Speraw Named U.S. Men's National Volleyball Team Head Coach
B.J. Hoeptner Evans
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 25, 2013) – John Speraw, a two-time Olympic assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team, has been named the program’s head coach for the next Olympic Games quadrennial culminating at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games, USA Volleyball Chief Executive Officer Doug Beal announced on Monday.
Speraw, 41, will also continue as the head men’s volleyball coach at UCLA in a dual role with the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team. He accepted the head job at his alma mater in June 2012 and is completing his first campaign with the Bruins.
“I am very happy that John has accepted our offer to be the U.S. Men’s head coach,” Beal said. “He’s the right person for the job for this quad at this time. He’s a terrifically talented coach who has had a remarkable level of success at the college level. He knows the current U.S. Men’s player pool very well from his experiences over the last two quads. He has mentored under both Hugh McCutcheon and Alan Knipe.”
Speraw said he felt ready for the challenge of leading two men’s volleyball teams.
“Now that I’ve been at UCLA for almost a full season, it is apparent that (coaching both teams) is doable,” Speraw said. “The support and resources at UCLA are beyond what I have imagined. I have two great assistant coaches (at UCLA) in Brad Keller and Andrea Becker and an amazing staff.
"I am excited to take on this new role with USA Volleyball," Speraw said. "I am honored to have been selected to coach this elite group of talented U.S. players and I appreciate UCLA's support in allowing me to pursue this tremendous opportunity."
"I congratulate John Speraw on his appointment as head coach for the U.S. national team," said Dan Guerrero, UCLA athletic director. "UCLA volleyball has always had strong ties with USA Volleyball and I look forward to John’s success with both programs."
There will be media availability with John Speraw at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday (March 26) at the American Sports Centers in Anaheim, Calif. Media who cannot attend can contact B.J. Evans so they can call in by telephone.
The U.S. Men’s National Team moved to Anaheim in 2006 and it is now the Official Host City for both the U.S. Men’s and Women’s National Volleyball Teams.
Speraw joined the U.S. Men’s staff in 2007 under then head coach Hugh McCutcheon. In 2008, he traveled with the U.S. Men to the Olympic Games in Beijing where they won the gold medal. After 2008, he worked with the U.S. Men as needed, including a stint as the head coach of a young team that finished fifth at the 2011 Pan American Games.
In 2012, Speraw returned as the assistant coach for the FIVB World League and filled in as head coach for the 2012 World League team for four overseas pool play matches while then head coach Alan Knipe was dealing with a family emergency. The U.S. Men went on to win the silver medal in the FIVB World League Final Round.
Speraw assisted Knipe at the 2012 Olympic Games in London where the U.S. Men placed fifth after winning its preliminary pool with a 4-1 record. The U.S. Men go into 2013 ranked fifth in the world by the FIVB.
Clay Stanley, who played at opposite on the 2004, 2008, and 2012 Olympic teams and has served as the U.S. Men’s team captain since 2011, was happy with the choice.
“I am surprised and pleased that John Speraw will be the new U.S. Men’s head coach,” Stanley said, “He is obviously a great choice for the job, having served as an assistant coach for two Olympics. I know the players will be excited to work with him and his staff.”
Rich Lambourne, who has been the starting libero for the U.S. Men since 2005 and is a two-time Olympian, echoed Stanley.
“I'm extremely excited to work with coach Speraw and his staff,” Lambourne said. “He brings almost a decade of experience and familiarity with the international game and with the USA Volleyball culture. I look forward to his guidance and tutelage as I know of his tireless work ethic and wealth of teaching ability.”
Speraw served as head coach of the U.S. Men’s Junior National Volleyball Team that won the silver medal at the NORCECA Men’s Junior (U-21) Continental Volleyball Championship in 2005. He served as an assistant for the U.S. Boys’ Youth National Team (1998 and 2001), the World University Games Team (1997 and 1999) and the Pan American Games Team (1999, 2007).
Speraw said one of his first priorities will be choosing a staff to help guide the U.S. Men’s Team over the next four years. He will also need to choose rosters for the 2013 FIVB World League and the 2013 Pan American Cup within his first few weeks on the job.
“Hiring a great staff is going to be key to making this endeavor successful,” Speraw said. “After that, our immediate goals will be World League and the Pan American Cup.”
Speraw's record at UCLA is 15-9 and his overall collegiate head coaching record is 214-115 including 10 previous seasons as the head coach at UC Irvine. This week the Bruins are ranked fifth nationally and have won four straight and six of their last seven matches.
Al Scates, who coached the UCLA men’s volleyball team for 50 seasons, has worked with Speraw when Speraw was a player for the Bruins and an assistant coach.
“John has assisted with our last two Olympic Teams and I know he is a great hire for USA Volleyball,” Scates said. “I commend Doug Beal for having the foresight to wait until John became available and Dan Guerrero for allowing John to take the position.”
As UC Irvine's men’s volleyball coach, Speraw transformed the program into a national power. Under his direction, the Anteaters won three NCAA Men’s National Collegiate Volleyball Championship titles in the last six years and advanced to the NCAA Championship four times, won two Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF) regular season titles and a pair of MPSF Tournament championships.
In 2008, Speraw received a Pillar Award, which showcases outstanding achievement in ethical leadership at the12th Annual Ethics in America Awards. In 2011, he was given the U.S. Olympic Achievement Award, an honor that recognizes the colleges and universities whose coaches and student-athletes have won Olympic medals in the past two Olympic Games.
Prior to UCI, Speraw served in various roles with the UCLA men’s volleyball program for 12 years. He played middle blocker for the Bruins from 1992-95 and was a member of two national championship teams. He was named to the NCAA All-Tournament team in 1995 when he had 11 kills and eight blocks in the championship victory over Penn State.
Speraw became a volunteer assistant coach with the Bruins before assuming a full-time assistant’s position in 1998. He graduated from UCLA in 1995 with a bachelor of science degree in microbiology and molecular genetics.
Speraw is the co-author of the book “Exercise for Your Muscle Type: The Smart Way to Get Fit.”
Other quotes on the hiring of John Speraw to be the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team head coach.
Reid Priddy, outside hitter and three-time Olympian on the U.S. Men’s National Volleyball Team: “John has experience in the international game, has relationships with the current national team players and has direct exposure to the next generation of players, which are a few of the many reasons that make John a good fit to take charge of the national team.”
Mark Pavlik, head coach of the Penn State men’s volleyball team: “John Speraw is one of the brightest young coaches in the men’s game today. His history of success with his teams and his great passion for the game at all levels along with his past affiliation with the USA Men will no doubt serve him and the program well. He will continue to build on the foundation of success which the USA Men enjoy. I look forward to watching our national team with John as the head coach!”