A three-time Olympian and multiple National Player of the Year recipient will be the next head coach at USC.
USC athletics director Pat Haden announced Thursday that he promoted assistant coach Jeff Nygaard to be the Trojans’ new head coach.
“He is an outstanding X’s and O’s coach who is well respected by his peers for his volleyball knowledge and coaching ability,” Haden said. He is of high character and comes strongly endorsed by our current and recent student-athletes. He has experience at USC, which will help him hit the ground running as he puts together a coaching staff and starts recruiting. And, most importantly, he has a keen desire and passion to lead us to national championships. We look forward to him returning the Trojans to that level.”
Nygaard has spent the last five seasons coaching the USC middle attackers as a part of former head coach Bill Ferguson’s staff. In addition, the Trojans during those five years made two NCAA Tournament appearances and twice won the MPSF regular season title.
USC announced last month that it would not renew Ferguson’s contract after the team finished the season in fourth place in the MPSF and advanced to the conference tournament semifinals.
“I am humbled and thrilled to accept this amazing opportunity, and I am excited about USC’s future,” Nygaard said in a statement. “We will take the groundwork that has been put down here in the past and take it to a championship level, which is where USC’s heritage is and where it belongs. That is my goal moving forward.”
Along with his coaching experience, Nygaard as a college player with UCLA was a three-time All-American and was named the National Player of the Year in 1994 and 1995. He also led the Bruins to two NCAA championships and still holds the UCLA school record for career aces and single-season kills.
Nygaard after graduating from college was a middle attacker on the U.S. Men’s National Team in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. He also had a 10-year beach volleyball career from 2001 to 2011 that included reaching the 2004 Olympics and was a part of the 2003 AVP Team of the Year.
Before arriving at USC, he served as a volunteer assistant with UCLA from 2002-04 and spent 2009 as an assistant coach with the Whittier women’s volleyball team.
Among the starters returning for USC next season includes all-conference middle attacker Andy Benesh and MPSF All-Freshman outside attacker Larry Tuileta.