After 20 years at the helm of Western New Mexico Volleyball, Head Coach Jim Callender has announced his retirement following the conclusion of the 2018 season. "Coach Callender has been a highly successful college coach over the last 37 years," says Director of Athletics Scott Noble. "He has been a true ambassador for the game of volleyball, but more importantly a compassionate mentor for the many students/athletes over that time span. I am privileged to have worked alongside Jim, and eager to continue that relationship. His experience, insight and encouragement are vitally important to our continual commitment to excellence."
Before making his way to Silver City, Coach Callender had stints at Western Oregon State College (1985-87,) Memphis State University (1987-89,) Mundelein College (1989-91,) Peru State College (1991-96,) and Saint Mary's University (1996-1998.) He was also active at the National level working for the United States Volleyball Association as a Head Coach for the USAV Volleyball Developmental Camps, Junior National teams and Volleyball Club Director.
Callender's career in coaching dates back to 1981 where he led the Men's Volleyball team at his alma mater Western Illinois. While working on his doctorate at Brigham Young, Callender was a member of the Men's Volleyball team as well as assisted both the men's and women's programs.
After his time at BYU, Coach Callender moved up to the Pacific Northwest as an assistant at Western Oregon State College for the Women's Tennis and Volleyball programs. As an NAIA contender at Western Oregon, Coach Callender was a member of the Volleyball National Ranking Committee, and a Cascade Conference Chair. The volleyball team achieved an 88-20 record, maintained a national Top 10 ranking from 1985-87 and finished 9th at the NAIA National Championship in 1985. The following year Coach Callender was recognized for his achievements, receiving Cascade Conference Coach of the Year and District 2 Coach of the Year.
On April 15, 1998 Jim Callender was named the head coach of Western New Mexico Volleyball and has since recorded a 351-246 record. In 2005, Coach Callender lead a previously 8-20, and 0-33 team to a 26-5 record, a Heartland Conference Championship, and a NCAA National Tournament appearance. The run continued into the 2006 season as Western competed in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference achieving a 26-7 record, a conference championship, and another NCAA National Tournament appearance. While competing in the RMAC, Coach Callender achieved a NCAA Tournament appearance in 2013, as well as earned Coach of the Year twice.
"Volleyball is a great game. The sport is constantly evolving and changing to make it better. I'm proud to have been a part of that change the past four decades in USA Volleyball Development Camps, American Volleyball Coaches Association all the universities, camps and club volleyball programs.
"I would like to thank the countless coaches that mentored me and that I have worked with, competed against, who became life-long friends. The staffs and athletic trainers that worked tirelessly to make my teams and life a little easier.
"Most importantly, the thousands of young women and men that I have coached in camps, clubs and in collegiate programs. They will always be my 'family.' They will always be in my heart and I will treasure the experiences we had together and the bonds that we built. I'll never leave this wonderful game, but it is time for a new chapter of my life," said Coach Callender
Jim completes his career qualifying for the conference tournament 11 times and 3 national tournament appearances. He has produced 75 All-Conference Selections, 19 All-Americans, 90 Academic All-Conference Selections, 16 Academic All-Americans and 1 Kodak Scholar Athlete. With 725 wins, Coach Callender finishes his career 6th All-Time in the NCAA Division II Active Coaching Victories, 13th Winningest Coach All-Time in NCAA Division II, and 17th in Winningest Active Coaches All-Time throughout all NCAA Divisions.