranked in the top-three nationally in attendance and averaged more than 9,300 fans each year.
After being hired as the Cardinals' head coach on March 27, 2007, the Bluegrass State native used little time to make a splash. His first year featured the program's first NCAA Sweet 16 and it culminated with Louisville earning the No. 12 ranking in the final ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. For his efforts, Walz was named the WBCA Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year.
Prior to taking the reins at Louisville, Walz spent five seasons at Maryland, including his final season as the associate head coach in 2006-07. The season prior, he helped lead the Terrapins to a school-record 34 wins and the program's first national title.
His tenure in the collegiate ranks consists of stops previously at Minnesota, Nebraska, and Western Kentucky.
Walz received a basketball scholarship to Northern Kentucky, where he graduated from with a bachelor of science in secondary education in May of 1995. He earned his master's degree in education in August of 1997 from Western Kentucky.
Walz has three children: daughter Kaeley, son Jacob, and daughter Lola. He married the former Lauren Lueders in September of 2012, and the couple resides in Louisville.
COACHING RESPONSIBILITY: Head Coach YEAR AT LOUISVILLE: Eighth BIRTHDAY: October 27 EDUCATION: Bachelor's Degree (Northern Kentucky, '95); Master's Degree (Western Kentucky, '97) HOMETOWN: Fort Thomas, Ky. FAMILY: Wife - Lauren; Son - Jacob; Daughters - Kaeley, Lola
Two-year letterwinner on the men's basketball team at Northern Kentucky
COLLEGIATE COACHING CAREER
2007-Present: Louisville (head coach)
2006-07: Maryland (associate head coach)
2002-06: Maryland (assistant coach)
2001-02: Minnesota (assistant coach)
1997-01: Nebraska (assistant coach)
1996-97: Western Kentucky (assistant coach)
Is the winningest coach in program history with a 181-70 record in seven seasons, boasting a 76-38 mark in league play; Louisville is averaging 25.9 victories per year, the most in program history
Has directed Louisville to a pair of national runner-up finishes (2009, 2013); in leading Louisville to six NCAA Tournament appearances, the program has reached at least the NCAA Sweet 16 five times and at least the NCAA Elite Eight three times
Became just the second coach to take a team to the national championship game (2009) after just two seasons as a head coach
In 2013, orchestrated the biggest upset in women's basketball history with the defeat of No. 1 overall seed Baylor in the NCAA Sweet 16; Louisville then defeated No. 2 seed Tennessee to reach their second Final Four in four years before beating Cal to advance to the national title game
Produced a school-record 34 victories in 2009; after knocking off a pair of No. 1 seeds (Maryland, Oklahoma) and a No. 2 seed (Baylor), the Cardinals advanced to the championship game; Louisville defeated Maryland for its first NCAA Final Four appearance
Louisville claimed the No. 2 ranking in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll at the end of the 2009 season, the highest standing in the final poll in program history
Of the five WNBA draft picks under Walz's watch, Louisville saw a school-record three in the 2014 Draft: Schimmel (eighth), Antonita Slaughter (35th), and Asia Taylor (36th); Louisville's three picks were the most from any school that season
Named the 2008 WBCA Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year in his first season after leading the school to its first NCAA Sweet 16; that year, Louisville earned its first win over a top-five opponent (No. 4 Rutgers) in school history, then beat No. 16 West Virginia for consecutive wins over ranked opponents for the first time in school history
Selected to serve on the 2014 staff for the USA Basketball Women's U-18 National Team
Led Louisville to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2013-14, a season in which Louisville rattled off a school record 16-consecutive victories; the previous best was 15 (2006-07)
Guided the Cardinals to a 16-2 conference record in 2013-14, setting the program record for most conference victories
Has a proven track record for identifying talent, having signed multiple top-10 recruiting classes; inked the program's highest-rated group in 2010 that ranked fifth by ESPN; the next year's class featured a pair of McDonald's All-Americans
Developed two of the most decorated players in school history in Angel McCoughtry and Shoni Schimmel; both finished their careers as AP All-Americans and Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, on the career scoring list
Directed McCoughtry to become the first pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft; she was the program's first three-time State Farm WBCA All-American; she accumulated 2007 BIG EAST Player of the Year and 2009 BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Year honors during her tenure along with 2009 Raleigh Regional Most Outstanding Player accolades
Built an exciting brand of basketball that has seen Louisville rank in the top-three nationally each of the last four seasons; the Cardinals have averaged more than 9,300 per game for four-consecutive seasons
Louisville boasts an 89-18 home record (83.2 winning percentage) with Walz at the helm; the Cardinals set the record for home wins in 2013-14 with an 18-2 mark
Helped build Maryland into a national power during his tenure, with the Terrapins winning the 2006 national title; Maryland made four-consecutive appearances in the NCAA Tournament, advancing to at least the second round each time
The Terrapins won at least 18 games in his final four seasons, including a school-record 34 in 2006
Seven Terrapins earned all-ACC accolades; two players (Crystal Langhorne, Marissa Coleman) earned ACC Rookie of the Year status in consecutive seasons
Was pivotal in Maryland signing back-to-back recruiting classes that were ranked in the top five (2004, 2005)
Specifically worked with the posts and centers, including developing Janel McCarville into the 2002 Big Ten Freshman of the Year
The Gophers went 22-8 in his lone season with the program, culminating with a trip to the NCAA Tournament second round; the program went just 8-20 the season prior
Played a major role in Nebraska earning a then-school record three-consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament (1998-00); the Huskers totaled a pair of 20-plus win seasons
Coached Nicole Kubik, the Los Angeles Sparks' No. 1 pick in the 2000 WNBA Draft
Was involved in all aspects of the program, including recruiting efforts, academics, scheduling, and camps; also became responsible for individual development workouts and opponent scouting
Helped the team earn an at-large bid to the 1997 NCAA Tournament
Assisted Western Kentucky to a 22-9 record to earn a share of the Sun Belt regular-season title
Served as an AAU coach in 1995-96; coached at the middle and high school levels in 1992
Coached his sister Jamie, the 1996 National Prep Player of the Year; she now is the girls' basketball coach at their alma mater Highlands High School
Mentored 1999 NCAA champion and WNBA standout Ukari Figgs, Tennessee four-year letterwinner Kyra Elzy, and Ohio State product and Louisville native Marita Porter
Coach Walz Year-by-Year
First Sweet 16 in program history
Named WBCA Maggie Dixon Rookie Coach of the Year
First Final Four in program history
Most wins in school history
Finished season ranked No. 2 in Coaches Poll
Advanced to the Sweet 16
NCAA Second Round
Finished season ranked No. 3 in Coaches Poll
Advanced to NCAA Elite Eight
Second-most wins in school history
Finished the year No. 4 in AP Poll