2006 Men's National Coach of the Year Division I/II

5/31/2006

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UC Irvine Head Coach John Speraw Selected 2006 Tachikara/AVCA Division I-II Men's National Coach of the YearSM

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (May 31, 2006) - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA), in conjunction with Tachikara USA, Inc., is pleased to announce that UC Irvine Head Men's Volleyball Coach John Speraw has been selected the 2006 Tachikara/AVCA Division I-II Men's National Coach of the YearSM. It marks the first time Speraw or UC Irvine has been honored with the national award.

Speraw completed his fourth season as head coach of UC Irvine in record-setting fashion. UC Irvine rewrote its men's volleyball record book this season starting with a school-best 27-5 record (.844). The win total also represented the most among all NCAA Division I-II schools this year. The Anteaters claimed their first-ever Mountain Pacific Sports Federation title, finishing with a 20-2 league record. UCI's previous best conference finish was fifth in 2003.

UC Irvine improved by 18 matches in the win column from its 2005 record of 9-20. The Anteaters earned the NCAA National Collegiate Men's Volleyball Championship top-seed in their first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. UC Irvine had a school-record 21 consecutive victories to end the regular season. The Anteaters closed out the year ranked second in the final CSTV/AVCA Division I-II Men's Coaches Top 15 PollSM after falling to Penn State in five games during the semifinal round of the NCAA National Collegiate Men's Volleyball Championship. UC Irvine started season ranked ninth in the national poll and ascended to the top spot on March 13. The Anteaters held the number-one ranking for eight consecutive weeks.

Speraw, 70-54 overall as head coach of the Anteaters, mentored both the AVCA Division I-II Men's National Player of the YearSM and the AVCA Division I-II Men's Newcomer of the YearSM. The Anteaters placed two members on the AVCA Division I-II Men's All-America First TeamSM, along with two second-team players. Speraw's 70 victories in four years are more than UCI's combined win total from the first 11 years of the program with the previous best four-year mark being 49 wins from 1999 to 2002.

Speraw served in various roles with the UCLA volleyball program for 12 years prior to arriving at UC Irvine. He played middle blocker for the Bruins from 1990-95 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 has extensive international coaching experience and is currently the head coach of the USA Junior National Team, which won a silver medal at the NORCECA Junior Men's Continental Volleyball Championship last summer. He served as an assistant for the Youth National Team (1998 and 2001), the World University Games Team (1997 and 1999) and the Pan American Games Team (1999).

Tachikara will formally present the AVCA Division I-II Men's National Coach of the Year award in Omaha, Neb., at the Tachikara/AVCA Coach of the Year and Victory Club Awards BanquetSM on Thursday, Dec. 14. The brunch is held in conjunction with the 2006 AVCA Annual Convention. Tachikara can be found on the world wide web at http://www.tachikara.com/.

Tachikara/AVCA Division I-II National Coach of the YearSM (prior to 2004, all Divisions competed for this honor)
2006: John Speraw, UC Irvine
2005: Marv Dunphy, Pepperdine
2004: Alan Knipe, Long Beach St.
2003: Dave Deuser, Lewis
2002: Mike Wilton, Hawai'i
2001: Carl McGown, BYU
2000: Peter Hanson, Ohio State
1999: Carl McGown, BYU
1998: Al Scates, UCLA
1997: Ruben Nieves, Stanford
1996: Al Scates, UCLA
1995: Don Shondell, Ball St.
1994: Tom Peterson, Penn St.
1993: Al Scates, UCLA
1992: Ruben Nieves, Stanford
1991: Ray Ratelle, Long Beach St.

(Photos courtesy of UC Irvine sports information office.)

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