Hawai’i hired from within its men’s volleyball program to fill its assistant coaching void.
The Hawai’i athletics department announced Friday that Vernon Podlewski, a former Warrior and U.S. Men’s National Team member, has been promoted to an assistant coach for the upcoming season.
Podlewski spent the previous season as a volunteer assistant coach and primarily worked with the players on their defense and passing skills.
“We are excited to move Vern into a full-time role on our staff,” Hawai’i head coach Charlie Wade said in a statement released Friday. “He did a great job last year as a volunteer and will definitely be a great contributor to our program. His resume is filled with international experience as a player and an array of coaching experiences. His energy and expertise in the practice gym is as good as it gets.”
Podlewski played two seasons with Hawai’i from 2001-02 and in both seasons was selected to the All-MPSF Team. He also remains fifth all-time in program history with a 2.16 digs per game average.
As a senior, Podlewski helped lead to Hawai’i to the Final Four and its first NCAA championship in school history. The Warriors would later have to vacate that national championship because of NCAA rule violations.
After his college career, Podlewski played on the U.S. Men’s National Team from 2003-05 and spent four years playing professional volleyball in Romania and Germany.
In addition to being a volunteer assistant coach with Hawai’i last season, Podlewski was an assistant coach and head of compliance at UC-Colorado Springs in 2009. He also spent the last two years as the girls’ varsity head coach at Mid-Pacific Institute in Honolulu.
“I have known Vernon prior to his playing career at UH and he has always expressed an interest to coach in college and specifically here in Hawai’i – his home, and his alma mater,” Wade said. “With his recent experience in athletic administration at Mid-Pac and as a high school coach in Hawai’i, he has established great rapport with the local coaches and knowledge of the local players. He will definitely be a great role model and advocate for local kids staying home and playing at UH.”
Podlewski replaces Dan Fisher on Wade’s coaching staff. Fisher resigned from his assistant coaching position in May to become the head coach of the Concordia women’s volleyball team.
Hawai’i finished last season ranked in the top 10 of the coaches poll and lost to UC Irvine in the MPSF Tournament quarterfinals. With Podlewski helping coach the defense, the team was sixth in the MPSF and in the nation’s top 15 averaging 8.39 digs per game.
Hawai’i has four starters returning for the 2012 season, but could be without All-American outside attacker Jonas Umlauft.
Wade said earlier this week that Umlauft, who led the nation last season with a 5.57 kills per game average, has returned to his native Germany for the fall semester and is undecided if he will return to Hawai’i.