GUNNISON, Colo. Western Colorado University Director of Athletics Miles Van Hee on Tuesday announced that Eric Ballelos has been named the head coach of the Mountaineers volleyball program.
“We are thrilled to welcome Eric to our Mountaineer family,” said Van Hee. “An experienced coach at the Division II and most recently the DI level, he brings with him a background in program- and culture-building, national recruiting, and fundraising.
“The Mountaineer program is on the rise, and we expect Eric to continue that elevation within the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference and to elevate Western volleyball onto the national scene.”
A Daly City, California, native, Ballelos brings a wealth of experience from his time at UC Riverside (Division I), San Francisco State (D-II), men’s college club, and USA Volleyball.
“I’ve been blessed to learn from so many great people in my volleyball career, and I’m looking forward to putting it all together here at Western Colorado,” said Ballelos. “I want to thank Miles Van Hee, the athletic administration, and the search committee for giving me this wonderful opportunity to lead their volleyball program and become a part of the Gunnison community.
“The family atmosphere within the volleyball team, the athletic department, and the town of Gunnison were exactly what I was looking for,” added Ballelos.
Ballelos was the lead assistant at UC Riverside, a program that achieved several firsts on his watch in their DI history — Chelsea Doyle became the all-time assists record holder in 2018 and Maddie Hubbell became the all-time digs record holder in 2016.
In 2018, outside hitter Kaiulani Ahuna became the program’s first AVCA National Player of the Week honoree on August 26, 2018, for posting 80 kills in 3 matches versus UMass Lowell, Montana, and Eastern Washington. The program also achieved the highest win total in Big West conference play in 2015.
The Highlanders of UC Riverside also excelled in the classroom with Ballelos’ aid. Three of the last four UCR Big West Scholar Athletes have come from the volleyball program — Kaiulani Ahuna (2019), Renata Bath (2021), and Amarachi Osuji (2022).
Prior to UC Riverside, Ballelos was promoted by then-head women’s coach Michell Patton Coleman as the Gators’ top assistant coach in 2011 after volunteering for the previous two seasons. The next year in 2012 Ballelos helped lead SF State to 21 wins, finishing second in the California Collegiate Athletic Association and earning a DII NCAA tournament berth — just the third in program history.
In his three seasons as the lead assistant at The Swamp, Ballelos’ primary focus was middle hitters and team blocking. There he coached middles Halimah Oswald (2011) and Meagan Wright (2012 & 2013) to CCAA All-Conference selections with Wright also named Freshman of the Year in 2012.
In addition to NCAA collegiate coaching, Ballelos coached the men’s college club teams with SF State and UC Riverside competing in the SCCVL and NCCVL, respectively. He also continues to work with USA Volleyball in various capacities.
Ballelos graduated from San Francisco State with a BA in English Literature and prior to his NCAA start at SF State, coached high school and club boy’s and girl’s programs in the San Mateo area.