UC Irvine names Zakarian as newest assistant coach

A former UC Santa Barbara outside attacker and head coach at a California junior college volleyball powerhouse will be the next assistant coach at UC Irvine.

The two-time defending NCAA champions UC Irvine announced Wednesday that it hired Armen Zakarian to be an assistant coach for the upcoming season.


Zakarian spent the last three season as the head coach of the Santa Barbara City College and was named the 2011 Western State Conference Coach of the Year. In addition, he guided the team to the 2011 postseason and helped eight players successfully transfer from Santa Barbara City College to NCAA Division I-II men’s volleyball programs.

While coaching at Santa Barbara City College, Zakarian also worked with USA Volleyball since 2010 as a youth coach in the High Performance program.

“In Armen’s words, he ‘is coming to UC Irvine to build something.’ That is a bold statement considering the recent competitive successes of the program,” UC Irvine head coach David Kniffin said in a statement released Wednesday. “That vision, passion, and resistance to settling for ‘good enough’ is a cornerstone of our culture and I am grateful to have him join us as we forge ahead.”

Zakarian along with his coaching experience, played two seasons for UC Santa Barbara. As a senior, he helped lead the Gauchos to berth in the 2007 MPSF Tournament semifinals and a top-five finish in the national coaches poll.

UC Irvine ended last season becoming the first team since UCLA in the mid-1990s to win back-to-back NCAA championships.

The Anteaters return a majority of their starters from that national championship team, including outside attacker and NCAA Tournament MVP Connor Hughes.