Jeff Nygaard was named head coach of the USC men’s volleyball team earlier this summer. An NCAA champion, AVP MVP, eight-time title holder on the beach, and a three-time Olympian, Nygaard retired from playing professionally in 2011 before taking the assistant coaching position at USC.
Volleyball magazine: What do you want to accomplish in your first year as head coach of the USC men’s volleyball team, and what do you think will be your biggest challenge as a head coach?
Jeff Nygaard: That’s a big question. I want reinvigorate the program and instill a culture that can make the jump from title contender to title winner. Our team academically has the top GPA for men’s programs in the USC athletic department, so we are focused and successful in one phase of the student-athlete life, but I want to [bring] that drive and achievement to the volleyball court and recharge USC’s heritage of success.
My biggest challenge will be making USC men’s volleyball sustainably great. Ours is a tradition of gold medalists, Olympians, and beach legends. We currently have two starters on the U.S. Men’s National Team competing in World League and contending for not only a spot on the 2016 Olympic Team, but for the gold medal in Rio.
To be a program that can constantly produce success as well as international caliber players, that’s a great challenge.