The head coach who led Loyola to back-to-back national champions will no longer be with the team as the Ramblers attempt their three-peat.
The Loyola athletics department announced Monday that Shane Davis resigned from his coaching position of the defending NCAA champions to become the head coach of the Northwestern women’s volleyball program.
This coaching change comes days before No. 3 Loyola plays its season opener against No. 9 UC Santa Barbara on Sunday. Loyola also announced Monday that assistant coach Mark Hulse will be promoted to the team’s head coach for the upcoming season.
Davis became the head coach at Loyola in 2004 — one year after being named an All-American setter in his senior season with the team. The Ramblers under Davis experienced their most successful run in program history as they won three MIVA championships, earned three NCAA Tournament berths and won the back-to-back NCAA champions in 2014 and 2015.
With its latest championship in May, Davis joined Hall of Famer and former UCLA coach Al Scates as the only coaches to lead teams to back-to-back NCAA Division I-II championships in men’s volleyball history.
“It is hard to articulate all that Loyola means to me,” Davis said in a statement. “I have been fortunate enough to spend the last 17 years there as both a student-athlete and a coach and have nothing but terrific memories to take with me as I start the next chapter of my coaching career.”
Northwestern, located less than 20 miles from the Loyola campus, finished the 2015 season in the top 50 of the RPI. However, the Wildcats at 14-17 did not receive a berth to the women’s volleyball NCAA Tournament.
Davis will replace former Northwestern coach Keylor Chan, who departed the university earlier this month.
“I would like to say thank you to coach Davis for everything that he has done for our men’s volleyball program,” Loyola athletics director Steve Watson said in a statement. “As both a student-athlete and our head coach, Shane always represented Loyola with class and we wish him nothing but the best as he takes on a new challenge. He leaves his alma mater as a two-time national champion and will always have a special place as part of the Loyola family.”
Davis’ replacement Hulse has spent the last four years as one of the Ramblers’ assistant coaches. Along with helping guide the Ramblers to two national championships, Hulse coached and developed six All-Americans while with the program.
Hulse also was named the 2014 AVCA National Assistant Coach of the Year as the Ramblers went undefeated in conference play and won their first NCAA championship in program history. In addition, the former college player for Pepperdine and Rutgers-Newark has been selected to the AVCA Thirty Under 30 list.
Beyond coaching at Loyola, Hulse has gained coaching experience with USA Volleyball, including serving as an assistant coach with the USA Youth A1 National Training Program last year.
“I am both humbled and excited to accept the opportunity to lead this program going forward, and we will all be working to continue the traditions of success that have come to typify Loyola men’s volleyball,” Hulse said in a statement. “We hope for nothing but the best for Shane and his family, and he will remain an important part of the community here at Loyola. Right now, all of our attention is focused on the start of another season with a great group of guys, and we look forward to our opener with UC Santa Barbara.”
Loyola was voted the favorite to win the conference championship in the MIVA Preseason Coaches Poll. Among the returning starters for the Ramblers includes three Off the Block/Springbak, Inc. Preseason All-American Team selections — setter Peter Hutz and middle attackers Jeff Jendryk and Nicholas Olson.