John Speraw 10 years after leaving UCLA to build UC Irvine into national powerhouse is now returning to to the Bruins.
UCLA athletics director Dan Guerrero announced Tuesday that Speraw has been hired to replace Hall of Fame coach Al Scates as the head coach of the UCLA men’s volleyball team.
Speraw in 10 seasons as UC Irvine’s head coach led the Anteaters to their first three national championships in program history, including winning the 2012 NCAA championship in May. UC Irvine also won the 2007 and 2009 NCAA championship and four times advanced to the four-team NCAA Tournament under Speraw.
Speraw before coaching at UC Irvine served as an assistant coach under Scates at UCLA from 1998-2002.
“We are excited to welcome John Speraw back to Westwood to take the reins of the men’s volleyball program,” Guerrero said in a statement released Tuesday. “After winning three national titles as a head coach at UC Irvine and two as a player at UCLA, he certainly knows what it takes to win at the highest level. In addition, as a former Bruin assistant coach and student-athlete, he knows first-hand the values and ideals we hold near and dear as an athletic department and as an institution.”
Along with coaching at UCLA, Speraw was a middle attacker for the Bruins from 1990-95. In his senior season, he was a member of the 1995 UCLA team that won the NCAA championship and remains the last team in college men’s volleyball history to be ranked No. 1 throughout the entire regular season.
Speraw will replace Scates, who announced last year that the 2012 season would be his 50th and final season as the Bruins head coach before he retired.
UCLA under scates won a record 19 NCAA championship and is one of two college volleyball teams to ever have 1,000 career victories.
“It is a great honor to be asked to lead one of the greatest programs in NCAA sports history.” Speraw said in a statement. “Al Scates is a great friend and mentor. I hope to continue his legacy of producing great championship teams.
“As I walked around campus last week, I remembered why I chose UCLA years ago,” Speraw said. “I love the campus. I love the people who work there and the values that we share. I loved my experiences as a student-athlete and a young coach and I’m very much looking forward to my experiences as a head coach at my alma mater. This is indeed home and I am excited to be back.”
Speraw in addition his college coaching experience is an assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s National Team that will compete in the upcoming Olympics. The new UCLA head coach also served an assistant coach for the team at the 2008 Olympics and helped guide the United States to the gold medal.