Beginning his volleyball coaching career on the heels of the implementation of Title IX in 1973 at Marina High School in Huntington Beach, California, Charles "Chuck" Erbe developed into one of the best international and collegiate coaches this country has ever seen. Known for his attention to technical details, Erbe was one of the first American coaches to study the training methods of the Japanese, who were, at the time, the top women's program in the world. By the time he retired from Michigan State at the end of his coaching career, Erbe had amassed a collegiate record of 554-261-3, after splitting 24 collegiate seasons at the helm of the University of Southern California (1976-1988) and the Spartans (1993-2004).
Erbe led the Women of Troy to four National Championships: AIAW National Championships in 1976, 1977 and 1980, and the first NCAA National Championship in 1981. USC advanced to AIAW or NCAA Tournament play in 11 of his 12 years as head coach. His first two seasons saw the Trojans register an incredible 72-1 record, with his 1977 squad finishing a perfect 38-0. That team had five players (Carolyn Becker, Debbie Green, Debbie Landreth, Terry Place, and Sue Woodstra) who were later named to the 1980 USA Women's National Team, and is widely considered one of the top teams ever assembled.
While in East Lansing, Erbe coached the Michigan State team to 10 consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament. His 1994 team advanced to the national semifinals, earning Erbe Big Ten, Volleyball Magazine and AVCA National Coach of the Year honors.
Internationally, Erbe enjoyed great success coaching the United States women and juniors. He led the U.S. women's team in the World Volleyball Championships in Mexico City, Mexico, and went on to win consecutive Pacific Rim Junior Championships in 1975 and 1976. The 1975 win marked the first time in volleyball history that a USA team defeated Japan at any level of competition. In 1981, he was at the helm of the U.S. women's team in the World University Games in Bucharest, Romania in addition to serving as an assistant coach for the national team in 1979.
"Today, the volleyball world is filled with hundreds of coaches and players which were influenced by Chuck," said University of Central Florida Head Coach, and Erbe protégé, Todd Dagenais. "Each of them form a branch off of his ‘coaching tree,' some of them are even today's primary caretakers and innovators in the sport, but all of them still depend on the strength of those roots Chuck laid down so many years ago."