We continue with our march toward the start of the season Friday by taking a look at some coaching changes that took place during the offseason.
Two were major switches involving Top 25 programs that could play a role in altering the landscape both this season and in years to come. Others weren’t quite on the same scale, but maybe one day we’ll look back to it as the start of something special somewhere.
Below we highlight seven coaching changes:
1. Jim McLaughlin
Old school: Washington
New school: Notre Dame
McLaughlin, who is the only coach to guide both a men’s and women’s programs to NCAA titles, built the University of Washington into a perennial power. It featured winning the program’s first national championship in 2005.
Ironically, that was the last time Notre Dame finished a season ranked inside the AVCA Top 25. The No. 12 ranking was the second time Fighting Irish have ended the year that high. However, the program hasn’t finished the season ranked since.
That’s one of the challenges awaiting McLaughlin at Notre Dame. The ACC featured two Top-10 squads last year in North Carolina and Florida State and another in Duke that finished inside the Top 25.
Notre Dame doesn’t need to defeat all three to make its first postseason appearance since 2012, but that’s the level the program must get to in order to compete on a national scale.
“I am excited to become the new head coach of women’s volleyball at the University of Notre Dame,” McLaughlin said in the school’s press release. “The University of Washington was a great place to coach and, at this point in my career, this is the only other school I would have even considered. Since first having been given the opportunity by Debbie Brown to coach here as an assistant for one season, I always thought it would be a great place to be a head coach. I love the school’s values, the spirit, the tradition, the beautiful campus and the enthusiasm of everyone that is a part of this great university. There is no doubt Notre Dame is a special place.
“I believe Notre Dame can become a top-tier volleyball program. The school has so much to offer student-athletes, and I think recruits will see the opportunities available to them here. The University offers a world-class education, wonderful facilities, great support and a tremendous college experience. We will have an opportunity to impact lives, not just for four or five years but for 40 or 50 years. Student-athletes will be interested in how Notre Dame can help them. We are going to create a winning culture and make the program competitive again.”
2. Jolene Jordan Hoover
Old school: Clemson
New school: n/a
After 22 seasons leading the charge for Clemson, Jolene Jordan Hoover announced her resignation in February. She compiled a career mark of 452-259, with her win total the second most in ACC history. She was at the helm when the Tigers captured conference titles in 1997 and 2007.
Hugh Hernesman takes over in her place.
“I would like to thank Bobby Robinson and Dwight Rainey for giving me the opportunity to coach at Clemson 22 years ago. It has been my privilege and honor to represent Clemson University and the volleyball program,” said Hoover in the school’s press release. “I have been very fortunate to have worked alongside so many wonderful people within our program and within our department and university.
“I am very proud of what we have built and achieved over these 22 years. Thank you to all the players, coaches, support staff and fans who have been a part of our program. I wish the volleyball program and the athletic department continued success. Most importantly, thank you to my family, Dave, Hayley and Carley. Coaching takes a lot of energy and time away from home, and I couldn’t have been in this position without their support.”
3. Jill Kramer
Old school: West Virgina
New school: TCU
It’s a homecoming for Kramer, who is the first scholarship volleyball student-athlete in the history of TCU. She comes aboard from West Virginia, where Kramer had been head coach since 2010.
Staying in the Big 12, she’s well aware of the challenges the conference holds.
“I am humbled and honored that Chancellor (Victor) Boschini, Chris Del Conte, and the rest of the TCU family have entrusted me with the direction of the TCU Volleyball program,” said Kramer in the school’s press release. “When I graduated from TCU 14 years ago, I don’t think I could’ve have written this script any better. The growth that TCU has experienced since my time on campus is tremendous and it’s been fun to watch all of the progress from a distance.
“I am most excited to get to know the players and begin to work with them. Naturally, I have a very clear vision for the growth of the program, on the court, in the classroom, and in the community. I’m very happy to be coming home!”
4. Scott Wong
Old school: Hawaii
New school: Pepperdine
It’s another homecoming of sorts, as Wong returns to the school he graduated from in 2001. He’s charged with the task of getting the program going once more and making the school an annual finisher inside the Top 25 rankings.
“It was a tough decision,” Wong told the Hawaii Star-Advertiser of leaving. “For years, it was my dream to come back home and coach (at Hawaii). I was able to coach indoor and start the sand program.
“Hawaii is a special place and if I had to leave, the only program it would be for would be Pepperdine. It’s where I spent eight years of my life (as a student-athlete and assistant coach). I’m excited about developing my own program as a head coach.
“Dave (Shoji) has been awesome and I’m thankful he gave me the opportunity to play such as pivotal role in his program for the last five years. I never thought about leaving but this is the chance to be a head coach. Pepperdine is the only program I would leave Hawaii for.”
5. Keegan Cook
Old school: Washington
New school: Washington
Okay, so Washington isn’t a new school for Cook, who spent the last two years as an assistant for the Huskies. The familiarity should serve him well and the transition should be a smooth one. Washington doesn’t enter 2015 as the preseason favorite it has the last two seasons but Cook still has enough returning talent to work with to keep Huskies among the best teams in the Pac-12.
“To put it simply, there is no better place to coach volleyball than the University of Washington,” said Cook in the school’s press release. “It has exceeded my every expectation from the moment I arrived two years ago. Washington will continue to produce not only some of the most prolific volleyball players in the country, but women who will accomplish incredible feats in the years following their time here. I am thankful to the players and alumni for their incredible support and encouragement to take the next step here at Washington. It’s a privilege to work for these student-athletes, and help them achieve their personal and professional goals.”
6. Heather Olmstead
Old school: BYU
New school: BYU
Like Cook at Washington, Olmstead isn’t really going to a new school. She moves up from the assistant spot and takes over for her brother, Shawn, who guided the Cougars to the NCAA finals last season. Before coming to BYU, where Olmstead has been the past four seasons, she was an assistant at Utah.
“I’m humbled and excited to lead the BYU women’s volleyball program into the future,” Olmstead said in the school’s press release. “I would like to thank President Worthen, Vice President Richardson and Tom Holmoe for the confidence they have in me to continue the rich women’s volleyball tradition both academically and athletically at BYU. I’m extremely honored to continue to develop relationships with the wonderful young women on our team. I’m excited to get in the gym and continue preparing for the 2015 season.”
7. Ryan McGuyre
Old school: Florida State
New school: Baylor
An assistant at Florida State the past two seasons, McGuyre was named the man in charge of the Baylor program in December. He is tasked with strengthening a Baylor program that finished eighth in the Big 12 Conference in 2014. Baylor’s best finish in recent years came in 2009, when it finished fourth behind Texas, Iowa State and Nebraska.