It's tough to deny the success that Liz Kritza had as Colorado's head volleyball coach.

In the end, though, Kritza and the CU administration didn't see eye to eye on the direction of the Buffaloes' program.

On Thursday, CU announced that Kritza has been dismissed and will not return for her eighth season.

"A determination has been made that we need to go in a different direction from a leadership standpoint," CU athletic director Rick George said in a press release. "We do appreciate what Liz Kritza has contributed to the program in raising our profile both nationally and in the Pac-12 Conference, but there are differences that have caused us to make a change in the program at this time."

Kritza did not respond to messages on Thursday night, and CU players declined to be interviewed.

CU was just 90-125 in Kritza's seven seasons, but went 57-41 in her final three seasons.

The Buffs were invited the NCAA Tournament in 2013 and 2014 - reaching the second round both times - and were perceived as perhaps the biggest snub from this year's tournament field. Since 1993, 113 Pac-10/12 teams have posted winning conference records and 112 got invited to the NCAA Tournament. The only exception was the Buffs (19-13, 11-9 Pac-12) this fall.

A Colorado native, Kritza was hired by CU on Feb. 10, 2009, as just the fourth coach in program history. She replaced the school's winningest coach, Pi'i Aiu.


Kritza took over a program that had gone through back-to-back losing seasons, and she opened her tenure with a 7-22 record in 2009. In 2010, CU's final year in the Big 12, the Buffs went 6-20.

In 2011, the Buffs joined the toughest volleyball conference in the country, the Pac-12, and struggled to a 6-24 mark, including 1-21 in conference play.

From there, however, the Buffs went on a steady rise. Kritza began attracting nationally-ranked talent, including Alexis Austin and Nicole Edelman, who, as freshmen in 2012, helped the Buffs finish 14-18.

The Buffs jumped to 18-14 in 2013 and reached the NCAA Tournament for the first time in seven years.

In 2014, the Buffs went 20-14 - the program's first 20-win season in 11 years - reached the NCAA Tournament again, and vaulted into the Top 25 rankings for the first time in nine years. They climbed as high as No. 18, the program's top ranking since 1999.

With Austin and Edelman leading the way as seniors this season, the Buffs matched their regular season overall and conference records from a year ago, and received Top 25 votes almost every week. They also won a program-record six matches against ranked teams, and closed the season on a 5-1 surge. Still, they fell short of a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Now, CU will look for somebody else to lead the Buffs back to the national stage in the future.

CU announced that associate head coach J.T. Wenger will serve as interim head coach while the administration conducts a search for a new full-time head coach.

This will be the first head coaching change George has made in the athletic department since he was hired on Aug. 12, 2013.

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at or