Coach Natalie Balleto, previously Natalie Wildes, began coaching at MMU in 2018.
Balleto comes to MMU with years of collegiate coaching under her belt spanning across the divisions of the NCAA and NAIA with many winning seasons to boot. The Milwaukee native began her coaching career with the Great Lakes Volleyball Club out of Racine, Wis. as head coach of the boys’ team. Not before long, Balleto worked her way to an assistant position for two seasons at the University of Wisconsin Parkside, an NCAA Division II school.
Balleto then took a split position where she was head men’s and first assistant women’s coach at Earlham College, an NCAA DIII institution from Richmond, Ind. Following her work at Earlham, Balleto was then hired onto the Lewis University staff as the first assistant for the volleyball team. While at the NCAA DII institution, Balleto’s team went 63-12.
Balleto then earned the head women’s volleyball coaching position at Cardinal Stritch University. In just a few seasons, Balleto had turned around a program that routinely finished the season with a losing record, into a consistent contender for the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference regular season and postseason championships.
Two seasons in a row, Balleto’s CSU team made it to the NAIA National Championship Tournament. In the midst of her success with the women’s team, Balleto took over coaching for the men’s volleyball team at CSU in 2012. The men’s team quickly responded to Balleto’s coaching style and worked their way to the NAIA National Championship Tournament in 2015.
All the while, Balleto has instilled the most important trait of the student-athletes she has worked with, working hard in the classroom. In her career as head coach, her 13 teams have averaged above a 3.3 GPA.
Along from coaching, Balleto worked as CSU’s senior woman administrator for multiple academic years. Giving her years of experience with Title IX duties.
Balleto has already began conversations with her student-athletes and staff and is excited about what is ahead, “We are eager about the future of our volleyball program,” added Balleto. “Right now, I believe we have a group that is committed to improving our culture and believe in the process of preparation. We know that with hard work on and off the court, along with dedication to each other, we will make huge strides this season!”