The NCAA volleyball coaching carousel spins even in the summer. Here’s an update.
American University has a new women’s volleyball head coach.
Grand Canyon promoted from within to fill its vacancy in beach volleyball.
There’s been a firing, beach hirings and some sad news.
And South Florida now has a 7-foot-tall indoor assistant, an Olympian I’ve never met but am tied to in an interesting but still maddeningly frustrating way.
AMERICAN HIRES KIM: Former AU assistant Ahen Kim has returned to the Washington, D.C., school, this time as the head coach to replace the late Barry Goldberg. Goldberg died in March after a year-long battle with cancer. He was at American for 34 years.
Most recently Kim had success at Brown after serving as Goldberg’s assistant from 2012-17. He was at Brown for five seasons, which included taking the Bears to the NCAA Tournament in 2021, the program’s first NCAA trip since 1998. But after last season, to coach a professional team in South Korea.
American finished 15-15 last season, and 7-9 in the Patriot League. AU went to the NCAA Tournament 18 times from 1997 through 2019.
Kim is married to Amy Pauly, most recently an assistant at USC who earlier this month took the job as the head coach of the Orlando franchise in the Pro Volleyball Federation.
GRAND CANYON PROMOTES RUMMEL: GCU’s Kristen Rohr left earlier this month to move basically across town to become the head coach at Arizona State. Four weeks later, GCU promoted associate head coach Abra Rummel to be its head coach. Rummel’s resume includes playing pro beach volleyball and five seasons as the head coach indoors at St. Francis Brooklyn.
FIU FIRES BUCK-CROCKETT: Olympian Rita Buck-Crockett, the only beach volleyball coach Florida International has ever had, was let go Tuesday. Buck-Crockett coached the indoors team and beach for 10 seasons and then last year went solely to the beach for the Miami school. FIU, ranked No. 13 nationally, made it to the NCAA beach tournament in May for the first time since 2018 and lost its first-round match to No. 4 Florida State 3-1.
UCLA HIRES LOIOLA: New head beach coach Jenny Johnson Jordan has brought back Jose Loiola to Westwood. The 2000 beach Olympian was a volunteer coach for UCLA in 2021 when the Bruins made it to the NCAA championship match.
Loiola has coached many prominent pros and in 2021 coached Megan Kraft and Delaynie Maple to a gold medal in the U19 World Championships.
Currently, Loiola is the head coach of the USA Volleyball Beach National Team, a position formerly held by Tyler Hildebrand, who is now the head coach of the Long Beach State women.
TEXAS TABS LE ROUX: Olympian Cursty Le Roux is the third Texas assistant. She coached at Long Beach State season and has been working with the USA U19 girls national team. Le Roux, who was an assistant at UNLV in 2021, played professionally for eight seasons after her college career, first at UNLV and then Arizona.
FORMER MINNESOTA COACH DIES: Stephanie Schleuder, who coached the Gophers from 1982-94, died this week. She was 73.
Schleuder took Minnesota to the 1989 and 1993 NCAA tournaments. She also coached at Macalester College, Bemidji State, Minnesota Duluth, and Alabama. She coached for 34 years, won 702 matches, and was inducted into the Minnesota Volleyball Hall of Fame in 2005. From 2002-04 Schleuder was president of the American Volleyball Coaches Association.
DEBOER’S HUSBAND DIES: Mark Pittman, husband of recently retired AVCA executive director Kathy DeBoer, died Tuesday. He was 77. Read his obituary here.
USF HIRES BRAZILIAN OLYMPIAN: South Florida has added Leandro Visotto to its staff. The 7-footer from Brazil not only won silver at the 2012 Olympics, he was on four World Championship-winning teams.
But that’s not why adding him to this story is significant.
For 20 years, from 2000 to 2019, I owned and ran a girls volleyball club called Volleyball Baton Rouge. In the early 2000s, two of my coaches traveled 45 minutes from Hammond, Louisiana, and were fantastic members of our staff. They were sisters, Luciana and Juliana Visotto Neves.
Their brother is Leandro.
In 2007 Lu was back in Rio and getting married. We were thrilled to be invited and made all the plans, getting there a few days early for time to do all the tourist stuff and to hang out on Copacabana Beach. About a week before we were going to leave, Lu called and asked a favor. Her brother, who was in the wedding, had been called to the Brazilian national team. Would I be in the wedding?
I was so excited. She promised there would be time to get a tux fitted and all that.
At this point it has to be noted that Americans need a visa to go to Brazil.
We got dropped off at the Baton Rouge airport, went to the check-in desk, passports in hand, and … the Delta person asked for our visas.
Visas? What visas?
It was a Friday. We no longer had a Brazilian consulate in Louisiana. That office in New Orleans closed after Hurricane Katrina. The nearest one was Houston, and the only shot we had was Monday. But then, we would have lost four days, if we were really lucky, and, well, let’s just say we’ve still never been to Brazil.
I’m still sad.
One of these days I have to meet Leandro.