Alija Pittenger joined the Panthers' coaching staff in 2003 and is in her fourth season as an assistant coach. In her last three years with the Panthers, she's helped coach them to a Big East conference title and two consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.
"I'm excited for this year, and I think it's going to be a lot of fun," said Pittenger. "Practices should be exciting because everyone has a chance to play this year."
In her time with the Panthers, Pittenger has helped build a program with a hard-working, blue-collar mentality. Throughout her tenure, Pitt student-athletes have captured numerous conference and regional honors each year.
Last season she helped guide three Panthers to All-Big East honors and Megan McGrane to a Big East "Libero of the Year" award and AVCA All-America honors. In 2004, she coached the team to an at-large NCAA berth and in 2003 to the Big East Conference title.
Pittenger came to the Panthers from the University of Southern Indiana, where she served as an assistant coach for the 2002 season. While at Southern Indiana, Pittenger assisted in all aspects of the program and helped lead the Screaming Eagles to a conference tournament championship and a berth in the NCAA Division II tournament. Southern Indiana advanced to the second round of the NCAAs in 2002.
Before her coaching experience at Southern Indiana, Pittenger was an undergraduate assistant coach at Michigan, her alma mater, in 2001. She helped facilitate the implementation of efficient and effective practices and also assisted in the training of the defensive specialists.
As a collegiate player with the Wolverines, Pittenger was a four-time letterwinner as an outside hitter and setter and helped Michigan to its first top 25 national ranking in 2000 and to three NCAA Championship tournaments in 1997, 1999 and 2000.
Pittenger finished her senior year in 2000 as the team leader in digs and was second on the Wolverines in kills. She graduated from Michigan in December 2001 with a bachelor's degree in movement science.
Pittenger has also served as the head coach of the women's 18-and-under team at the Go Blue Volleyball Club in Ann Arbor in 2001.